Creating a consistent, well-documented golf instruction approach was at the heart of Joe Assell and Mike Clinton's new-to-the-world business concept. As fellow graduates of the respected Professional Golf Management Program at Mississippi State, the two saw a powerful convergence of economic factors others had ignored. So, in April 1995, they set out to revolutionize the golf improvement industry.
FACTOR ONE: A growing interest in golf and instruction with no coherent, repeatable path or process for player improvement, particularly at an avid amateur level = market need.
FACTOR TWO: An under-utilized base of passionate PGA instructors who were limited by seasonal, outdoor employment opportunities = hidden capacity.
FACTOR THREE: A lack of business vision and organizational structure to connect Factor One with Factor Two to generate on-course results for golfers, career viability for PGA Professionals, and worthwhile returns for investors = roll-up opportunity.
The first nine years demonstrated the viability of the concept as Assell and Clinton built the proprietary systems to power future growth. This same architecture energizes over 140 U.S. Improvement Centers as well as recent expansion throughout North America via strategic franchising agreements.
Over 350 PGA Professionals are employed year-round by GolfTEC with the Company delivering over 20% of all lessons given in the United States annually, 8 times more than the nearest competitor (GTE estimate). GolfTEC has given millions of lessons to over 200,000 clients over the years, with a footprint that covers 70% of the U.S.
An unmatched portfolio of services has been developed in the past four years, including innovative improvement services like the Personal Club Fitting.
The intersection of personal services, recreation, competitive sports, and nationwide access is the unique result of portable, transferable vision based on the passionate pursuit of golf mastery brought by Assell and Clinton. No wonder these co-founders were selected as Rocky Mountain Region 2008 Entrepreneurs of the Year by Ernst and Young.
INNOVATIVE APPROACHES AND FUTURE PLANS
A 2007 International Franchise Association Award for Achievement serves to punctuate GolfTEC's reputation for new-to-the-world products and services leading to business results. Central to the Award was the proprietary CaddyMaster system created and maintained by GolfTEC's in-house team to integrate multiple business functions around one common platform.
This is only one of the game-changing innovations Assell and Clinton have used to fuel the Company's growth. Adding Denver-born recreation entrepreneur Tom Gart as the lead investor among 70 continues to accelerate GolfTEC's go-to-market pace. Linking with Golfsmith Golf and Tennis to co-locate facilities delivers a turnkey solution to golfers. Franchising puts new sources of capital to work and gives owners incentives to perform.
In recent months, Personal Club Fitting was launched to allow non-Tour golfers to match their clubs to their golf swing and playing preferences. As with the patent-protected g-SWING and g-PUTT systems, Personal Club Fitting integrates motion measurement, digital video and an unparalleled database of more than 1,000 club options.
Golfers move through the physical space inside an instructional bay while their movements, like those in a computer model, are tracked, recorded, and analyzed. From this massive data capture, their Certified Personal Coach™ provides well-documented recommendations customized for each player. A personal website is crafted for each client, providing 24/7 access to lesson recaps, game tracking, practice drills and much more.
GolfTEC's emerging challenge? Limit expansion of this comprehensive portfolio to deliver a streamlined client experience while responding to request from enthusiastic franchisees for localized offerings.
Assell and Clinton's competitive nature finds its form with community involvement. Connecting GolfTEC Certified Personal Coaches to their respective communities is one key to providing a stable, rewarding career environment, the pair have discovered.
In 2007, the delivery of no-cost lessons given to local educational, athletic, and community service organizations exceeded $1.23 million. On a national level, system-wide contributions to Patriot's Day benefited the families of men and women in active military service. All of these engage GolfTEC Certified Personal Coaches in ways uncommon to non-GolfTEC instructors teaching on their own and limited by seasonal restrictions.
Assell and Clinton, mindful of their education and the institution that brought them together to found GolfTEC, donated two g-SWING systems each worth in excess of $20,000 to two university undergraduate programs. Not surprisingly, Mississippi State University was at the top of their list.
Connecting all these service initiatives is the core belief that golf is a tool for productive economic, community, and personal change. That belief is what convinced 70 investors to join Assell and Clinton well before GolfTEC became the undisputed leader in golf improvement.