Get Happy: The reality of starting a putter company

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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?