I receive hundreds of products per year and I do my best to review the ones I feel are worthy of some airtime. Rather than posting negative reviews of the not-so good products, I choose radio silence. I received such a product last week.
A few days after I received the product I got an email from the inventor, excitedly asking me if I received it yet. At that point I did something I’ve never done before. I sent a come-to-Jesus-moment letter to the inventor. I held no punches and gave my honest and critical opinion of the product (which I will not name) in the hopes that I might keep someone I’ve never met from blowing his life savings on patent attorneys and making 50,000 units in China, only to end up years later bankrupt with 49,995 units in his garage.
What’s this product? It is one of which I’ve seen countless versions. I’ve got around eight of them. Make it nine now. This invention is a “club stand.” It is made typically from one piece of metal, bent so that a club can lean against it. See the photos.
My only use for something like this is to give it to the wife and let her use it to hold up her tomato plants in the garden. No serious golfer will ever use this and I’d bet a round of golf and drinks at Pebble Beach that none of the big box golf chain stores like Dicks or Golf Galaxy would carry one.
Golf Entrepreneur 101
I hate to be such a party-pooper, but before you golf inventors invent the next club stand, a.k.a. piece of bent metal, look on ebay. There are dozens of them and they’re selling for as little as five bucks. If you want to compete with five dollar products on ebay, be my guest. I bet jabbing yourself in the eye with your invention would be more fun though.
The first thing you should do as a golf inventor or product entrepreneur is determine if there’s a demand for the product. And don’t ask your friends. They’ll all tell you how great it is, the same way they’ll say your ugly baby with the three eyes and warts is the most beautiful baby in the world.
Do real research. Do some blind product polling and testing. It will cost money. It will be worth it.
Then you should see if there are other products like it in the market. The golf market is flooded with bent pieces of metal which nobody will use for standing up clubs. Just look at the pictures I found of said bent pieces of metal after browsing the interwebs for about 10 minutes.
Why am I being so harsh right now? I personally know golf entrepreneurs who have lost their entire life savings and even lost their families because they sank all their dough into their products. Some of these are actually very good and high quality products.
The golf industry is tough. Even the good inventions seldom break through to the big time. I have firsthand experience in trying to get the Dicks Sporting Goods of the world to carry a great golf product and it is quite difficult and discouraging.
Please golf entrepreneurs, before you spend years of your life developing your product, then dump thousands of dollars into patent research and prototyping, then blow money on crappy Chinese manufacturing, step back and look what you’re doing. I want to make sure you’ve done your homework and are sure this will succeed. Then you can send me one for review. If it is useful, I’ll write about it.
Until then, stick with the day job.