Q&A with Inrange Co-Founder Nick Longley

1. Who are the founders of Inrange and when did the journey begin?

I feel very fortunate to be able to call myself co-founder of Inrange. The concept was first developed in 2017 by my partner SJ Marais and the team.
They were in the final stages of their Meerkat Deep Space telescope project, and I was lucky enough to join at this prototype stage and to bring Inrange to life.

2. How did the idea come about, and why did you decide that Inrange was the next big thing?

Both SJ and myself have always been avid sportsmen, and we saw the effect that GPS tracking technology had on sports such as running and cycling. This enhanced training information allowed them to alter their training methods, improve on personal bests and compete with friends. At the time, golf had no way to be able to simply answer the question “How did I play today?” so we developed Inrange to allow anyone to be able to practice with intent.
The success of our first large early adopter, the Greenwich Peninsula Driving Range in London, quickly proved that we were onto something. And that the driving range could be so much more than just a bucket of balls.

3. What role do you think technology plays in the driving range today?

Technology is engaging players more, attracting younger players and encouraging total newbies – the social person – to have a great time with their friends at the range.
I would say that the role technology plays is the magnet that draws people in. What makes them stay, is the total experience that a range creates for visitors.
So we believe that technology is only one part of the recipe. We are not a product, we are a partner. We work with ranges to get every part of the change right, not just install our tech and then wish them luck in making it work.

4. Inrange offers two very
distinct experiences – can
you tell us more about those?

Our mission is to make golf for everyone. And what we’ve found is that traditionally driving ranges targeted only one customer – the practicing golfer.
And to be sure, the golfer remains our priority customer, they always will be. They want to continue to improve their skills, challenge themselves and track their progress at the range. That is the first experience. One where a data-driven session can help you improve, so you can head out on the course and put those skills to the test.
There is however another, second type of player who may never play a round of ‘real golf’. They are there for the vibe, the laughs, the fun. Our Inrange+ multiplayer experience offers a low-pressure, high-entertainment event for people looking for a fun afternoon or night out with friends, family or even colleagues. These people tend to stay longer, spend more, and do the marketing for you through social media posts.

5. Why does this concept
/ experience attract so
many players?

At the end of the day, golf is a social game. We play it together, and at times, we even practice it together. And when we have a good experience – be that at a restaurant, a theater, at a hotel while on holiday – we are much more likely to do it again.
And in a society where we care so much about good experiences, they are actually not that easy to find. So creating a successful range experience is a sure fire way to a positive bottom line.

6. Your range partners are
seeing major growth in
bottom line revenue –
where does this come

There are both direct and indirect effects that the Inrange experience has on the revenue of our partners.
The direct revenue effect is through a significant and sustained increase in the volume of people that visit and play at the range as well as a higher fee that people are willing to pay for the enhanced experience. This is particularly the case for the group experience.
The indirect revenue effect is through a food and beverage sales increase from the increased foot traffic and the introduction of an entertainment crowd who are looking for a great time which almost by definition includes the food and beverage aspect.

7. In 2020, driving range usage rose to phenomenal levels as more and more people started to play. How do you think ranges can keep the momentum going?

The way we look at it is that 2020 gave ranges an opportunity to engage with players both old and new.
We believe that if these facilities are able to offer a top class guest experience then these ranges will not only keep their players coming back, they will also continue to attract new people to their venues.

8. Would you say The Experience Range, as you’ve termed it, is attractive for women golfers?

Absolutely. What we often see is that women golfers are more focused on accuracy and consistency than necessarily having a huge drive off the tee. Our Inrange practice methodology means that the range can be a place where every shot played to every target is scored against your Inrange Handicap® which then helps to hone and reward that accuracy.

We do see however through our Inrange player base that women are still very under represented in golf and at the range. The great news is that our Inrange+ multiplayer experience attracts men and women in almost equal numbers because the whole Inrange+ experience looks to break the tereotypes of who the range is for and provides a welcoming environment for new players.

Our job is to help keep those women coming back and to encourage them to practice and ideally get out there on the course.

9. How do you see the future of women’s golf globally?

We believe that the growth of the game of golf depends very much on the dynamic of attracting more women to play the game. Events such as the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the Aramco Series, The LPGA, The LET and the NCAA in the USA are creating opportunities for elite athletes in the sport of golf.
The industry needs to work harder at growing the number of women playing the GAME of golf. By creating opportunities at the course, both private and public clubs, and of course the driving range, the game needs to cater to the specific desires of female players.

In the case of Inrange we have seen a good increase in the number of women in our player base and we are trying to do more with customisation of our software and with events such as The Pro Shop Nearest to Pin challenge.

We have the opportunity to not only do good for the game but introduce literally millions of people to the game that we love.