THE ZEVY BACKGROUNDER
Ron Zevy is a Canadian Internet entrepreneur. Creating brand new categories against all odds is not new to the 58-year-old. He is one of the pioneers in children’s ebooks and the online animated ebook company he founded, TumbleBooks, is used in 25,000 schools and libraries in over 100 countries across the world. He golfs in Toronto out of the Emerald Hills Golf Club and in Boca Raton at Boca Grove Country Club. Golf Points Index is his passion project. His Current GPI is 15.1.
THE ZEVY STORY
I came to golf relatively late in life- when I was in my late 40s. Every year a friend would invite me to his country club for a round and every year I was humbled and humiliated by the end of the day. I vowed to get good enough to at least hold my head up high. And then, one day, I hit the shot that millions before me and millions after me have hit: flush, soaring, 3 feet from the pin. I became hooked and addicted.
My journey into the golf industry was happenstance. In the summer of 2017, my friends and I began using what became to be known as GPI. That summer however, in an homage to Frank Stableford, my friends called it Zevy. As in, what was your Zevy today? I am an Internet entrepreneur and have a successful company which employs talented designers and coders. My staff, none of whom have ever stepped on the golf course, designed and coded the website and the apps.
What was the genesis for Golf Points Index?
A combination of what I consider an inherently unfair and flawed stroke based scoring system and a history of good rounds being ruined by a handful of blow up holes.
The stroke based scoring system renders virtually meaningless what is arguably the most compeling and entertaining part of the game- that is, the challenge to make par or better on each individual hole. How can a birdie be worth only one stroke less than a par when it is considerably more difficult to achieve?
Outline your target audience and those you feel are in need of your services.
There are 25 million golfers in the United States. Only 10% of whom carry a GHIN handicap. GPI is for the countless of others, juniors, mid to high level handicaps, ladies and seniors who would benefit from a method with which to benchmark their progress and have a way to compete on a level plane with players of any ability. But it will also be well received by club players who will welcome another statistic to track their abilities and especially for Men’s Night competitions that currently use point systems such as quota and Stableford.
How do you see your efforts versus that of what GHIN does through the USGA?
We believe that GPI is a companion and not a competitor to GHIN. For juniors and other who don’t carry an official USGA handicap, it may serve as a stepping stone to GHIN. We share the same goal of trying to grow the game and I am confident that they will welcome GPI as it has the potential to bring countless of new golfers to the fold.
What will happen if Golf Points Index really takes off?
I think it will be a very positive sign for the health and growth of golf moving forward.
Should that occur – do you anticipate the need for hiring more staff — for possibly inviting other investors to assist in widening your reach?
It’s a good problem to have.
Describe the relationship you have with First Tee — how’d it get started and what future expansion plans are being either planned or implemented?
I was introduced to the executive director of the San Francisco chapter who immediately expressed interest in the system and committed to trying it with his own chapter.
GPI is now a First Tee corporate partner and we are working with a number of chapters in order to implement the program in early 2018. We are hopeful it will be adopted on a national level.
The major organizations within golf — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, LPGA — are all seeking ways to grow the game especially among Millennials, women and minorities. If you were advising them what you recommend be done that’s not being done now?
We have seen a number of innovative initiatives such as larger holes and construction of 12 hole golf courses. The implementation of a scoring system which is encouraging, engaging, and very fun to score and play with would be a welcome addition.
You can change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
My personal pet peeve is having to tuck in my shirt.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
My late father taught us there’s no greater gift in life than the acquisition of knowledge.
Complete the sentence. Ron Zevy is …
A successful Canadian businessman who still derives the majority of his pleasure and satisfaction from friendships he has forged and the unconditional love from his family. GPI is a passion project for him. His friends and family would like that he stop talking about it so much.
For more info go to: www.golfpointsindex.com