Published February 24, 2008
A Millersville company is giving golfers a reason to yell "Foresight."
This month 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 tee. 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

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

The company was started with personal investments from Mr. Nelsen, Mr. Likakis and his brother, George, and funding from private investors. 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 fly-overs.

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. Sparhawk said.

At least one pro in the golfing game expressed skepticism about whether the service would help the members at his club.

Matt Hoffmann, head PGA professional at the Crofton Country Club, said his club doesn't have much use for the fly-overs.

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 play elsewhere.

"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 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. Likakis.

"The big customer we're looking at is someone who travels to a golf destination," Mr. Nelsen said. 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, can help narrow down the choices. is in the process of contacting the golf courses whose layout they don't have, said Mr. Likakis.

He added that in the future, is hoping courses will link to from their sites; fly-overs will be installed on golf cart screens; and will offer other golfer services, such as partnering with a site to help golfers plan trips.