If you are an avid golfer, you’ll like this product. If you are an entrepreneur, you’ll be inspired and encouraged by Kelly Curry. Kelly is the inventory of a product called the Swingnature, a golf swing training tool. Kelly’s story is almost a text book case study in what happens when you have a brilliant ‘kid’, some great programs in both the government and the university environment, rounded out with raw entrepreneurial drive.
Kelly’s story begins when accidently left on a lifeboat in the Atlantic at age 3, he made his way to Canada. Okay, not exactly. The more reality based version:
As an engineering student, he reads an article about golf and the correlation to getting business done while on the course. He learns the game, gets nuts about it and, while watching a golf pro do some warm-up exercises, gets a brilliant idea. He heads down the the hardware store and builds what’s in his head. You can read the more polished version of the story here, but that’s essentially how the company got started.
Kelly got into McMaster University’s Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. This is an excellent program where the students arrive with a great product and the school teaches the business aspects of running a company along with getting more engineering brains wrapped around the product itself. It is an amazing program.
The Canadian Government stepped up with $60,000 in grant money, and off we go.
But beyond the great educational program and the seed funding, you have two things at the center of all this; a great product and an outstanding entrepreneur. Consider all the things that followed.
- Kelly rounded up some golf professionals and trainers to check out, love, then endorse his product. This includes a guy by the name of Hank Haney (yes, that Hank Haney, Tiger was a student).
- Kelly got Golf Town to sell the product at all their retail outlets and through the online store.
- Kelly is effectively using the internet by having a web portal with training exercises, videos, etc, for the customers of the product. It’s nicely done and focuses on post sale; i.e. making sure the customer can get the most out of the product through tracking progress, etc. This leads to happier golfers which hopefully are better golfers that turns into rabid fans recommending the product to anyone with a pulse.
- Kelly has won other entrepreneur competitions as well as raised additional capital.
And Kelly will probably have his “TV Show” (aka infomercial) on the Golf Chanel within weeks. Hundreds of the product are already in customer’s hands and the orders keep rolling in.
Finally, the product is made completely in Canada. Burlington, Ontario to be exact. If you are an entrepreneur, you can do yourself a favor by chasing down Kelly, buying him a Tim Horton’s coffee and get the story first hand. I suspect you’ll get some good insight and inspiration from somebody who is doing an amazing job.
Better still, get him out on the golf course. Well done, Kelly.