Ahhhh, the technology industry. The home of making stuff that matters and solving the really big problems. While there are some negative aspects of being involved in this industry, it all seems worthwhile when pitches like this hit my inbox:

Flytrex Launches U.S.’ First Golf Course Drone Delivery Service

Where to start with this one? Perhaps before I opine, it’s worth looking at who Flytrex are and what they do. I’ve actually written about the company before, in that case, I covered the partnership between Flytrex, who brought their drone platform technology and AHA, the Icelandic marketplace who bought their, um marketplace. Put the two together and you had the ability to make deliveries directly to consumers, even those consumers who, due to isolation or disability, couldn’t physically visit a marketplace.

With this announcement, Flytrex is partnering with North Dakota’s King’s Walk golf course to fulfill the all-important task of offering snack delivery, via drone, to the greens. The release event names this new and exciting sector – “golf course drone delivery system.” The problem that King’s Walk is trying to solve is that patrons of the clubhouse restaurant, Eagle’s Crest Bar and Grill, have to (shock, horror) drive their golf carts all the way from the green to the restaurant. Even worse, some poor should have to walk the distance from the green to the clubhouse.

When Ed Hillary famously became the first person to summit Mt Everest in 1953, he only did so because he wasn’t physically capable of making the hugely demanding journey from his local golf course to the clubhouse (actually, I lie, I can’t think of anyone less likely to be a golf fan than Ed Hillary.)

The 101 for those who can’t envisage how it works

To utilize the new system, players open the ‘Flytrex Golf’ ordering app and select the food and beverage items they want. They then chose their nearest drop-off sites, place their order and get a confirmation notification. All going well, the clubhouse restaurant receives the order, wraps it up, and the package is loaded into the drone by a Flytrex technician (because impressive job titles) and takes flight within line of sight.

Just like Uber (because, this is, after all, “Uber for golf course refreshment delivery” the phone app provides the customer with the ongoing status of the order in real-time. The drone arrives at the drop-off point and remains airborne, awaiting confirmation that the customer is in position nearby. Once confirmed, the drone lowers the order by wire to the ground.

The bigger picture

I sincerely hope that Flytrex has a vision that goes beyond this banal use case. Indeed, Yariv Bash, CEO of the company alludes to the deeper (dare I say more important) use cases possible when he comments that:

The sky’s the limit when it comes to drone capabilities. From delivering snacks and beverages to golfers, to assisting in search and rescue operations, to performing key inspections, drones are being incorporated into all aspects of life. This is the first of many projects we have planned in the U.S., including an FAA approved pilot in North Carolina which will take off later this year. Golf is a sport with deep-rooted traditions and there’s great interest in using technology to enhance this experience. We are excited to be working with the innovative team at King’s Walk to make this inaugural launch a hole-in-one.

I threw up just a little bit at hearing Bash mention search and rescue in the same sentence as delivering snacks to golfers – might I suggest that it indicates a real lack of awareness of just how much opprobrium Silicon Valley and the technology sector comes in for at times. Still, this is a test case, I guess.


I have to admit that I found it hard looking past the obscene subject of this trial. But when I made myself do so, I was interested in what Flytrex is up to. Clearly, drone technology does have a huge part to play in some pretty important jobs and Flytrex is hopefully pursuing these as well as the opportunities of less importance.

It does make a statement about our society that a golf course snack deliver use case is easier to get off the ground than something more impactful – but, in fairness, I can’t lay the blame for societal failing at the feet of Flytrex.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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