In the mid-1990s, Ray Mundy saw a glaring need to improve customer relations at Jones Creek and Cedar Creek, where he served as the dual head pro.
The courses -- Jones Creek opened in 1985 and Cedar Creek followed in 1991 -- had been part of a new concept in the golf course business called daily fee courses.
They offered country club-like courses, but without initiation fees and monthly dues. It was called "pay as you go" golf, with no strings attached.
As such, the courses catered to "free agent" players, not members. In fact, they kept no record of their paying customers, other than their names when they signed in to play.
"I was incredibly frustrated as a golf manager that somebody could come into our golf shop, drop $300 or $400 and walk out the door and we'd never know who they were," Mundy said. "Yet, when you call Pizza Hut and order a $10 pizza, they know everything about you.
"We didn't know anything in the golf business about marketing," Mundy said. "The people involved had the idea of, 'We'll build the golf course and the people will come. We don't have to work at it.' "
That was no way to run the new daily fee courses, Mundy said.
"I realized we were failing miserably as a company because we didn't know who our customers were and there weren't tools in the marketplace to allow us to do that."
Mundy was given the green light by Crescent Co. LLC, the group that owned Jones Creek and Cedar Creek, to develop a software program that would meet those needs.
Jones Creek and Cedar Creek would be his testing ground.
"They gave me all the resources I needed; we put a great team of people together," Mundy said. "The Internet was just starting to come about. That would allow golf courses to better communicate with their clients and improve the way their business ran."
The result, introduced in 1997 at the PGA Show, was called Crescent System. It eventually was placed in 300 clubs in 42 states and three countries.
The system featured online tee time booking, which was Mundy's way of learning who his players at Jones Creek and Cedar Creek were.
"I thought, 'If I can have a system where I used your phone number, or some sort of member or frequent player ID, once I get it one time, then every time you come out, I can begin to track how many times you played.' "
Also, via the Internet, he could communicate with those customers about specials, and other offers, at Jones Creek and Cedar Creek.
Online tee times started Crescent System on its way, and as technology developed, the software program eventually could run an entire resort, not just the golf operation.
"We were really on the leading edge of CRM, or customer relations management, before it was a mainstream term for all businesses. It was us, as an operation, trying to get better," Mundy said.