Planning a buddies trip? Start here

February 09, 2012

It isn't often that a unique product comes along, but we came across one at the blog, Golf Stuff We Like, that, for those who take buddies trips, might prove indispensable.

It's called, and the emphasis, perhaps, belongs on genius. There was no shortage of brainpower used in developing this product. The founder is Mike Zisman, who has a degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh, a Masters in systems engineering from Penn, and a PhD in decision sciences from Penn's Wharton School. He's also a member at Merion Golf Club and Saucon Valley Country Club. is described this way at its website: "An easy-to-use, online toolkit that helps you take care of all the details (like pairings, tournaments, the trip book, expenses) so you can have more fun planning your trip and more time playing golf once you're underway."

"I enjoy golf trips and spent many years organizing them," Zisman said. "But it was frustrating putting together a schedule. I thought, 'you know what? I know how to do this, to make golf trips a lot easier.' We started with mathematical optimization for the scheduling, then added tournament software and trip accounting software.

"You'll spend, honest to God, 30 to 40 hours planning a trip for eight or 10 people, from organizaing pairings, tournaments, tracking group expenses. With our software it takes a couple of hours."

Zisman used an example of a trip involving 16 players, playing five rounds. "Ideally, you should play with everyone once," he said. "If all 16 play with everyone once, we call that the perfect pairing." The software will deliver the perfect pairing for you (a sample tee sheet is shown above).

It has a Tournament Manager, too, to accommodate any kind of competition, including multiple Nassaus, skins games, even Ryder Cup-type formats, and will accommodate betting, providing instantly a payout summary at the end of the round.

Another feature is its Trip Logistics, which contain the golfers' travel arrangements, cell phone numbers, handicaps, emergency contact information, a group message board, and access to housing arrangements.

GolfTripGenius offers two levels of service. The cheaper one, $1 per player, per round to a group maximum of $49, offers Perfect Pairings and Trip Logistics. The other, called the Genius Trip, includes the Perfect Pairings, Trip Logistics, Trip Tournament Manager, Trip Accountant (to track expenses and allocate them accordingly), and a Trip Book (a personal album that provides details and photos from the trip). The cost of the Genius Trip is $3 per person per round up to a group maximum of $249.

Zisman also has developed, but not yet released to the public, a product to handle golf leagues. "There the scheduling is unbelievable," he said. "Its 100 guys playing over 25 weeks. The guy who has been using our product the longest, Thursday is the 14th week. He still has not had a single case of a guy playing with the same player twice.

"[] is a unique product. There truly is no product in the world that does the kind of scheduling we do with our breadth of tournaments."

-- John Strege