Get Happy: The reality of starting a putter company

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 16, 2014, 6:38 pm

By VIKASH SANYAL, CEO AT BRAINSTORM GOLF

Well, nobody ever accused me of backing away from interesting new adventures, so why start now?

Now that Golf Channel has decided to produce a web series about our new putter company (Brainstorm Golf) and our new putter (the Happy Putter; yes, that’s really the name), they asked me if I’d also do an online diary about the adventures of our startup.

When I first talked with Golf Channel about the online series, I have to be honest – there was mixed reaction among my partners and investors. Since we had zero control over how things would be edited or portrayed, the whole project could backfire. Who knows how we would come across? Would we make “The Real Housewives of (insert city here)” seem like a calm, reasonable bunch?

But, finally, after a couple cocktails and much deliberation, we thought: what the heck. This is the third putter company I’ve started with partners (first, Odyssey Golf; followed by Never Compromise) and even though each of those was a different kind of adventure, we’ve never been afraid of taking chances and doing things differently.

We started talking with Golf Channel about the “behind-the-scenes look at a new golf startup” at the PGA Show back in January. But we’d already been working for the last two years on the product concept.

As three guys (myself, Dave Cooper and Jeff Sheets) who love and follow the golf industry, we’d noticed that the putter market had been stagnant – even shrinking – over the last several years. Why? Simple. There were lots of good putters on the market, but it had been several years since a breakthrough or anything interesting had come along.

Most big equipment companies treat putters like the third- or fourth-most important product line in their product portfolio. It’s completely understandable: the big money is in the other clubs and in balls.

For me, putters have always been where the fun is. It’s challenging making a club for what’s arguably the most challenging part of the game.

Meanwhile, as the putter market seemed to be plodding along, adjustable clubs were gaining wider acceptance; the problem was, nobody thought about applying complete adjustability to the putter, the club that can benefit players the most.

So we started tinkering with the idea of a putter that could be adjusted in all the major ways. The pros have the advantage of having their putters constantly tweaked. We thought every player should have the same advantage.

Flash forward two years and 20 prototypes later, to a few weeks ago, when I’m answering my door to let a producer and cameraman into my life – and my partners’ lives – to start the first day of shooting.

And the only thought in my mind is: What in the world did I get myself into?

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm