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Native son is on his own in new venture

Mundy driving the game forward....

By David Westin | Columnist

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ray Mundy is a golf visionary. His eyes light up when he talks about what he's done with Web technology in golf course management the past 12 years.

His eyes get even bigger when the former Jones Creek and Cedar Creek head pro speaks about his new technology management company, the first venture where he's calling the shots.

The 42-year-old Augusta native helped design and develop the first fully integrated Windows product for golf courses in 1997. It was bankrolled by his employer, Crescent Co. LLC of Chicago, which owned Jones Creek and Cedar Creek at the time.

The new technology was called the Crescent System. It provided tools that incorporated everything from online tee times to point of sale and all accounts systems related to a club. In effect, the system can run a club.

At its peak in 2000, the Crescent System was in courses in three countries and 42 states, including Lake Las Vegas, a $4 billion venture.

One drawback to working for Crescent Co. was the travel.

Of the 300 courses that have the Crescent System, Mundy said he installed about 175 of them, including the Mauna Lani resort on the Big Island in Hawaii. Mundy spent a month there ("It was tough work," he said).

As glamorous as it might sound, Mundy was traveling 100,000 miles a year and spending little time at his home in Evans with his wife.

With a downturn in the golf business that started after 9/11, Crescent Co. went through a restructuring in 2004. Cutbacks meant Mundy would have to move to Crescent's headquarters in Chicago.

That's when Mundy decided it was time to start thinking about venturing out on his own, with Augusta as his base.

"Changes were taking place in Chicago, and I really didn't want to go up there. So I sold my shares," Mundy said. "I decided to take a step back for a couple of years and see what's going on in the business and come back into it headstrong, and that's where I am today."

He has established a new company, MyClub Solutions, in Evans, with former Crescent Co. colleague Kathy Wentworth, of Portland, Ore. Mundy will be bringing Augusta's Gregg Hemann on board later this year to help with the company's operations.

MyClub Solutions doesn't sell software programs. Rather, it helps courses use what they have more effectively.

"We're helping facilitate the use of technology," he said. "Our goal is to work with facilities so they can maximize the resources and technology available to improve their business. We really realized there is going to have to be some significant changes, because people are being inundated by the technology.

"MyClub Solutions is a company based on simplifying that," Mundy said. "We are going to be the industry experts, and we're going to take solutions to the people as they need them. I want to use the expertise and insight I got from visiting those 175 courses (with Crescent System)."

Mundy said some courses with this technology don't use it efficiently.

"Putting in the software is really just the first step," Mundy said. "So many people make failed investments in technology because they put it in and then don't use it."

For starters, Mundy would like to work with the area clubs that use Crescent System and similar technology.

"I'm a longtime Augusta guy," Mundy said. "There are so many people I've lost touch with in the golf community in Augusta, and I hope I can get back in touch with them."

It also won't hurt that the new company is based in the Augusta area.

"I've found anywhere you go and you talk about Augusta, the curtain drops," Mundy said. "I was involved with a Canadian software company for a while and the president just loved the name Augusta. It opened so many doors for us, and Augusta is always where I want to be. Using the Augusta name is important to it."

The fact that MyClub Solutions is Mundy's baby hit home last week when he started furnishing his new office and prepared to put the company's Web site,myclubsolutions.com, online. It will be up and running Thursday.

"It's exciting, it really is," Mundy said. "This is truly the first one. I've had a lot of partners in the past and helped carry the weight and pull a lot of strings.

"In this case, I'm thankful and hopeful, and I know it's going to succeed," Mundy said. "If it doesn't, this is all me here. This is something that is going to work out. I think we can have a big impact in the end. I think it's going to be good, and good for the area, too."

Reach David Westin at (706) 823-3224 or david.westin@augustachronicle.com.

From the Wednesday, January 02, 2008 edition of the Augusta Chronicle

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