Monday, October 29, 2007

Returns and Refunds

Fortunately we are in a nice position where we do not get too many returns/refunds. Maybe it is that the clubs are as good as advertised, maybe people give them to friends if they don't like them. I like to think it is the former rather than the latter. Anyhow, with our online business, we do not retain any customer credit card information. This assures that if anyone ever hacked into our database they would get some information that is slightly less useful than what you would find in the white pages except you might get someones preferred lie angle details.

I bring up this point because when we do receive a return or exchange we contact our customer immediately to let them know that we need their credit card information to process the refund.

I received a voice mail this morning from a customer that we tried to reach several times so that we could arrange a refund. Rather than calling us back, he waited 60 days and called his credit card company instead of calling us back. After he called his credit card company he finally got in touch with us. Rather than following up on the refund he told me that we were "reported" to the credit card company. I asked why he did not just call us first to get the refund. I did not get a response. I promptly refunded the order - no questions asked per our policy. Now I have a packet on my desk from the credit card company that will require a ton of paperwork and phone calls to resolve. I have to say, it is a frustrating start to the week.

I would be elated if I found out that the online merchants I deal with discard my credit card information. I always shake my head when someone unloads on us because we don't keep their private financial information in a database.

If you need a good reason to get upset with us here are the top 5 (not that any of these EVER happen):
  1. club missing from order
  2. UPS Tracking Number not showing any detail
  3. you forgot my free ______
  4. forgot to ship a head cover
  5. Bought something that went on sale shortly after

Saturday, October 27, 2007

New Product Development 2008 - Test Process

Mike Blair (Director of Club Development) and I are finalizing the GRIP new products for 2008. We have had a lot of debate about our new "rusty" wedge. We settled on a nice oil can finish and Mike was very vocal that we allow the finish to rust thereby creating natural spin while maintaining a conforming club.
A lunch meeting to discuss the wedge design

I am always concerned about durability and customer perception. I read about a lot of golf companies that use robots to hit golf balls and can simulate all sorts of scenarios. I don't have robots. What I do have is an office that overlooks an 80 bay driving range at the East Coast Golf Academy in Northborough, MA and I have New England Weather. Believe me, all you need is amateur golfers and changing weather conditions to really test a golf club.

Our process starts by making up a dozen or so wedges and letting customers try them out and getting their feedback. We were fairly confident about the design, aesthetics, and playability of the wedges and the feedback from the testers was great. It reminded me of the Fairway Wood trials which went really well last year. People wanted to buy the prototype fairway woods on the spot. Since we could not sell them, we had a few stolen.

The second part of the process is putting the wedges in the "free rental" bin at the driving range. They are mixed in with old wooden woods, damaged knock-offs and other junk clubs. Most of the people that use them come to the driving range with no clubs of their own and really beat the free rentals up. If our clubs survive a month "in the bin" we know they are durable. This assures that in the absolute worse usage circumstances that the finis is strong and they will not chip, dent or damage easily. It is our golf version of a vehicle head-on collision test for safety.

The oil can finish passed the test as did the quality of the carbon steel - which we knew because our CNC Milled Wedges use the same steel.

The final test is to put one club head on my deck for one month to endure the rain, sun and whatever else comes out of the sky. I was actually concerned after the test that the club had too much rust and that the finish was not rusting on the surface but it was decomposing. Mike proved me wrong by lightly wiping the wedge down with steel wool for 10 seconds. The finish and integrity of the club were in great shape. We placed a factory order shortly after the meeting.

My only open concern is whether our customers will like the rust. I certainly do. I carried a rusty Vokey for many years.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rankmark's 2007 Best of the Best - GRIP OWT Wide Sole Irons!

Yesterday I promised myself that I would catch up on Quickbooks (Accounting) and some other administrative chores that I am behind on in the office. When I finally sat down to do it at about 3:00 PM I received an email from Larry Janis from forwarded me Charlie "The Bogeyman" Mandel's Rankmark newsletter with a note that said, "Just in case you haven't seen this...."

Rankmark is known as the "Consumer Reports" of the golf industry. However, they are better than Consumer Reports (CR). CR uses guys in white robes to test vacuum cleaners and crash test dummies to test SUVs. Rankmark uses real golfers with high and low handicaps, slices and duck hooks, to test clubs. They also do not accept any money for the test so you can't buy your way in. This is a great model for GRIP because we did not budget to buy much of anything besides golf clubs.

I encourage you to check out the test results at Rankmark. The official test was released in their newsletter but it is not on the list of tests on the site yet. You can follow this link:

We finished #4 overall behind Cleveland, Callaway, and Ping. We'll get the next time. Nike, Nicklaus, Cobra, Adams, Mizuno and others - I bet you had not heard of us! Who is your daddy now? It's time to Go Grip.

You can be sure that I will exploit this success as much as possible. There is no such thing as a bad winner...right? I still have not done my accounting work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Las Vegas PGA Fall Expo 2007

I was at the PGA Fall Expo yesterday. I actually had a pretty tough schedule. Flew in on Monday - left my house at 3:30 AM EST and arrived in Vegas about 12:00 PM western time. a 3 hour difference. Northwest airlines actually charged me to upgrade to the aisle. Yes, that is correct an UPGRADE TO THE AISLE! You probably think it was an exit row or something. Well, it wasn't. To move from my middle seat to the aisle was $30. Believe me, the leg space was horrible and I was on the wing.

When I arrived I was pretty tired but it was the middle of the day. I checked into Planet Hollywood Hotel (formerly Aladdin). The PGA show was at Mandalay Bay but El Presidente is a few Hot Steel fairway wood sales short of staying at the Mandalay. Expedia gave me a nice deal on a flight including a middle seat and a room at Planet Hollywood.

Planet Hollywood (PH) is undergoing a huge makeover while it converts from Aladdin to PH. Because of that I have to give them a break. The room was comfortable, the location is great. It is attached to a giant mall and across the street from Belagio, next to Paris, and close to a lot of other good attractions. PH is very far from Mandalay Bay.

After settling in, and grabbing a light lunch I went for a walk but it was about 100 degrees outside so I went back in and walked around the "Miracle Mile" mall for a while.

When I got back to the room I did my GRIP work for a while. The Planet Hollywood room is another work in progress. It is actually really nice but the days of the bedspread and the blanket are gone. They need to go to the Duvet/Down Comforter with all possible speed. Like I said, they get a break because they are a work in progress. My room featured a picture of Kevin Costner in "Robin Hood Prince of Thieves" and an alien prop weapon from the short lived television series Space Above and Beyond. I actually think it is a pretty cool idea for a hotel room. Unless you are staying at a 5 star resort, most hotel room art is crap and it never gets my attention. I definitely looked at the prop weapon for a bit.

I put a call into Charles Mandel from Rankmark, an independent, very respected golf club rating company. They put together huge test groups of golfers from 0 - infinite handicaps to test clubs and use a mathematical model to generate test results from the data they gather. They do not take any money for the service. However, your company may fall flat on a test and you can't buy your way to the top. It is a good company to work with for us. Charlie has had calls from Eli Callaway himself years back. Charlie started doing this as a hobby when he retired and now it is a big business.

When I showed up to meet Charlie I thought it was a meeting for a casual drink so I did not change into nicer clothes. I walked to meet him at the Mandalay Bay in 90+ degree heat.
After a very pleasant conversation with Charlie I learned that I was going to dinner with Sonartec Chairman Peter Pocklington and Andrew Birnbaum a very big wheel on the marketing side of the golf business. I should have known better than to show up looking like I just played 18 holes in the heat.

Andrew, Charlie, Andrew's wife, Peter and his wife as well as one of Peter's staff were a pleasure to dine with. Sonartec actually picked up the dinner bill which was very classy. We ate at Joe's Stone Crab and I enjoyed the food and the company. I learned a lot from everyone.

The show was great the next day. My concentration was on The Savvy Golfer, trying to identify new products for the site focusing on women's golf. I found at least a dozen new products that I am very excited about. My wife, Stacey is the new Savvy Golfer tech person who will add the new products and maintain the site. She has agreed to a generous salary of roughly what a fast food worker earns. It is nice to have a wife who believes in what you do.

During my lunch break the wheels came off like usual. DHL missed a pick up on Monday so orders were late, and our club builder in Hartford did not receive his thick envelope of custom orders to build and shipping labels. Somehow we rallied, recovered the orders emailed them to the warehouse and they will all go out today. Never a dull moment.

Last night was tame. I ate at the Sports Book in the hotel and watched the Red Sox game. I walked the Miracle mile and bought some little gifts for the family.

A final observation about Planet Hollywood Hotel. I know they are in transition and they did not draw too many events for the VMA awards the weekend before I arrived. Nothing made it more painfully obvious than the video of Sylvester Stallone's 60th Birthday that kept playing in the elevator. I hope things get better for them. Stallone's Birthday was attended by a lot of the original PH investors including Bruce Willis and the Governator. I am sure the video at Luxor and the Palms featured P Diddy, Britney Spears, 50 Cent and all the other VMA celebs who hit their popular night clubs during the weekend of the awards.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Can't get enough of that Geico Caveman

I love Geico commercials. The Gecko has been around since the 2000 Superbowl and his act is still great. The Caveman is a great follow up to the Gecko. Someone sent me a link to the Caveman playing golf with Phil Simms. Funny stuff. We looked into the Sock Puppet as a GRIP Spokesman but he was too expensive and he has no arms. An armless spokesperson for a Golf company is a difficult sell. Still, the puppet is one of the best living pitch men.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Worst Golf Villain of All Time?

With all of the sniping going on in professional golf these days including Rory Sabbatini calling Tiger "beatable", Michelle Wie dropping out of tournaments and everyone screaming foul, Daly smoking 4 cigarettes from tee to green on a par 3, Sergio whining, etc, the golf world is abuzz with stories "vilifying" players. This got me thinking about "Golf villains."

Kaiser Soze (Usual Suspects), Hannibal Lechter (Silence of The Lambs), Darth Vader (If you don't know this you should be deported from the planet), and a few others are always debated as the most "Evil" movie characters of all time. What about in the world of Golf movies? Who is the most evil movie golf villain of all? Here are the nominees:

Judge Smails (Caddyshack): Smails may not just be the most evil man in the history of golf movies but he may also be a nominee for most evil movie character of all time. He certainly ranks ahead of Johnny Lawrence from “The Karate Kid” and Norman Bates from “Psycho”. I can't remember one scene where he was likable or a moment where I felt sad or happy for him. Even Denzel in "Training Day" managed to deceive us for a minute or two that he was a good guy. Smails is a Country Club snob who believes he is above everyone and makes no secret of his feelings. He is rude to his friends and his family. He also has a temper on the course and you can tell a lot about a person by the way he acts on the golf course. Smails throws clubs, yells and cheats. He treats people like crap - look how horribly he treated his grandson Spalding, "You'll get nothing and like it!" when Spalding wanted lunch during a round of golf. He would not let Dr. Beeper return a page on the golf course thus demonstrating that the well being of others is of little or no concern to him. He has a volatile temper demonstrated when he threw putter from the 18th green over the clubhouse hitting a woman while she ate her lunch. He actually let his caddy take the blame for the flying putter and proceeded to tip him $.50 for caddying 18 holes. I think when Danny Noonan approached him about the caddy scholarship and Smails responded with, "The World Needs Ditch Diggers Too" it pretty much summarizes his character. He is so cold that he is almost inhuman.

Auric Goldfinger(Goldfinger): For those not familiar with Goldfinger, it was a 1964 James Bond flick and possibly the best Bond flick of them all. I would highly suggest renting it if you have not seen it. Aside from being a gold smuggler and a murderer Mr. Goldfinger is also a cheater. He cheats at cards and he cheats at golf. To his credit he did pay his golf bet when he lost a game to James Bond. Even if we put aside our feelings about Goldfinger as a murderer and a smuggler, he is still a serial cheater. We all know plenty of cheaters,Judge Smails cheated as well but Goldfinger plans for cheating in advance and it is part of the sport for him. What also makes Goldfinger truly stand out as an "Evil "golfer is that he uses his bodyguard/driver/assassin "Oddjob" as a caddy. Oddjob is a pretty intimidating guy considering that he kills people by throwing his bladed hat at them resulting in the target being beheaded. I think if you cheat and bring an assassin as a caddy that's pretty bad if he helps you cheat that’s even worse. When Bond won the round and exposed Goldfinger as a cheater Oddjob crushed a golf ball with his bare hand and beheaded a statue with his hat to show Bond just what could happen to him for exposing Goldfinger. When I play with someone and they improve a lie or magically find a ball in the woods in plain sight propped up on a good lie with an easy exit after 10 minutes of looking for it I usually say, “wow you play like Auric Goldfinger” they think I am referring to some European tour player or something. It is my way of saying, “You are a cheater.”

Shooter Mcgavin (Happy Gilmore): Shooter is a showoff and gets his name from the fact he likes to make a childish shooting expression with his fingers when he knocks the golf ball in the hole. I know that if I played with anyone who did the shooting move after sinking a putt I probably would not play with them again. For the most part I don't think rest of Shooter's selfish, deceitful, and childish behavior seems too different from many of the Primadonnas on the tour these days. His character is a more dramatic, comedic, and entertaining version of what we hear at most post PGA event press conferences. In addition to his trademark shooting gesture when he celebrates, what makes Shooter special is that he would take an old lady's house away to assure he wins a "Gold Jacket" (move version of a Green Jacket) as he demonstrated by buying Happy's Grandmother's house from the bank. Kicking an old lady out of her house is really bad. However, from a golf perspective the shooting gesture is worse than what he did to Granny. The shooting move is golf's equivalent to nails on a chalkboard while being poked with a sharp stick. I get chills just thinking about Shooter's celebratory move.

David Simms (Tin Cup): Tin Cup itself is a great movie. Every time it is on I stop what I am doing and I am just drawn in by the drama right away. I think I once toggled between Tin Cup and The Masters for two hours and I watched a few minutes of it during game 6 of the Sox/Yankees ALCS Series in 2004 (I am a big Sox fan). For Don Johnson and Cheech Marin the movie totally makes up for "Nash Bridges" and for Kevin Costner it is at least a down payment on "Waterworld" and "The Postman." David Simms is not that bad of a guy but because Tin Cup (Costner) is so likeable and such an underdog and Simms is his nemesis it makes Simms look like more of a pretentious jerk than most touring pros. Later in the movie we learn that he also hates puppies and old people. However, it should be noted that to the best of our knowledge Simms did not kick any old people out of their homes like Shooter Mcgavin and as far as athletes who hate animals he can't hold a candle to Michael Vick. I am not sure he is evil as much as he is the perfect arch-rival for Tin Cup. The stark contrast between Simms and Tin Cup paints Simms in a very evil light.

Friday, August 3, 2007

We can't all be staples

I saw this article a couple of months ago in Fast Company Magazine about how Staples operates their Warehouse with robots. What caught my attention was how clean the warehouse was. Wow! It looks like you can eat off those floors. ...and the Robots! y warehouse is 11,000 square feet and we share space with Wildcard Golf and Swing 'em Again Golf (used clubs).

Anyhow, we moved from 5,000sf to 11,000sf and we clearly ran out of space. Swing 'em again basically closed the showroom because used clubs take up a lot of space. We had a customer try to find us a couple of weeks back and I felt badly because they expected to see a big sign and a store. I must confess it is just a big warehouse. We are also way in the back behind Pilkington (you will see their trucks from the street) and next to the very smelly medical waste treatment warehouse. It keeps the rent down.

See if you can figure out which pics are from Staples Warehouse and which ones are ours. By the way, in our defense, we do keep the assembly area very clean and organized. As long as assembly and shipping area a well oiled machine we will continue to keep our customers happy. We like our space. Hopefully nobody gets hurt climbing the mountains of boxes!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bad week...better weekend

Last week was a tough week. We were doing a little test with our Google Adwords account where we increased our spend by quite a bit. Our expectation was that our increase in spending would increase sales based on higher click through rates and better ad placement. For thise of you that are not familiar with adwords, you are probably very bored. I would like to direct you to more interesting content on my blog before you click to some other site. Anyhow, we spent lot's of $$ and we had an exceptionally slow week from google. I bought a couple of books on PPC from Amazon at the end of last week to see if we could be doing things a little better. I bought:
Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's Web Site and Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords

My summer reading list is not exactly "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "1984."

Anyhow, by Sunday morning our customers were back and all was well in the world again. I am still trying to figure out is there is a software solution to managing my bids more efficiently. Another project for this week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Don't Blame Michelle Wie

Sometimes I think most of us forget how poor our judgment was at 17 years old. I can remember meeting up with friends in my high school parking lot on a Saturday night, driving into the worst part of Hartford Connecticut to buy beer and drinking it in my school parking lot before we figured out to go. As an adult, I would consider that poor judgment and basically stupid. I realize now that I was very lucky that I did not get caught. However, I was not a stupid teen but I was a normal kid doing stupid teen things. My parents also dictated a lot to me and influenced my judgment and corrected me on a lot of things. Most kids enjoy a similar experience growing up. There are some exceptions - kids from the great depression, kids from broken homes who have to fend for themselves, etc. However, for the sake of this rant let's assume that Michelle Wie has it pretty good. I am fairly sure she did not buy golf lessons and greens fees with a paper route, food stamps, and 5 cent soda can redemptions. She had a pretty comfortable home life like me.

Michelle is dealing with a lot right now, injuries, missed cuts, negative media attention and criticism from other golfers. I blame her parents for a lot of these issues. A professional sports career or a great career of any sort is a marathon not a sprint. Tiger played a couple of years of the U.S. Amateur and a year at Stamford before going pro. Michael Jordan played college hoops, and Kobe Bryant was not the MVP in his first year. It appears that Michelle Wie's management team made a lot of poor decisions on her behalf and may have done a lot of damage. Let's not forget she is a 17 year old girl and she has the emotions and feelings of a 17 year old girl - she is not a robot and all of this must be hard for her. She did not make the decision to go pro at 15 by herself, she did not pick up the phone and demand sponsors exemptions into men's events only to miss cuts. She did not make the decision to pursue PGA greatness before establishing herself as an LPGA great. Somebody made these decisions with her. However, only Michelle Wie feels the embarrassment and emotions that comes with these events, missed cuts, losses, and media scrutiny coupled with the insecurity and emotions that a teenage girl already feels. I feel really badly for her right now. She is a kid who has been badly mismanaged.

Because Ms. Wie is a celebrity we forget her age and we also forget that behind her there is a family, sponsors, and management that dictate where she goes, what she does, and where she plays. The next time Michelle Wie says something to the media that makes you roll your eyes, or she misses a cut, or has a questionable injury think about what you were doing at 17 years old and then give her a break. She is a victim of those around her.

I hope that Michelle Wie has the opportunity to meet Jennifer Capriatti one day. Jennifer was a teen sensation in tennis and in her formative years she took a break and did some of the things that the rest of us did as teens. She got caught. I got caught too. However, my picture was not in People Magazine when I got caught. Jennifer resurrected her career on her own terms and played some great tennis and she seemed really happy doing it. I noticed when Jennifer Capriatti had her comeback I did not see her dad parked behind her at the press conferences anymore.

Good luck Michelle. I hope that you are happy. If you are not, I hope that you find it because you are 17 and you deserve nothing but happiness.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Warrior Custom Golf "Field Test Program"

I received an email a couple of days ago from the "VP of Client Services" at Warrior Custom Golf telling me I have been specially selected to field test their 2008 clubs and receive $100 of free gifts. Pretty sweet huh? Apparently the VP of Client Services does not use his or her name. Just the title. email was from "VP of Client Services" email address was I have been in sales a long time and I have never seen people use their titles as email addresses or not give their name at all. Maybe I will change my email address to "el"

Anyhow, all joking aside, I called to redeem my offer. Warrior Custom Golf (WCG)was very warm and friendly and they asked for my name, redemption code etc.
We established my Handicap and then the friendly support person walked me through the offer. At first I thought that they were going to send me a bunch of Fairway Woods and a Driver customized by their master club fitter for me to try. The email clearly states that I need to pay shipping and handling which is totally cool by me.

Here is where I struggled a bit. Warrior is going to charge my credit card for $139+ per club for this special field test. I pointed out that I could go to a store or web site and buy Fairway Woods and a Driver for a little less money and I would not be obligated to field test them. I also asked some questions about what was required of me for the field test. One thing about me is I am very polite on the telephone. I ask a lot of questions and I don't like to upset people. However, when I started asking a lot of questions about why I have to pay for the clubs and the details of the field test, I was magically disconnected.

I have made this point before and I will make it again...there is no such thing as a free golf club unless you are displaying it when you tee off at the US Open or your mom buys it for you for your birthday.

I would like to thank the VP of Client Services at WCG for the generous offer. Free clubs for $139+ each plus shipping. However, I never got to hear about the $100 of free SWAG that comes with my free field test. Best deal I have heard about in a while.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I hope this guy is a customer

I think when we had "recreational golfers" in mind with our product line we were thinking of this guy. I pray he had a GRIP driver in his hands.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Review Sites

I have a few questions/comments about golf review sites. We need to get more exposure for GRIP Golf. We always need more exposure, media, attention, buyers, friends etc. We also like ideas. Well, we like good ideas.
Anyhow, we are going to encourage our customers to write unbiased reviews of our clubs. However, we need to figure out the best review sites for clubs. Here are the candidates:
1. - we are listed on Amazon, sales have been slow. I think our sales rank just behind the Michael Jackson Home Face Distorter Kit at number at #50,995. The good news is that our Amazon sales really stand to improve. Last year when we went live on Amazon we encouraged our customers to add reviews for us and it went pretty well.
2. - they have a 4 out of 10 Google page rank. I have not used them myself. Are they reliable? Do golfers visit the site? We do have one GRIP Driver review already on the site
3. 3 out of 10 Google page rank. I know of them but once again, I don't know if people really use them.
4. - I hear these guys are the best. We have requested that they add us to their epinions golf category. Hopefully we get the respect.
5. Any other ideas?
Please let us know your opinions. We are going to send a note to our customers offering a sleeve of balls for a review on one of these sites. The note will only go to existing customers and not just people looking for a free sleeve of balls. Thanks, we appreciate your feedback.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hooters Magazine

Unfortunately I am in New York City today. Why is that so unfortunate? Is it because:

  1. no golf?

  2. too humid?

  3. I dont't like crowds?

  4. none of the above

If you answered #4 you are correct. The reason I am unhappy about being in New York is because I can't get the latest edition of Hooters Magazine anywhere around here. Not only is this month's Hooters supposed to be filled with information about Wings, Beer, and photos of the fine Hooters waitstaff but it features GRIP Hypersteel Hybrids!

I believe the good people at Hooters sent me a few copies. The magazine is tough to find in the city very tough.

thank you Hooters!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Free Clubs

I have been getting a lot of questions from people about why we don't give away "Free Clubs" to help promote our company and brand.

We ordered a few "free clubs" from some other golf companies. We paid no less than $20 for each free club. Based on the clubs themselves we estimate each club costs about $5-6.75 after assembly costs. This is based on the materials, design quality, and the shaft and grip.

If my basic math correct, I will assume the following:
Cost of club: $6.75
Cost of Box: $1.50 (this assumes they use good boxes)
Average cost of shipping $7.50 (we assume they have the same rates as us if not better) this is from MA to CA.

I have to be honest. I can't compete with this model. At $20-$25 we would go out of business on free wedges. Each GRIP wedge would sell for a substantial loss. At $49.95 our CNC milled Wedge is a tremendous value. At 3 for $99 they are an amazing value. When they go on sale they are unbeatable.

The moral of the story is:

  1. Nobody is giving away clubs - the $20-$25 in shipping and handling more than covers the cost of the product, shipping, and handling.

  2. giving away your product away for less than it's cost is not a strong business model.

  3. I am confident that those who offer "free clubs" make money after shipping and handling.

I am going to belly up. From now until July 1, I will offer GRIP CNC Milled Wedges for $30 each (+$7.95 shipping) if you use our coupon code 'freewedge'

For $5-$15 more than the "Free Wedge offers" we will send you the best sand, gap, or lob wedge you have ever used. I promise. If you don't like it, send it back and we'll give you your money back.

If someone offered you a "Free Car" or a "Free Haircut" would you raise an eyebrow? How about if the Haircut had fees of $12 or the car had an "aquisition charge" of $7,000?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Live Baby Live!

The new site went up last weekend without a hitch! It was a little stressful Friday night because everyone involved departed for the weekend with the words, "Don't worry"

Mike, our club developer: "don't worry, the clubs are clearing customs as we speak, we will have them for assembly Monday afternoon"

Irene, our Media relations person: "We'll have all the promos and press releases set by Monday morning, don't worry (she was actually pretty much done Friday night)"

Wakefly, our web developers "Don't worry, the new site will go live over the weekend. It will all be fine"

Most companies would have their clubs in and their site up well in advance of a launch like this. Not me, not us. The good news was that everyone was true to their word. We are assembling and packing GRIP OWT Wide Sole Irons as I write this.

Everyone did a great job. We are rally happy about the new clubs.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Cover of the April 2007 Entrepreneur Magazine

"Get a GRIP"

My brother bought me a subscription to Entrepreneur magazine as a gift for my birthday last year. Lass than 12 months later GRIP golf gets a mention on the cover of the April 2007 edition. I am just elated right now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Long awaited GRIP 460CC Driver photos

Here are some photos of the new driver. Release date is set for April 2...

Tony K from The Golf Space and Hooked on Golf will have reviews posted next week. We are really happy with the way this product came out and the early feedback we have received.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Less than 2 weeks until we launch the new clubs!

We are less than 2 weeks from launching the new Drivers, Fairway Woods, and Irons. In typical GRIP fashion we are doing a million things at the last minute. We have clubs launching in less than 2 weeks and our photographers will be done this Sunday with the photos for the site, media and the hundreds of other things we need photos for. Our web developers can't start adding the new products to gogrip.comwithout photos so they will start development changes on the site Monday. We are also still editing copy for the site. However, we expect everything and everyone to execute smoothly and launch on time. The official media launch is April 9th. We will put pout our press releases and send clubs to reviewers etc. Everything will be available for purchase on on April 4th or 5th. We will send an email to our customers with "pre-launch" savings.

Our ultimate goal for 2007 was:
February 2007: Perfect samples for photographers
Early March 2007: product samples avaialble for media and reviewers etc.
End of March 2007: all products in warehouse ready to assemble and ship

What actually happened:
February 2007: Sample drivers show up in wrong color, we get a final 3-wood but no 5-wood or 7-wood, full iron set is blank with no medallions (logos) in cavity.

Early March: We finally get everything from our casting houses/factories. Relatively unhappy photographers start work. We give them 12 days - I escape to Aruba with the wife and kids before the busy season starts.

Mid - late March: Casting house that makes irons notifies us they will be shipping a week late. They provide no explanation. This is referred to as the Chinese New Year delay. All of China halts work for the holiday. Most comapnies order early enough to have their products shipped in advance of the holiday.

April 2-9: All clubs will ship into our Hartford Warehouse via super expensive air freight so we do not have to further delay our launch and we can start selling the new clubs. We will stay up all night assembling and filling orders for 6 days.

This is the life of the "small guy" in the golf business. My wife recently asked me why we don't start working with the casting houses and developing product earlier? Simply stated, we are all assembling, talking to customers, selling, packing boxes and dealing with our business all summer. Trust me, I have spent many a late night folding boxes and looking for a box of 56 degree LH wedges on the bottom of a pallet. Everyone at GRIP works hard and pitches in with whatever is needed when it needs to be done.

In August we finally sit down, share ideas, look at samples and start corresponding with the casting houses. Even if we had our act together earlier I think we would incur the same delays. Our vendors make clubs for Nike, Orlimar, Dick's Sporting Goods, Ping and others. I am pretty sure that our small volumes and lack of clout would move us to the back of the pack at all of the factories no matter when we put the order in.

As much as all of this stresses me out, I am really happy with the new products, I am very excited about the 2007 season and believe it or not, we are working on some 2008 designs already.

Check out our casting house photos.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Opening the store

So we are in the process of opening the GRIP retail outlet in Northborough, MA. On the positive side, it has set up well, we have a lot of product and the people that work at East Coast Golf (our store is at the East Coast Golf Driving Range) have been really nice and helpful.

Things that have not gone well include:
  • Getting rear ended last Wednesday on my way to Staples for supplies. I swear, I was sitting at a stop sign. I was hit by a truck in my car that has 1800 miles on it. I was thinking about how nicely things were coming together. BOOM! An inconvenience and time consumption I can't afford. However, the good people at Enterprise rental car gave me a Dodge SUV that fits a lot of boxes. It has been very handy.
  • I think I lost my wallet yesterday. Nobody to blame for that but myself. Again, and inconvenience I don't have time for. I am taking my family on vacation in March before the new GRIP products launch and golf season officially starts. If I lost my wallet right before that trip I would be worse off. The silver lining is that this may be the best time for me to lose it. I only stand to get busier.

Gold stars go to:

  • Mike Blair for hitting all of his deadlines for getting all of the new GRIP products ready. We will launch Irons, Woods, and Drivers all between March 25th and April 15th. They look good and play better.
  • The new Hartford Warehouse. Won't it be nice pack GRIP shipping boxes without having to climb over mountains of pallets and golf bags. Linksman, Wildcard and GRIP outgrew our Warehouse quickly last year. We blocked aisles with pallets and we were really crowded. Sounds like a nice problem to have right? It did not seem like it at the time. We move next week. We will also have a new store in Hartford.

If anyone sees my wallet I will give them a free driver. Help!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

GRIP Golf Affilliate Program is Live!

Our golf affiliate program went live this morning. The link to sign up for the GRIP Golf Affiliate Program is

The program is a super deal. Basically run our ads on your site, and if someone buys from us you get a commission ranging from 10-30% of the total sale. We are partnered with Commission Junction so that the program is well managed and our affiliates are guaranteed timely payment.
Check it out! Thanks

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

GRIP 2007 Fairway Wood!

Here are the first photos of the production-ready GRIP Fairway wood. I should have one ready to assemble when I return from the PGA show. Assuming everything is as it should be when we test it we will have them in mid-late March. It looks cool and it should be very easy to hit and extremely forgiving.
They will available in #3,5,7 Right Hand Only Men's and Women's.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New GRIP Golf Affiliate Program

We are launching the GRIP affiliate program later this week. For those that are unfamiliar with affiliate programs they are, in essence, revenue sharing programs between you and a company (in this case GRIP) that sells a product or service. We reward you with commission payments for sales on our site when you send us customers to from your web site or Blog. We have put together an excellent FAQ with all of the details at:

Our affiliate program is managed by Commission Junction. Their technology will track GRIP sales made through affiliates and they will also electronically distribute the commission payments. We chose Commission Junction because is the make it simple for our affiliates to work with us and they are the industry leader for managing affiliate programs. They have excellent information on their web site about affiliate programs and how it all works.

To sign up for the GRIP Golf Affiliate Program please visit

The GRIP affiliate program will officially start taking applications starting on Jan 19, 2007. We have an aggressive commission plan that pays commissions from 10-30% on a monthly basis. We will gladly add to you our email launch list for the affiliate program. Please visit our site, fill out our contact form and let us know that you would like to to join our program.

Friday, January 12, 2007

PGA Show

We will be at the PGA show in Orlando from Jan 24-28 2007. Surprisingly, we will not have a booth. Since our full offering including irons, driver, and fairway woods will not be available until the spring, we decided that we would be jumping the gun a bit by going to the show. The buyers at the show expect you to have the product available for shipment right away. Putters, wedges, and Hybrids just aren't enough. Even if they are the best hybrids, putters and fairway woods available!In 2008 GRIP will be at the show in full force. We will spending our time looking at new products, networking, selecting new products for our women's golf site, selecting new products for the new GRIP outlet store opening at the East Coast Golf Academy in Northborough, MA.

The outlet store is our first brick and mortar effort for GRIP. We will offer GRIP Golf Equipment (of course!), all of the products from The Savvy Golfer, and a huge selection of value priced sets for men, women, and children from our partners at Linksman Golf. We are really looking forward to opening the store. We move in February 1 and I expect to be up and running by Feb 19.

I will post photos and news from the show daily. For anyone attending, if you want to met with us or introduce yourself email We are also helping out our friends at Wildcard Golf in their booth at the show.

New Products!

We have some fantastic new products launching this spring. I actually received the final driver sample a couple of weeks ago. I will post a photo this weekend. We developed a really cool 460cc Beta Titanium driver with two fixed weight ports and a lot of great bells and whistles. I am bringing it to the PGA show with me in a couple of weeks.

Additionally, we have a series of fairway woods launching 3,5,7 woods and some very sweet Wide Sole Irons. I believe we decided to move forward without the zebra stripes you see in the picture.
We are very excited about our 2007 products. We had a great year in 2006 but it is difficult to compete as a three product golf company (wedges, hybrids, putters). We are really looking forward to this spring when we launch our full product line. We expect to have everything available in March.