The USGA exists “for the good of the game” and the PGA has authored several initiatives in a concerted effort to “grow the game.” Noble aspirations, indeed. However, where the proverbial rubber meets the road is you.
The bottom line is this: The game needs more players, badly. If golf is to remain “the greatest game ever played,” then it needs to keep the players it has and perhaps more importantly, attract new players to the game. As stated in the PGA’s Golf 2.0 initiative, the goal is to go from 26.1 million golfers and $33 billion in consumer spending in 2011 to 32 million golfers and $35 billion in spending by 2016.
To give you a little perspective, in 2005 there were 30 million golfers. That means from 2005 to 2011, the game lost nearly 4 million players and this coupled with a downturn in the world economic climate has left people rethinking the realities of squeezed disposable income and the game in desperate need of fresh chum. So no matter who you are, you are valuable to the game on both a commercial and philosophical level.
The rest of the conversation is just how fat of a check are you going to write? For illustrative purposes, let’s look at three composite individuals and what it would cost them to take up the game and play for a year.
The Novice, aka Nancy Newbie and Beginner Bob
You are new to the game and other then generally knowing which end of the club to hold and which direction the course goes, you don’t know Freddie Couples from Freddie Mercury. It’s OK, you don’t have to. Yet.
What’s in the bag?
A nice used set of irons from five to eight years ago. Maybe some Titleist 735 CM irons, a couple Cleveland 588 wedges, a Ping Zing putter, a TaylorMade R580 driver and the V-Steel 3 and 5 woods. Thanks to your local garage sale, you got all of this in a old original Ping Hoofer for $200.
Balls/Gloves/Tees: You play the balls you find…in the garage…in the woods…in your buddies bag…Same goes for gloves and tees: $15
Course of Choice: You don’t play enough to justify an annual pass, but you may invest in a “discount card” or take advantage of coupons in the local “Gold-C” or similar offering. You’re lucky to play 8 to 10 times a year and at $25 per round, you get a lot of golf for $250 a year.
Apparel: Yeah, about that. You’re closet may not be full of golf specific clothing, but you have enough to get by. You may have accidentally bought a pair of khaki Dockers at Kohl’s on clearance, but you will need to get a decent pair of golf shoes. $75 should get it done.
Tourney/League: You’re not quite dedicated enough to commit to a weekly league, but you might jump into a scramble tournament every now and again. $125
Lessons/Practice: Your play is your practice. You haven’t taken any formal lessons yet, but you have a number of friends who are more than willing to give you free advice, and more often than not, it’s worth exactly what you pay for it. $0
Training Aids: Nope. $0
Total cost for one year of golf: About $665, but let’s just round it up to $700 and call it $50 to $75 per month. Not bad at all, and cheaper than what you probably drop on those double-mocha-machiato-latte-thing-a-ma-bobbers.
The Enthusiast, aka The guy who bombs a drive and says “Bang”
You’ve probably been bitten by the bug at some point. Maybe it was a charity scramble or a golf league you played in before you “found yourself,” then found a job and subsequently found yourself with a lot less time.
Now, things are different. You have a bit more time, a bit more income and most importantly, a renewed desire to break 90 or 80 or a few less windows. Call it a golfing renaissance, if you will. You may not DVR the Shell Houston Open, but you remember Jack in ‘86 and you have the big ol’ MacGregor putter to prove it.
What’s in the bag?
You have a mix of old and new, but as part of your rededication to the game you submit to the reality that technology has passed your bag by and it’s time to upgrade. You’re not beyond looking at models from the last couple seasons, especially given how quickly clubs depreciate!
Irons: Inspired by Brian Gay (rocked a combo set of Mizuno MP-60 and MP-32 irons to win at the Humana Challenge earlier this year) and D.A. Points (gamed a set of Ping G5s to win at The Shell Houston Open), you nab a solid set of slightly used Ping G20s for $250. Of course, you really have your eye on some Mizuno JPX-825 Pros, but those will run you $900 at a minimum.
Woods: You get fitted for some new TaylorMade woods and want the option of adjustability so, you snag a R11 TP for $75 and get a matching 3 wood and hybrid for another $100 to $175 total. But, if you grab the Mizuno’s, you can’t have your woods looking old and used, so there is the option of dropping $600 for a new Stage 2 driver and a couple fairway woods to match.
Wedges: At $40 a piece, you can’t pass up the hardly used Vokey SM line. Sure, they don’t have conforming grooves, but you don’t care — 2024 might as well be 11 years away. $120 for a set of three, or you can go the new route and for $340 you can be the one to take the plastic off each one and get your kids’ initials stamped on.
Putter: $70 for a close out model of an Odyssey White Hot with flow neck, ala your favorite middle-aged putter, Steve Stricker.
Balls/Gloves/Tees: Tees are cheap enough and you found this local big box store that allows you to buy a bag for $10 and you get free refills for the year. A couple two-packs ($35) of the FootJoy synthetic leather WeatherSof gloves should hold you over and in addition to keeping any of the decent balls you find on the course, you snag three dozen of the 2012 Bridgestone B330 RX balls for $75.
Course of Choice: You don’t know if you’re ready to take the leap into the private/country club scene, but a higher-end public/semi-private course is certainly within reach. You can play as much as you’d like and whether you run out for a quick 9 holes after work or play five holes before the rain comes in, it’s all covered. In addition, a quality public/semi-private course will have all of the requisite practice facilities so you can work on all parts of your game, rain or shine. Usually, those run around $2200/year. If that’s a little steep, you can go the daily fee route, but if you’re going to get in 20-plus rounds this season, the annual pass is a more economical decision.
Apparel: Your closet can’t escape your rediscovered passion. So, after consulting a couple episodes of “What not to wear” you go with a very solid combination of four shirts ($100), four shorts ($140), one pair of pants ($50), and a convertible wind/rain jacket ($85). Just for good measure you buy a new Titleist hat ($25) (hey, it’s the mark of a player, right?) and a pair of FootJoy Tour Saddle shoes ($150)
Tourney/League: Between the weekly men’s league ($10 green fees are covered in your membership, but the money game and skins aren’t) and men’s association tournaments ($250 for the year) you should have a variety of competitive outlets to offer your game every litmus test it needs.
Lessons/Practice: You can practice all you want, but if you really want to improve and get the most out of whatever natural ability you have, you’ll need a series of lessons. $400 for five sessions of an hour with video and a nine-hole playing round will certainly help.
Training Aids: You know most of them are gimmicks or can be replicated at your local Home Depot for $10 and a can of spray paint, but the Orange Whip has actually proven to help you work on flexibility, tempo and core strength. $75 well spent!
ETC: You’ve read “5 Lessons” so many times it kind of feels like 35 lessons, and while best practices in teaching/instruction haven’t gone out of style, your library needs some serious updating. $50 gets you a couple books from Dave Pelz, one from Stan Utley and some good stuff to think about from Dr. Gio Valiente.
Total: $4260 to $5555
The GolfWRX-er, aka Captain Staff Bag
You have a dog named Bogey, a den caddy for your TV remote, a putter at the office and you measure storage space in your car in number of bags it can hold.
You memorize shaft bend profile data and you know your kids’ birth years based on club release dates. This is why you refer to your middle son as “R7” and your neighbor as 588. Others claim that there is no one else like you in the world, but you know that’s not true. You’ve “never left yards on the table” and more importantly, you know why that’s funny!
What’s in the bag?
First, let’s be clear that we are referring to your “gamer” bag. Not the back-up bag, third bag or miscellaneous bag of clubs you have which
comprise several attempts at grinding your own wedges, painting club heads and/or something we’ll just politely refer to as “the lime green phase.”
Driver: Like other clubs in your bag, this one is new. You have the TM R1 TP, Titleist 913 D2/D3 or Ping Anser. Secretly, you don’t mind stock shafts, but that wouldn’t be very GolfWRX of you to admit that publicly. Plus, the Tour AD-DI, Mitsubishi Ahina and Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec look so much better, or at least that’s what you keep telling yourself. $600
3 wood: This is a tough one as so many companies have gotten into the “premium” distance 3 wood conversation lately. You really wanted to toss a Tour Edge Exotics XCG 6 in there, but you want the adjust-ability and excuse to have a couple extra shafts just to swap out on an “as-needed” basis. Enter Adams Speedline LS with matching Tour AD-DI 7. Just for good measure, you snag matching 19-degree hybrid with Tour AD DI hybrid shaft. $400 + $300
- Bushnell Z6 Rangefinder: $400
- Leather Scorecard holder: $35
- Alignment sticks: $4
- Commemorative divot tool: $15
- Titleist Pro V1/V1x, and no less than eight dozen a year: $360
- You’ll go through 12 to 15 FootJoy StaSof gloves during the year at $20 each
- Tees are the one place where you actually don’t break the bank. A couple packages of Epoch Evolves will last you several presidential administrations: $15
Course of Choice: You have a range of options available, including several daily fee public courses which offer annual memberships. Plan on $2500 to $3000 a year to cover annual dues, practice facilities, a locker, cart/trail fee and range balls.
If you decide to go the private route, you might be able to find some equity memberships in the $5000-$10,000 range. In fact, according to a study done by Longitudes Group for Golf Digest, 30 percent of clubs surveyed stated initiation fees of $7,500 or less. The same survey showed average annual dues at $6245 ($520/month). This figure does not include any “assessment” fees or additional costs for food/beverage minimums, bag storage fees, range passes and other ala carte items.
Apparel: Your wardrobe is varied and while you might not be able to pull of the Ricky Fowler “orange construction zone cone” look, you’re not going to run out of options, no matter the season.
This list is rather long so try and stick with me: 12 to 15 shirts in a variety of solids, stripes and you had to toss in a couple neon beauties which would make Olivia Newton John proud! ($450)
You have just as many shorts in just as many styles ($500), but you only need four pairs of pants with v-cut hems no doubt. ($300)
You have four pairs of shoes: one pair of spikeless Ecco’s ($140), one pair of practice shoes — Adidas 360 ATV ($100) — and two pairs of your “tourney” shoes, Ecco Biom Hydromax ($235/pair).
Add that all up and it’s $1960, but at least now you have casual Friday’s covered!
Tourney/League: You may not be out on any official tour, but your friends probably wouldn’t know the difference given the fact you play in the weekly men’s league/money game, all of your club tournaments and an assortment of state amateur events. Moreover, you have the images saved from GoogleEarth and course yardage books to prove it. $1250
You’re committed to hitting balls a couple days a week, so the season-long range pass pays off handsomely. ($350)
A series of 12 lessons throughout the year will keep your swing sharp, even when the weather doesn’t cooperate. ($1000)
Total that up for a cost around $1350.
You have the Orange Whip ($75) and EyeLine Edge putting mirror ($60), so that’s $135.
Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf Magazine have you and your bathroom covered. Admittedly, you always flip to the “WITB” section and require that your neighbors refer to you as “the man out front.” $75
Yearly Total: $13,444
Admittedly, there is quite a jump from the beginning golfer to the enthusiast (nearly $3500) and in all reality, most golfers will be a mix of the listed descriptions. That being said, when you hold these composite figures against a backdrop of recent economic data, we begin to gain a better understanding as to the issues faced by the organizations whose stated dedication is to attract new players.
Golf faces myriad challenges moving forward and while the issue of pace of play has been discussed ad naseum, basic realities of economics hold true. What is more expensive is often less consumed and in a game where volume is what the ruling bodies are after, this is a problem. Consider that the average American household earns $63,091 (before taxes) and has $58,275 in expenses, of which only 1.4 percent is allocated as “entertainment.” This leaves $4816 for all disposable income purchases for the entire household. You don’t need to be Pythagoras or Euclid to figure out why the game is in a bit of a pickle.
The average consumer simply does not have the means to play the game at anything more than a very basic level. As such, the individual is highly unlikely to ever become an “enthusiast” and most certainly not one of “Captain Staff Bags’” playing partners.
Averages certainly don’t reflect specific individual experiences, and one of the greatest intellectual difficulties is resolving the reality of the masses when your individual situation is at odds with the truth shared by most others. The image of golf is still one painted by brush strokes of elitism and exclusion.
If we are honest with ourselves, we know that wealth affords many increased access and opportunity in our market-driven world. It’s a shame that golf, in this regard, is no different. Perhaps we should heed the advice of Franklin D. Roosevelt and agree that “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” I guess it really depends on how much we actually want “to grow the game.”
To that end, here are five ways in which we can make the game more accessible to all:
- Give every kid a free pass to the local city courses in 5th and 6th grade. Kids won’t go by themselves and that means in addition to getting kids hooked, there will be a paying adult. While you’re at it, give adults a 50 percent discount if they play with their 5th or 6th grade student! The ski industry does this all the time and the golf industry could certainly learn a thing or two!
- Offer annual junior passes (ages 12-18) for $99 – Same theory as No 1, but you could add discounts on merchandise/equipment to sink that hook in just a bit deeper.
- Team up with the local school district and offer incentives to golfers who achieve academically. Better GPA = Lower cost for rounds and equipment!
- Hold free/inexpensive teaching seminars. Take a page from Home Depot and give people something of value without asking for anything in return.
- Why only 9 or 18? Why not offer golfers a chance to play 6 holes? Or 12?
Legend Rees Jones speaks on designing Danzante Bay in Mexico
Hall-of-Fame golf course architect Rees Jones talks about his newest course design, Danzante Bay at Villa Del Palmar in Mexico. Also, Jeff Herold of TRS Luggage has an exclusive holiday discount offer for GolfWRX listeners!
The Book That Almost Wasn’t a Book: Ben Hogan’s “Five Lessons”
“Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” written by Ben Hogan and Herbert Warren Wind, continues to be the largest selling golf instructional book in history. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the book, which was first published in 1957.
The story of how the book was published revolves around Sports Illustrated, which was owned by Time Magazine. The weekly magazine launched in 1954 as an experiment to see if an all-sport publication could survive. In 1956, the publication was on the brink of disaster, having yet to find its audience.
This is the backdrop against which Sydney James, the magazine’s managing editor, received a call from Ben Hogan. Hogan had an idea for an article. Would Sports Illustrated be interested?
James promised to get back to him shortly with an answer. And he did, telling him that the magazine would be very interested in collaborating with him, and that he would begin making the necessary arrangements to get the project off the ground.
James explained his plan to Hogan, which was to arrange for the magazine’s most talented writer, Herbert Warren Wind, and top-rated freelance illustrator, Anthony Ravielle, to visit Hogan in Fort Worth to further discuss his idea.
“Would that be agreeable” he asked?
“Yes,” Hogan replied. He would make himself available as needed.
Writer and Illustrator
Herbert Warren Wind, a graduate of Yale University, was not just a writer, but a literary craftsman. He was without question the finest writer of his time, contributing regularly as a columnist for The New Yorker magazine from 1941-47.
For his part, Ravielle was quickly earning a reputation as one of the most talented illustrators in the country. His expertise was drawing the musculature of the human body in life-like detail. And then having the unique ability to convey a sense of motion with the human form.
A Single Idea
A few weeks later, the two met with Hogan at his office in Fort Worth, Texas. They then made their way to Colonial Country Club. And once there, they walked out to a part of the course where they would not be disturbed. And then Hogan began to explain to the two men what he had in mind.
As they listened to his ideas for the article, they suggested that he consider a five-part series. What they proposed was a sequential pattern of lessons beginning with the grip, the setup, the backswing, and the downswing. The fifth chapter would be a summary and review of what had been presented in the first four chapters.
Hogan liked the idea and agreed immediately.
As Hogan began to explain his thoughts on the swing, Wind began to scribble in his notebook, not wanting to miss a single word. (In later years, when interviewing a subject, modern-day reporters would use a tape recorder, but at that time it had not yet been invented.)
Wind would at times stop Hogan to ask a question or to clarify an important point. And when he reached the point at which he couldn’t possibly absorb another thought, Wind gave way to Ravielle, who armed with a still camera, snapped one photograph after another, capturing the various positions that would ultimately mirror Hogan’s thoughts.
During the next few days, Hogan continued to elaborate on his theories about the golf swing and the logic behind them. As they finished, the three men agreed that they would meet again, either at the end of 1956 or after the first of the year.
After returning to New York, Wind began writing a rough draft of the five-part series. At the same time, Ravielle started working from the photographs that he had taken earlier. He began by drawing pencil sketches that he would later show to Hogan for his approval before moving on to the final version.
The three gathered together again for a week-long session in January 1957. Hogan was extremely impressed with Ravielle’s sketches, believing that he had managed to capture the very essence of what he was attempting to covey to his would-be readers.
The pencil sketches would be transformed a final time using a “scratch-board” technique that Ravielle had mastered. The scratch-board technique created a uniquely vivid picture, which invited the reader to reach out and touch the seemingly life-like image on the page.
Wind’s spirits were buoyed after meeting with Hogan a second time as he wrote, “Hogan had gone into a much more detailed description of the workings of the golf swing then we had anticipated. Moreover, he had patently enjoyed the challenge and had given it everything he had.”
On returning to New York, Wind and Reveille begin working together, side by side, laying out the text, the illustrations, and captions in page form for each of the five chapters.
As Wind recounted, “When an installment was completed and had gone through the production department, we airmailed photostats of the pages to Hogan, who was in Palm Beach getting ready for the Masters. I would telephone Ben at his apartment at an appointed time each week, and we would go over each paragraph line by line. A session usually took between 45 minutes to an hour.”
During these sessions, as they reviewed the copy, Hogan was insistent that each word and phrase precisely communicate exactly what he intended to say. Wind recalls one example, when he had written “that at a certain stage of the swing the golfer’s weight had shifted to his left side.” Hogan corrected, “Let’s not say left side,” Adding “That isn’t accurate. In golf, there’s no such thing as a player’s left side. At this point in the swing most of the golfer’s weight is on his left foot and left leg.”
Wind found these discussions exhausting as Hogan worked his way through the copy with a “fine-tooth comb.” As wind wrote, “After these protracted checking sessions with Hogan, I did some deep-breathing exercises to relax myself, but I also had the bracing feeling that even Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t be able to detect a smudged adjective or a mysterious verb in the text.”
As they were nearing completion of their work, Hogan asked Wind if he had any suggestions for the series name. As Wind recalls, “I thought for a long moment and then tossed up ‘The Fundamentals of Modern Golf?’”
Hogan mulled it over for a moment and then asked, “How about ‘The Modern Fundamentals of Golf?’” Wind agreed that the reversal in wording was a definite improvement. The series now, for the first time, had both a name and an identity.
The Magazine and the Book
The series was very successful, of course, boosting not only the sales of the magazine but also its circulation. The content of what would eventually become the book appeared in five installments beginning with the March 11, 1957 issue, which in Wind’s exact words, “sold like hotcakes.“
The book was released some five months later in September as a joint venture between Hogan and the magazine.
A Triple Play
Why has the book endured?
The first reason is because of the public’s fascinated with Hogan, not only as player, but as a man. He was a great ball-striker, maybe the best of all time, but there was more to the man than his ability to play golf. He is one of the more complex sports figures in the pantheon of great players. He was a man of secrets who preferred the shadows to the light.
The second reason is the wonderful prose of Herbert Warren Wind, which flows with ease from one paragraph to another, giving the reader at times the feeling of floating on air from one sentence to another.
The third reason is the illustrations of Anthony Ravielle, which describe in dramatic fashion the essence of what Hogan wanted to convey to the reader.
“Five Lessons” was then the collaboration of three men, each one of them the very best in their fields. They were, through luck and circumstance, thrown together in space and time. And maybe once joined together, they sensed the opportunity to create something very special with one purpose in mind — to write one of the best golf instruction books ever. And they succeed.
Bag Chatter: An Interview with Uther Supply
Bag Chatter is a series of interviews that spotlights brands around the golf industry and the people behind them. We’re looking to make this a regular thing, so please comment and share through your medium of choice. If you have a brand and are interested in participating in these interviews, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. This interview is with Daniel Erdman of Uther Supply.
Tell us about Uther. How do you pronounce that? What are you all about? How did you start?
It’s actually pronounced “other.” We’ve gotten that question a lot and, to be honest, we’re kind of OK with it. We wanted to brand ourselves as unique, so we think it fits well. We want to create products that no one else creates. That could be towels in unique prints or some other golf goods outside of that. We’re targeting the customer that wants to be different as well…people who want to demonstrate their unique personalities.
Forgive me for being a little direct, but golf towels may not strike a lot of people as being something a lot of people would start a business with. Were you seeing a lack of something in the marketplace somehow? What prompted you to start this company selling golf towels?
It may not be conventional and I definitely recognize that. Some of my friends have laughed at me for starting a golf towel business. I guess it hit me when I was working at private clubs (I have worked at The Thornhill Club and Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto). When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together. Billy Horschel’s octopus-print pants at the 2013 US Open was something that always stuck out in my mind and in that moment when I was staring at all those bags, it all kind of came together in a way. I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.
What do you think differentiates your products from others in the marketplace? Why do you think people would buy your products?
We’ve already addressed the fact that we offer different and bold prints, but that’s obviously the first thing that most customers will notice. Beyond that, though, we put a lot of attention to detail into our products. We went through 40 different suppliers to get things right. My grandparents had a really successful flooring mat company when I was growing up. Watching them run the family business gave me the bug at a very young age to start my own business. It also taught me how much quality matters and getting the right suppliers and materials. It was so much more difficult back then without the internet, but now, a quick google search just does so much of the legwork for you.
Something that I think is very interesting here is you’re very young at only 22 years old. A lot of the people I’ve talked to recently have been in their twenties as well. Tell me a little bit about what it took to start this company. Did you have to secure an investment? A lot of people shy away from starting a company for fear of the hill being too steep to climb, if you will. Since you’re in the process of climbing it, what’s that actually like?
It definitely was difficult. The only outside funding I got were some grants and loans from business accelerator programs. Those helped tremendously. I remember having to place a very large order at my supplier at the same time my one of my funding opportunities was being processed. That particular one only had like a 20 percent acceptance rate, and if I didn’t get it, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to fund the order. The way everything happened to be timed, I had to I place my order before I heard back from my funding application to meet a deadline. It turned out I was accepted, so that was a relief, but it was definitely pretty stressful. You know, in the beginning, you’re working for months before you generate any income. You’re doing everything for the first time like sending stuff through customs, dealing with suppliers, collecting transactions, you name it. You’re bound to make mistakes along the way and when you have zero money coming in, the mistakes you make hurt so much more. You have no processes or systems in place. It’s something you need to accept for what it is and grind through it. Social media helped accelerate things quite a bit (including meeting my sales partner Luke through Instagram). Selling on Amazon and going to the PGA show last year gave us a boost as well. It’s hard to say what the hardest part is specifically. It’s just the grind in the beginning trying to get momentum behind it. Once you get over the hump, it’s really exciting and fun, but getting up to that point is definitely not easy.
It should also be mentioned that you’re based out of Canada. A lot of people would assume being in the Great White North would make the game of golf a challenging proposition. How long/short is your golf season in Ontario? How do you stay sharp over the Canadian winters? And what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to play golf when it’s far too cold for most of us? To what lengths will you go?
It can get interesting for sure. I first started golfing because of my hockey friends. Yes, a lot of us do play hockey up here. It was a natural transition for a lot of us to play hockey in the winter and golf in the summer. However, if you do happen to get a golf itch in the winter, you will have to get creative. It’s pretty easy to go to just an indoor simulator to practice. Sometimes I would go to Golf Town (our version of Golf Galaxy) to pretend to demo clubs in order to practice my swing. That can get you by for a while, but it’s not the same as hitting an actual golf ball and watching it fly through the air, you know? So when you get to that point, there’s a nice indoor/outdoor range near me with covered, heated hitting bays. Our golf season is from like April through October, so that leaves a lot of time in between. Golf vacations become necessary sometimes.
Before starting Uther, you alluded to your experience working at golf courses. First off, you must have some good stories. No need to mention any names, but what’s your favorite story from that stage of life? Also, what was it like to go from working at a club to having to court those golf clubs to become your customer, stock your products, etc? Was that really easy or really difficult?
Well, I have a bunch of stories involving golf carts. Just in case the old golf directors read this, I won’t give too many details. Working at a course is great. You can’t get a better “office” than going to the course every day. There’s nothing like watching the sunrise on a dew-covered golf course, especially when you’re being paid. Some of my best memories were after tournaments where three of us guys would clean like 80 golf carts. We would all have fun and get to know each other. It didn’t really feel like work.
In both instances (working for a course and now selling to them), it doesn’t really feel so much like work. It does take a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t feel like drudgery, that’s for sure. The difference is that there’s a lot more behind the scenes work that I’m doing now. We recently did a towel for the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in collaboration with State Apparel. It took us a lot of back and forth to get that product right, but once we did, we came up with a custom, one-off product that our customers really loved. And watching them react to it was incredible. Stuff like that really keeps you going.
This question is unabashedly inspired by (ahem…lifted from) one of Rick Shiels’ recent posts. (Giving credit where it’s due here). If you had to “Tin Cup” it (i.e. play a round of golf with only one club), what club would it be and how many extra strokes do you think it would take? So, if you were to play your home course, your normal score is what? And what would your “Tin Cup” score be, you think?
If I had to choose one club for a Tin Cup round, I think it would be a five iron. My home course (and the public golf course I worked for) is Richmond Hill Golf Club. It’s only like 6,000 yards, so I feel like I could totally get by with a five iron and get on any green in 3. I typically shoot like an 80-85. I don’t think I would be that far off the number honestly. I trust the five iron, but also, I know my course pretty well and I think that club would suit it nicely. Now that you ask, though, I feel like I’m dying to try it!
What tour pro would you most like to have a beer with? Not necessarily the guy you’d want to play golf with or pick his brain about the game. Who do you think is the most likeable guy on tour? Who would you most like to befriend, if you will?
I would definitely have to go with Rickie Fowler. He’s got a bold style for sure, but he owns it and I really dig that. I love that he congratulates the other guys on tour and is supportive of them when they win tournaments. He seems so humble. He’s also really adventurous. He’s into motocross. I’m not into motocross, but I love the adventurous spirit. He just seems like a really cool guy from what I can tell.
It’s almost hard to believe, but the PGA Merchandise Show is fast approaching (January 23-26, 2018 in Orlando, FL for those who don’t know). Will you be exhibiting? What are you most looking forward to? That question is, of course, about what steps you think Uther will take, but also, are you looking forward to anything specific from other manufacturers? What companies’ booths are you planning on going to?
We will definitely be at the show and we’re really looking forward to it. Come see us at booth 3988! I walked the show last year but wasn’t exhibiting, so I would go up to potential customers and pitch my products to them. That was a lot of work and it was quite stressful being out on a limb like that. We’ve been working on this year’s show since August and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun. We’ve got some really cool stuff planned. You also get to meet so many people there, which is just a blast. As far as other stuff I’m looking forward to, Greyson Clothiers is definitely at the top of the list. Charlie’s story is so interesting and I just love their products.
Lastly, what do you guys have in the works? Are there any product releases forthcoming? Tell people how to find you on website, social media, etc.
So, the big news is that we will be expanding beyond golf towels. We will be launching some gloves and hats that I’m really excited about. We have six different golf gloves as well as bucket and baseball hats we’ll be rolling out in some very fun prints and colors (because that’s what we do). Definitely a good idea to check out our website, which is www.uthersupply.com. The website has a link to sign up for our email list which will send out some discount codes from time to time. There will also be some exclusive and limited-edition products on the website at times too. @Uthersupply is our handle on all social media platforms. Business customers can reach us at email@example.com to collaborate with us on custom products. We’d love to have people come see what we’re about!
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