Get Happy: Finding (and re-finding) investors

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2014, 3:12 pm


It’s not easy to get people to part with their money and invest in a new venture, even if the entrepreneurs behind that venture have strong track records.

Investors — even people I’d call “professional investors,” who are always on the lookout for new opportunities — are a tough bunch. Rightly so. Most of them made their money through hard work and by taking calculated risks. And even though they’re all unique with different personalities, they all want the same thing: They want their money to come back to them at a multiple.

So, even though they need to courted, wooed and pursued, more than anything they need to be convinced.

I don’t by any means think of myself as an expert on raising money, but after doing it for several companies, I’ve learned a few important lessons. And I’ve had to re-learn them all over again with Brainstorm Golf and the Happy Putter.

Lesson 1: Raising money takes so much longer than you would expect.  The process is brutal.  You start putting out feelers to your business contacts, hoping that someone will have positive feedback for you and be willing to introduce you to prospects.  You create your business plan and you start sending emails, and more emails, then you follow up with phone calls, and more phone calls.  You must be persistent without being desperate or annoying. It’s a sensitive balancing act. When you finally get meetings, you have to be on your game, and in the case of Brainstorm Golf, we had to sell an idea and a vision because we didn’t have a finished product to share. You meet, share your story, answer questions, and you leave the meeting feeling fairly confident.  This is where the fun starts. 

Blog 4: Finding the right funding

Blog 3: Raising money

Blog 2: Picking the right team

Blog 1: The reality of a start-up company

Lesson 2: Plan on being disappointed. Hot prospects will suddenly go cold. Our first two potential investors seemed very interested at first but then decided they needed more time. (I didn’t have time!) Luckily for us, we met another investor shortly after that — a former professional athlete who really seemed to get our strategy.  Not only did this prospect commit to invest between $250K and $500K, he said he felt he could help us finish the entire round through his fellow athlete friends. Great news, right?  Yeah, until a few weeks later, when our calls and emails suddenly weren’t being returned. After about a half-dozen emails and another dozen or so voicemails, we got the message (even though we didn’t get the call). To this day, we never heard from this investor letting us know why he had changed his mind. If you’re out there, call me!

Lesson 3: Don’t ever stop meeting with prospects even if you feel you’ve found the right investors.  We lost two months because we took someone’s word and thought we had found our investor team.  

Lesson 4: Stay resilient; stay hopeful. The disappointments aside, there are investors who do what they say, send their checks as promised, and become key members of your team.  You can never tell where you are going to find them, but if you keep looking, you will find them. You must be confident even when inside you’re scared to death.  You must realize and plan for the fact that even though you need the money today, you’re not going to get it for a while. 

Lesson 5: Too many entrepreneurs get caught up in dilution. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be careful as you sell shares in your company, but rather, focus more on growing the overall size of the pie rather than how big your slice is.  I’ll never forget the advice Mr. Callaway gave me when I asked him about dilution, “It’s better to own one percent of Disney than 100 percent of Gatorland.”  

Getty Images

Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

Getty Images

Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

Getty Images

Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

Getty Images

Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.