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Q&A: BombTech Golf Founder “Sully” Sullivan

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If you’re into golf equipment, you can probably name several small companies that make putters, irons and forged wedges. Now name a small company that makes drivers. Yes, it’s much more difficult.

BombTech Golf is on the short list of small golf equipment companies that produce metalwoods, and it’s almost certainly the smallest. Founder Tyler “Sully” Sullivan is a true one-man show, building and shipping every club himself.

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The BombTech Grenade Driver ($299).

Sullivan’s story goes like this: His niche was long drive, and he broke several drivers that another club builder had built for him in a span of two months. He thought he could do better, so he started to start his own custom-fitting company in 2011. A few months later, he had what he calls ” a crazy and expensive idea.” He wanted to design his own driver.

The idea became less crazy when he reached out to his alma mater, the University of Vermont, whose engineering department agreed to co-design the golf club that ultimately became BombTech’s Grenade driver.

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Why green? To honor Vermont (The Green Mountain State) and the University of Vermont’s colors. Sullivan also lives in a suburb of Burlington.

College kids and professors designing golf clubs? That’s out-of-the-box thinking, which is why Sullivan likes it.

[quote_box_center]”The reason I use the University of Vermont instead of golf engineers is that they’re not in golf.” Sullivan says. “They can come up with ideas that people in the golf industry might not.”[/quote_box_center]

Sullivan, 30, says business is good, especially considering the difficulties the large equipment manufacturers have had selling their products. He guarantees every BombTech clubs he sells — drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and putters — and says his return rate is miniscule, roughly 1-to-5 percent depending on the month.

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A BombTech Grenade driver (10.5 degrees) at address. 

Sullivan expects to shed his one-man show persona in 2015 and hire club builders and shippers to meet increased demand. One thing the former salesman says he never let go of, however, is his role in customer service.

“I promise to be the person who takes the phone calls and calls and does the customer service,” Sullivan says. “They’re buying from me, so there’s a connection. That’s one of the reasons things are going so well.”

Learn more about Sullivan and the BombTech brand in the Q&A below. 

ZK: Every major golf equipment manufacturer seems to have its own view on what will create more driver distance. For TaylorMade, it’s a driver with a low, forward center of gravity (CG). At Ping, it’s a driver with a low, rearward CG. Other companies such as Callaway believe that different golfers need different types of drivers to hit their longest drives. What’s your take?

Sully: There’s all this talk about center of gravity (CG), but there are two things missing. The first is the production process. Here’s the question to ask: Is your driver manufactured out of two pieces or four pieces.

Most companies use a four-piece forged technique because it is more affordable, but tolerances will be wider. Why is this important? A two-piece driver has tighter tolerances for loft, weight and most importantly COR or CT. A four-piece driver has wider tolerances. As you may have guessed, the Grenade is manufactured using a two-piece cast with a plasma weld. This is not propriety to us, but most companies that use it charge double what we do.

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The second thing missing is design. Yes, TaylorMade is now using a low-and-forward CG and Ping’s are low and back. Low and back would be considered the traditional placement for CG. Our Dual Cavity design offers a CG that is low and back with an intersection with the face at true center. The benefits are increased club head speed due to the reduction in drag, which leads to high ball speeds. Our design also offers unique accuracy benefits as well, due to airflow.

Bottom line? We don’t promise 20 more yards, but we are so confident that you will add distance and accuracy that we offer a 60-day money back guarantee. We want you to try it, and then you can decide.

ZK: How did you come up with your design?

Sully: All of our products are co-engineered with the University of Vermont. This unique relationship takes the marketing piece out of the equation.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 5.10.08 PM

We could have designed a golf driver that was adjustable, but our testing found that a bonded driver creates better numbers in all categories. Our pure engineering approach has proven that with high quality materials, production processes, and a great design, you can compete with the big brands.

ZK: We’ve found that the biggest advantage of adjustable drivers is that they allow golfers to fine tune the launch conditions that help them hit their longest, straightest drives. How do you fit someone for a driver without them hitting it?

Sully: Adjustable drivers are a great option for fitters, but we tested our bonded driver versus adjustable options and saw better ball speeds and tighter dispersions with our bonded driver versus a driver with an adjustable hosel. For this reason, we engineered a driver that you can’t adjust. Adjustability is/was hot, but we don’t let marketing influence design.

bombaugust2014_153954_1__73233.1418601132.1080.1080
BombTech’s Grenade Putter ($249)

Each BombTech golf club is hand assembled in Vermont for the individual customer. This custom build approach gives the consumer more control over their golf club. Especially with regards to shaft length — this is rarely talked about but has a huge impact on performance.

Since each club is custom built, we offer a free online fitting service. This online fitting helps insure that you find the proper specs for your unique goals. We’ve found that many golfers are playing shaft flexes that are too stiff and too long. Our online fitting helps address that and insures increased performance without adjustability. In addition to the online fitting, we are available to communicate directly. Call us to discuss your driver, what you like, what you don’t and what you want out of your next club.

ZK: Do you measure the loft and face angle of the drivers you sell? Do customers ask for specific lofts and face angles?

Sully: Yes. It is not extremely common, but some of the more experienced golfers know exactly what loft and/or face angle works best for their swing. For these instances, I gladly will spec out a driver head for their exact needs. So if you want a 10-degree loft, 1 degree open, it can be done. This type of “hand picking” is offered at no costs.

ZK: You’ve recently partnered with World Golf Hall of Famer Chi Chi Rodriguez. What kind of relationship is it, and what does he bring to BombTech?

Sully: It is a dream come true to have Chi Chi on our team. Chi Chi is an unbelievable golfer, person and representative for our brand and he brings wisdom and input that others couldn’t possibly offer.

Golfers have been asking for more shaft options and I honestly have tested hundreds of different combinations, but it wasn’t until we brought Chi Chi on board that we found a shaft technology that was worthy of the upgrade cost.

Chi Chi, Matrix Golf Shafts and I worked together to make a lighter shaft that would still be stable. The new Chi Chi Signature Series Shaft is 5-to-7 grams lighter depending on flex but is actually more stable due to the HD technology that Matrix designed. The lighter shaft is a benefit to those that want to increase club head speed and it surprisingly has been popular with our higher swing speed players as well.

IMG_3729Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 5.10.31 PM

Bottom line, I am humbled to have the opportunity to work with a true legend in the game of golf. Welcome to the team CHI CHI!

ZK: What’s next for you and BombTech?

Sully: The answer to that questions changes daily! But right now, I am working with the University of Vermont on a new wedge design. The goal is to increase spin and forgiveness and will certainly be a challenge for the Engineering students and department. Potential launch date is May 2015.

In addition to new product expansions, I personally am making an effort to ask as many questions as I can from our fans and loyal customers. It is my hope that I can give our current customers and potential future customers a golf equipment experience that they enjoy.

If anyone from WRX has feedback, please let me hear it!

ZK: Thank you, Sully.

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Benjamin Alcaraz

    Feb 4, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Mr. Sully, is it possible to replace the 4, 5 and 6 irons with the 52, 56 and 60 degree wedges in the iron set? Please email me for I am very interested in picking up your iron set if my request is granted.

  2. David

    Jun 20, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Definitely does compete with the big brands. Marketing budgets do not dictate quality design and engineering. Sully has that.

  3. Rob Henry

    Jan 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Sully. I’m a 75 year old Australian and have for many years been hitting an offset driver. My average distance is around 210 metres with a regular shaft and I hit it straight. All drivers I have tried without the offset I have hit an enormous slice. Is it likely that I would also hit slices with your driver as it is not offset?
    Regards Rob Henry

  4. Chris Stadler

    Dec 30, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I purchase the Bomb Tech Golf Grenade 3 Wood and I finally went to the Golf Range and I was CRUSHING IT ! The Sound of the Ball off the Club is very distinct and everyone was turning their heads . Great Job ! Next the Driver.

  5. Jon

    Dec 30, 2014 at 11:34 am

    My Callaway Big Bertha V Series smoked the Grenade, same loft, same flex, same length.

  6. David Myers

    Dec 30, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I have owned the Grenade for several months and absolutely love it. I play to a 3 handicap so I feel that I can offer a real review for better players. I am not the longest, but I am longer with this club, 5 to 10 yards consistently. More importantly, a lot more accurate. This club will fade or draw on command. My only con would be that it is a bit higher launch than I would like but thanks to Kickstarter I will have the 9.5 in hands very soon.
    Anyone who snubs their nose at this simply because it is not one of the big boys is a fool. Keep up the great work Sully!

  7. Jem

    Dec 30, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I’ve been playing one of these for about three months now. I have found it to be as good as any driver I’ve played, and I’ve spent way too much money on drivers. I find that if I get a good center face hit on this club I get better distance compared to anything I’ve played. I’m also hitting a lot more fairways, and the sound and feel are great. One of my buddies who usually hits the ball about 250 used my driver the other day and hit one over 300 yards. He now bugs me every time we play to let him tee off on par 5’s with the Grenade. I don’t think you can do a lot better, and the price for this club is pretty appealing. For the first time in years I’m not scanning the literature to figure out what my next driver will be.

    • 300 Yard Pro

      Jul 18, 2016 at 12:31 am

      That’s a huge increase in distance considering it’s not possible.

  8. Bob A

    Dec 24, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Hire non-golf engineers to develop a golf club? That’s a great idea!!! Kinda like hiring a mechanical engineer to design a new computer or a chemical engineer to design a draw bridge.

    • Justin

      Dec 26, 2014 at 7:13 am

      I think it is. They’ll already have ideas on things like launch parameters, maximizing ball velocity, etc., but won’t be beholden to “traditional” design ideas. What you’re comparing is two different things; obviously a mechanical engineer might not design a computer, but would be able to design a golf club… even if s/he doesn’t play golf. “Golf engineer” isn’t a specific major.

  9. Robert

    Dec 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I managed to find a good deal on a used Grenade driver off eBay not long ago. It “feels” long when I’m using it at the range, but it’s hard to say whether I’m really hitting it farther than my previous driver (Callaway FT-9). One of these days I’ll try to play a round where I hit two tee shots on every hole so I can make a better comparison between the two drivers. One thing I would like to note is that the stiff shaft on my Grenade seems a bit “whippier” than others I’ve used in the past and also my ball seems to launch higher even though my Callaway is also a 10.5 degree loft. Just curious whether others have had similar experiences with their Grenades.

  10. Bill Davis

    Dec 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Hi,
    I am a 73 year senior currently using 12 degree Titleist 913 and 915 in a couple more days.
    Can you get your driver to 12?
    What is the loft on Putter.
    Thanks,
    Bill

    • Sully

      Dec 29, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Bill,

      I can hand pick 11.5. Putter is currently sold out. But I am be releasing a new blade this week!

  11. Jon

    Dec 20, 2014 at 12:49 am

    The paint job is nice but I still prefer the more pear shaped drivers. I keep using my old 905R until I cave in the face again.

    • rymail00

      Dec 22, 2014 at 2:01 am

      I had a 905 for awhile, but the best “older” drivers I’ve played were the 9015 and 9016. Played the 9016 up till last year when I got a SLDR and actually went down roughly 2* in loft with the SLDR compared to the 9016.

      Ok, my bad got off topic.

      Sully, have you ever found any sorted heads around 9.5 or lower? Sounds like your heads you have very good tolerances from the sound of if. My sent my old man a link to your website trying to convince him to at least try one (that way I can swing his. :-). ) regardless I’d like to find a demo day in VT or across the lake it give it ago. The 60 Day trial period makes it really hard to not try if.

      Good article.

  12. rymail00

    Dec 19, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I have had some PM’s with someone who bought this driver and they really like it. Might have to take the ferry across the lake and give one a try. Silly you planning any demo days around Burlington or across the lake in upstate NY?

  13. pack7483

    Dec 18, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Any plans to come out with some bombtech irons?

  14. j.a.

    Dec 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I’m glad that Zak did this interview to Sully as his efforts, dedication and high quality products deserve to be shown to the world. It’s a matter of time for me to pull the pin and bring one of his products Down Under. I hope Zak may interview another small manufacturers which deserves similar attention.

    The beauty of Bombtech is that everything is thought out of the box. It is not the traditional stuff from the big brands, it’s technology and great personalised service, a combination not available everywhere in these days.

  15. Don

    Dec 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I own a Bombtech driver. Received it in October and I love it! Previous drivers I have owned include Ping G5, Taylormade Superfast Burner, R9, Cobra BioCell, and Callaway X-hot. The Grenade is the most solid feeling driver I have hit and while I have not noticed any noticeable difference in distance (usually 275 carry) I have noticed that my shot dispersal has narrowed (ala more accurate). For the first time I would say that I am not really looking at driver upgrades. The only complaint I would have is that the driver is the only piece of equipment that Bombtech sells for lefties. I am more than willing to spend the cash on their other products (3 wood, putter and WEDGE) but with no options it is frustrating.

    • Sully

      Dec 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks for your business and support! I wish I could say that we have more lefty options in the works, but the demand has been modest. As the company grows, I hope to expand lefty options as well. Thanks again for your business.

      -Sully

  16. Teaj

    Dec 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

    really something to think about and the return policy is a plus, since we cannot try before we buy its a good option that more smaller club manufactures almost have to do. When the snow melts I will be taking a look at my options and this will be one on the short list.

    • Sully

      Dec 18, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks Teaj! Its kinda a double edge sword. We could go into mass retail, so everyone could try it first, but the price would have to go up and there would be no custom shaft or length options. So to keep price fair and quality high I am planning on offering online and to select high end club fitters.

      Talk soon.

  17. James

    Dec 18, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Interesting that Sully will custom tune a driver. One reason I didn’t go with a Grenade is the lofts were 10.5*. As picky as it sounds, I have always been fitted into a 9.5 to 10 degree driver or the ball will balloon on me. Given the technology of this one, 10* would be more correct for me. I will have to get in touch with them and see about getting one built at 10*.

  18. skylar

    Dec 18, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Are there any plans to realease a new driver as well or are you guys just sticking with the grenade for now?

    • Sully

      Dec 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Skylar,

      A commonly asked question, but I will not release anything new until I can find a production process, material or design that outperforms the current Grenade models…

      Good question!

  19. Jason

    Dec 18, 2014 at 12:01 am

    I would love to get some feedback from some guys that currently use the bombtech driver, with all the major OEM’s getting the front page news I would love hear how a smaller company compares on the course with the big boys.
    I would love to try one!

    • Sully

      Dec 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Jason, there is another thread that has like over 700 comments. I know its too much to read, but there are a number of WRX’ers that have bought the driver and put it up against their gamer.

  20. Golfraven

    Dec 17, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    nice stuff. rather neat and driver cries to be hit

  21. Dakota

    Dec 17, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Really neat article would love to work for one of the smaller equipment companies after college, a lot of these companies make clubs with tighter tolerances and they will fly under the radar until people seeing you hit them.

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Puma unveil new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

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Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

Puma Golf has launched its new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear – a new version of the NXT with premium leather accents.

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The Ignite NXT Crafted footwear contain a full-length IGNITE Foam midsole, wrapped in Soleshield in design to offer maximum durability, comfort and energy return. Soleshield is a micro-thin TPU film that is vacuum-formed around the midsole designed to make cleaning off dirt and debris effortless.

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Speaking on the new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear, Andrew Lawson, PLM Footwear, Puma Golf said

“The Ignite NXT Crafted perfectly fuse the beauty of handcrafted shoemaking with modern development techniques to deliver optimum elegance and peak performance. With the combination of style and performance these shoes will appeal to a wide variety of golfers – those who appreciate the classic look of a leather saddle shoe and those who value modern comfort and stability technologies being a part of their game.”

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The shoes cost $140 per pair and are available online and at retail beginning today, June 5, 2020.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best Nike driver ever

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@ukgolfclubsales

In our forums, our members have been discussing Nike drivers. WRXer ‘DixieD’ is currently building up a Nike bag and has reached out to fellow members for driver advice, and WRXers have been sharing what they feel is the best Nike driver ever made.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Ger21: “VR Pro LE? I have two I was still playing last year.”
  • mahonie: “The STR8-Fit Tour was one of the best drivers I’ve played. Still have it the garage and take it to the range occasionally…it would possibly still be in the bag if it hadn’t developed a ‘click’ in the head which I cannot fix. Long, straight(ish) and nice sound.”
  • jackr189: “The VR_S is one of the best.”
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  • PowderedToastMan: “I enjoyed the SQ Tour back in the day, the one Tiger used forever. Do I miss it? Not at all, but it was a pretty good club for its time.”

Entire Thread: “Best Nike driver?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about driving irons for mid-handicappers

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In our forums, our members have been discussing whether mid-handicappers can benefit from a driving iron. WRXer ‘jomatty’ says:

“I average about 230 off the tee on good drives. I can get a little more sometimes, but 230 is probably the average. I’m 42 years old and shoot in the mid to low 80’s. I do not get along with fairway woods very well, especially off the tee, and really don’t get enough extra length over my hybrid to consider using it aside from very rare situations on par 5’s (I’ve considered just going from driver to 19-degree hybrid and getting an extra wedge or something).”…

…and wants to know if he would be better served by a driving iron. Our members have been sharing their thoughts and suggestions.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • MtlJeff: “If you can shoot mid 80’s, you probably hit it well enough to hit a bunch of different clubs. Personally, I think hybrids are easier to hit….but some driving irons are quite forgiving. I use a G400 crossover that is very easy to hit and looks more iron-like. Something like that you might like. Be careful with some of them though because they aren’t always super forgiving, so you’d have to hit them first.”
  • HackerD: “G410 crossover is my version of a driving iron, feel like I hit it straighter than a hybrid. Just as easy to hit as a hybrid.”
  • hanginnwangin: “I shoot in the low 80s normally and in the 70s on my really good days. I have probably around the same or similar swing speed as you. I have been hitting my 4 iron off the tee on tight holes, and it’s been working pretty well so far. I hit it about 190-220. I have a 4 hybrid but just can’t hit it as consistently as the 4 iron, and it doesn’t even go much farther. I have a 5 wood which I only use for 220+ yard par 3s or wide-open fairways. Basically, it’s all personal preference and what you do best with. Everyone is going to be different. Try new stuff out and see what works. But if irons are the strongest part of your game (they are for me as well), I would give the 4 iron a shot. You can get a lot of roll out on the tee shots with it,”
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Entire Thread: “Driving iron for a mid-handicapper”

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