Q&A: Joe Assell | Founder / CEO, Golftec

What began in a basement has become one of the industry's most advanced golf instruction companies. Assell discusses the role technology has played in Golftec's ascension and plans for the future

Joe Assell.

The world of golf instruction has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, driven by advancements in technology. At the forefront of this revolution stands Joe Assell, the visionary founder and CEO of GOLFTEC. With an unwavering commitment to incorporating cutting-edge technology into golf instruction, Assell has propelled GOLFTEC to remarkable heights, revolutionizing the way golfers learn and improve their game. With a network of over 1,000 professional coaches and more than 250 locations around the world, GOLFTEC, without a doubt, has become the worldwide leader in golf instruction. This feature delves into Assell's remarkable journey, highlighting his dedication to advanced technology, the exponential growth of GOLFTEC, the acquisition of SkyTrak, and the influential role of GOLFTEC Labs in shaping the company's future.

Question: You started GOLFTEC right out of college, can you share a bit of that story?
Joe Assell: When I was at Mississippi State in the PGM program, I sought out an internship at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, as it was the highest ranking course on the list. I figured I should go to the best to learn. While there I worked and learned under Clayton Cole, who was the Head Pro at the time. And in the basement of the clubhouse Clayton had a hitting mat and net setup along with a computer, which had a program to help teach the golf swing. The members loved it, and Clayton wanted to take it to the general public, but didn’t have time to pursue it along with being the Head Pro. So, when I graduated college, he gave me the opportunity to come back to Denver and essentially launch this business that would become GOLFTEC.

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Q: GOLFTEC has been at the forefront of technology in the golf instruction space for years, what do you attribute that to?
JA: It started with curiosity, but we quickly learned that there was just a better way to teach and a better way for students to learn the game. Technology is at the core of everything we do. From developing our own scheduling software, to our in-bay proprietary technologies in TECswing and OptiMotion, which is our motion measurement camera system, we are committed to staying on the forefront of innovation. A big part of that is also hiring the right people to carry on and grow the vision. Every innovation we’ve brought to market is rooted in our core mission, which is to help people play better golf. We fully believe to do that, our coaches have to have the best tools and technology available.

Q: What made you so interested in acquiring SkyTrak?
JA: We have some large aspirations at GOLFTEC and part of that is owning our own destiny through the technology we develop. We’ve been lucky to work with such great partners when it comes to a crucial piece of the coaching process in launch monitors. However, acquiring the #1launch monitor company in the world gives us the ability to bring a better experience to our members, and allows us to continue to innovate in the software space to improve the coaching process even more. We’ve started the process of rolling out new SkyTrak+ launch monitors for use in GOLFTEC locations in select markets and the feedback has been great. By the end of October, our goal is to have SkyTrak+ in every GOLFTEC location. On its own, SkyTrak is a very profitable business, and with over 70,000 users worldwide, it gives us even more data to improve on what we do everyday.

Q: How do you see the GOLFTEC business and SkyTrak business integrating in the future?
JA: The rollout to our Training Centers is a big piece right now, and also being able to own the software and keep improving it is huge. But this really opens up several new opportunities for us to be able to help golfers play better wherever they are in the world and whenever they want. We recently launched the new and improved GOLFTEC app, which features Swing Record capabilities, on-course GPS, access to your lesson videos and even a shop where you can buy your favorite gear in a Members only Pro Shop. Without going into too much detail, part of our growth story will continue to revolve around helping our members improve their golf games, not only with the great technology of the in-bay experience, but also with such a dominant player in the launch monitor space. We feel like this gives us quite an edge.

Q: Where do you see GOLFTEC in the next five years?
JA: The easy answer is just to say bigger and better, but there’s a lot to it. In the past year, we’ve opened locations in Dubai and Johannesburg, South Africa. We believe there is still plenty of room for growth in the United States along with other international markets, so you will see more GOLFTEC locations popping up all over the world. We will continue to innovate and bring even more technologies to our members. With the amount of data we’re able to capture in giving 2 million lessons per year and having 70,000+ launch monitors in people’s homes and businesses all over the world, we’re learning more and more every day. Interest in the game of golf is riding an unprecedented wave right now and not just on-course. Off-course golf, including golf simulators, golf bars, Topgolf, etc. are bringing a whole new set of golfers to the game. And we want to help every single one of them to play their best golf.