Startup develops platform for golf instruction


Pinchaser is a web app to help amateur golfers play better and pros teach the game. Courtesy Pinchaser

A startup is helping golfers improve their games.

Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, said this month that it will make an initial $5,000 investment in Pinchaser.

Pinchaser, which launched in January 2012, is a web-based platform that provides users with personalized instruction through professional videos, educational resources and a statistical analysis based on data entered from their latest game.

Amateur users can create a “players” account for $8.99 a month, while PGA of America members and apprentices can sign up for the pro edition at no cost.

Improving weaknesses

Player-level users can select a golf course from a directory of nearly 18,000 courses and input data from each hole played on the Pinchaser scorecard, which is accessible by smartphone.

Based on the results entered into the scorecard, Pinchaser will generate a detailed analysis of roughly 350 golf statistics based on driving, iron play, short game and putting. The user can review their skills and watch recommended instructional videos on how to improve their performance.

Chad Hersman, president of Pinchaser and a PGA Professional, said the platform is an online resource for golfers to better understand and improve their golf games.

“It will tell the golfer specifically what areas they are doing well in and what areas need improvements,” Hersman said. “Based on those areas that need improvements, we have a video-lesson library, which is all tips and drills. Every golfer is going to be receiving different videos recommended to them based off their statistical weakness.”

Helping pros teach

The Pinchaser pro edition is specifically designed for PGA Professionals to enhance their instructional lessons by using the program’s tools and resources.

A professional can create an account and have access to their clients’ statistical analyses to provide additional insight on what skills should be emphasized during lessons.

The pro edition also features lesson notes, a messaging system and the ability to upload instructional videos.

“When I built it, I didn’t want Pinchaser to be viewed as competition by PGA Professionals,” Hersman said. “A lot of professionals use it between lessons, so they can monitor the progress of how the students are doing between lessons, because very often you might give a golf lesson today, and it might be another four or six weeks before you give another lesson to that same individual.”

The idea

As a professional golfer, Hersman said he recognized a need during his own instruction for an educational resource for players.

He often found golfers would want to focus on a particular skill and overlook other facets of their game that needed more attention.

“Such a small percentage of golfers will ever take instruction from a PGA Professional,” Hersman said. “They all try to do it on their own, either reading magazine articles or watching TV to pick up tips and advice. This program gives them the guidance and the knowledge of specifically what it is they should be working on rather than kind of general assumptions.”

Hersman hired Thinkbox Creative in Grand Rapids to build the original web app.

Next steps

Pinchaser will allocate the Start Garden funds for advertising and marketing to increase the awareness of the services and tools Pinchaser provides.

A small portion of funding will go toward updating and expanding the platform to allow golf leagues to use of some of the features.

“We could actually have all the league players within a specific golf league linked to a master account, so from a competitive standpoint, players within the league can review each other’s stats and be able to send messages to each other,” Hersman said.

“To have Start Garden view Pinchaser as a viable business and see the potential for growth and potential for the business was very exciting for me.”

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