Friday, January 28, 2011

PGA Show Day 1 Highlight - the Chicken Stick

The golf industry’s annual gathering is taking place this week at the PGA Merchandise Show and Thursday’s opening day was a success.  Attendance appears to be up and the overall mood has improved from desperate to somber … with the operative word being “improved.”

I personally had a great first day and saw/heard/discussed several things that will appear in this blog in the coming weeks.  However, there was one game-changing idea in particular that caught my attention and imagination.

The product is called the Chicken Stick (a name I encouraged them to change) and is a golf-club Wii remote. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting Connected on the Course

I’m writing this blog from 35,000 feet somewhere in between LA and Atlanta thanks to Wifi on my plane.  I chose this flight in large part because I knew it was connected.  Five hours on a Monday is a long time to be dark.

Musing over this reminded me of golf, and a main reason why more people don’t play (or play more) – it takes too long.  18 holes plus warm-up/travel/etc. takes roughly the same amount of time as my trip from Redondo Beach, CA to Sandy Springs, GA - six hours.  That is an eternity to be dark in today’s age.  It is the main reason why I don’t play more than about once a month.

This made me wonder - are there reasonable ways to digitally connect people while on the course?  Here are a few ideas:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Part 2 of Buying a Course - Who Will Invest?

In my last post I bought a hypothetical golf course for $5 million and made the following projections:

Annual Revenues = $5.7 million
Annual Operating Profit = $252,000
Purchase Price = 20x annual revenue

See the full post here.

The question now arises – who, if anyone, would move forward on this deal based on these projections?  It really comes down to investment criteria.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Part 1 of Buying a Golf Course - Projected Costs and Returns

I was recently talking to a high-level member of the golf industry and he made a statement that was both obvious and gratifying – “golf needs to do a better job of getting the community involved.” 


His next statement was – “We should buy a family-friendly golf course, implement grassroots programs that bring golf into the community, capture kids and parents at schools / soccer games / etc., then filter them to the course and prove that the model works.”

The first part of the comment was more fantasy than anything, but philosophically I believe the concept would work.  Thus, I decided to do some research and create a back-of-the-envelope financial model of what buying a golf course would entail.

Monday, January 3, 2011

"If you win, say little. If you lose, say less."

Tom Brady, the New England Patriots QB, recently quoted his coach Bill Belichik in a post-game interview, saying: “Coach always tells us – if you win, say little … if you lose, say less.” 

This comment caught my attention since it came from someone in a league ripe with abundant (and to some degree, necessary) cockiness, trash-talking, intimidation etc.  It sounded more like something a golfer would say. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The "Golf Entrepreneur" Blog is Born

I’m an MBA student-analyst for a prominent angel investment group in Southern California.  We recently reviewed an application for a golf product similar to the thousands you see at the PGA Show every year, although this one was impressively innovative and had solid defensibility – ideal circumstances for a start-up.

After much deliberation, the angel group could not overcome their concerns about scalability and thus did not invest in the company.  Their view was that the golf industry is overly traditional and abhorrent to change, so customer acquisition would be too long and costly of an endeavor. 

This experience made me wonder – is any golf idea/company suitable for a venture capital type of investment where expected returns are 10x in 3-5 years?  Golf is a $76 billion industry with only a 10% participation rate in the U.S., so it seems like there should be abundant room for entrepreneurs to innovate and scale quickly.

However, the reality is that I haven’t seen anything recently within the golf industry that would be worthy of a VC-type of investment.  That doesn’t seem right to me.

Thus, this blog exists to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit surrounding golf by looking at game-changing ideas and the issues facing entrepreneurs with these ideas.  I look forward to taking the journey with you.