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Whistler pair take golf app global

Caddies Call available on iPhone, Blackberry



You can currently download more than 5,000 golf courses around the world on Caddies Call, but local app developers Andy Flynn and Ted Low are really just getting started.

Every day they take course requests from people who have purchased their apps, then they sit down to measure and map the course on Google Maps, paying attention to yardages, tee boxes, the distance to greens, hazards and other course features. They fill in other details on each course from websites and other golf resources.

Once a course has been added to the Caddies Call database - and Low and Flynn estimate that they have about 90 per cent of the 2,200 courses in Canada already covered as well as courses from 32 other countries - their clients can use the GPS and maps to figure out yardage to the green (precise to within four metres), spot hazards, record their scores, calculate and update their handicaps, and track statistics like fairways hit, shots to the green and putts.

They can even pre-order food and drinks at the caddy shack by calling it in, using the number provided when the alarm goes off at the eighth hole.

It's an ambitious project, but Flynn and Low - who first teamed up in 1990 to launch the Garfinkel's nightclub in Whistler - didn't shy away from the challenge.

"I was playing golf with my son in Australia a year and a bit ago and he saw someone using a phone there to keep score," said Flynn. "That's really when GPS started to become standard on phones and people started to use it.

"When I came back to Canada I said to Ted, 'Let's try and make our own.'"

They farmed out the heavy programming work to another company but have taken on the huge job of adding courses to their database. It's going to take a while, they admit, as California alone has over 3,000 courses.

"We launched the app with 'x' amount of courses from different areas because we didn't want to get bogged down in one place. We have courses from every province and every state in North America and we're taking requests every single day to add more courses," explained Flynn.

Before they arrived at the Pique offices to demonstrate their app, Low was adding a course in Michigan and Flynn a course in New York.

While Caddies Call is not the first golf app out there - Low says there are hundreds on iTunes Store - Caddies Call is one of the cheapest GPS apps at $9.95, and offers the same features as many of the apps selling for $30 or more. As well, he says Caddies Call has a few unique features, like a handicap calculator and the ability to preorder a beer from the eighth hole tee-off. There's even a timer that tells you how long you've been playing. And if you go travelling anywhere you can do a search that tells you what courses are in the area - and then get a map right to the pro shop.