A birdie eye's view, new Web
site lets golfers fly over courses for free
A Millersville company is giving
golfers a reason to yell "Foresight."
launched on the Web,
providing virtual fly-overs of golf courses all over the
country. The site provides golfers a bird's eye view of the
ground they're going to play before they even hit the first
GolfFlyover.com has aerial views of almost
5,000 courses nationwide available for free. Officials said
they are adding 700 new fly-overs every week and may have all
of them online before the end of the year.
"The long-term goal is to provide every course in America
on our Web site," said Robert Nelsen of Millersville, chief
executive officer of GolfFlyover.com.
If the company continues to add golf courses at the current
pace, it should have all 18,000 in the United States on the
site in four to six months, Mr. Nelsen said.
"Once we get there, we hope to go worldwide," said Perry
Likakis of Perry Hall, vice president of marketing for GolfFlyover.com.
The company was started with personal investments from Mr.
Nelsen, Mr. Likakis and his brother, George, and funding from
private investors. GolfFlyover.com partnered with V-Empower, a
consulting and information technology solutions company, which
hired more than 20 employees in India to research maps of golf
courses and design the fly-overs.
"We've kept our costs extremely low by not having office
space and being a virtual company," Mr. Nelsen said. The
company plans to generate revenue through the advertisements
on its site, and it plans on placing advertisements in the
The fly-overs can be viewed on Google Earth. While golf
courses could previously be viewed on Google Earth, there was
no way to figure out the order of the holes or where the holes
and tees are. With fly-overs, the golfer is given a complete
guide to the course.
Fly-overs for the local courses at Fort George G. Meade,
the Eisenhower Golf Course, the Crofton Country Club, the
Walden Gold Club and the Chartwell Golf & Country Club can
be found on the site.
Jason Sparhawk, assistant golf professional for the
Chartwell Golf & Country Club, said the fly-overs have
several advantages. People who don't want to spend money on a
yardage device or yardage book can still get an idea of what
they're up against, he said.
"It gives them an up as to what hazards are coming," Mr.
At least one pro in the golfing game expressed skepticism
about whether the service would help the members at his
Matt Hoffmann, head PGA professional at the Crofton Country
Club, said his club doesn't have much use for the
As a private club, most of the golfers there know the
layout of their club's course. But he acknowledged the service
might be useful for someone who's shopping for a course to
"That kind of technology may benefit more public golf
courses, where people are looking for what place to play at,"
Mr. Hoffmann said.
Mr. Nelsen said GolfFlyover.com has nine-hole public golf
courses on its site. Knowing that private clubs don't see much
use in the fly-overs doesn't seem to faze Mr. Nelsen or Mr.
"The big customer we're looking at is someone who travels
to a golf destination," Mr. Nelsen said. GolfFlyover.com will be particularly helpful
to golfers traveling to tourist areas that have a large number
of courses, Mr. Likakis said. If a golfer is planning a trip
to Myrtle Beach, S.C., which has hundreds of golf courses, GolfFlyover.com can help narrow down the
GolfFlyover.com is in the process of
contacting the golf courses whose layout they don't have, said
He added that in the future, GolfFlyover.com is hoping courses will link
to GolfFlyover.com from their sites; fly-overs
will be installed on golf cart screens; and GolfFlyover.com will offer other golfer
services, such as partnering with a site to help golfers plan