Even though I may have misread the tea leaves, I can promise it wasn’t always smooth sailing. The biggest hurdles we faced in the early days were the number of doubters, both within the industry and among the public, as well as a need for capital to help fuel growth. While listening to critics can be helpful, an entrepreneur must have full confidence that what they’re doing brings value to the market. For us, we knew a 21st century approach to golf that focused on facts, data and research as the basis for all teaching and club fitting methodology, combined with the best coaches and tech in the world, was a recipe for success.
Our doubters were slowly proven wrong, as more and more of our students (the true test of success) began dropping strokes like crazy and telling their friends. Word spread quickly and before long we had centers in markets outside our narrow regional focus, including Dallas, Atlanta and beyond. With this validation we were able to work with incredible investment partners to strategize global scalability and we’ve never looked back.
Another word of advice for those seeking to build something for themselves in golf. Don’t pay too much mind to what outside, and often misinformed, voices are saying about our industry or its future. Golf is growing and thriving. In America, it is an $84 billion-dollar business, up 22% over the past five years. During that same period, rounds of golf have been relatively steady and we’re seeing new records for participation among beginners, juniors and female golfers.
GOLFTEC is a testament to this growth and positive momentum, as 2018 has been one of the most successful years in our history. We’ve taught more lessons and given more club fitting consultations than ever before. Both domestic and international growth is at an all-time high and we’re extremely bullish on the future.
The latent demand the sport continues to generate is impressive. With the rise of off-course experiences like Topgolf, there is an influx of potential golfers, mostly young, who are interested in moving from the driving range to the course. Similarly, on Tour we’re witnessing a new crop of young superstars like Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Ariya Jutanugarn and Lexi Thompson, who are capturing the public’s attention. Not to mention, Tiger Woods is back, if you hadn’t heard.
As entrepreneurs and stewards of the game, it is our job to welcome these new players and continue to remove barriers, so they’ll become lifelong advocates. In the end, consumers make buying decisions based on the value an organization provides. Businesses then evolve to meet those demands. Create value, create demand and we’ll continue to grow this business and game.
Lastly, what has continued to drive my philosophy and approach to business is the simple understanding that golf should be fun. The entire GOLFTEC model is based on making people better so they can enjoy the game more with friends and family and spread its virtues to others. I would love to see course operators become more aggressive in dropping tradition and focus on making the experience non-intimidating and enjoyable for all.
Yours in Golf,
Co-Founder and CEO