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Kerry Moher, the founder of Red Rooster premium golf gloves, was at a day-long workshop at a golf course in Ottawa earlier this year when he got the news. Stepping out of meetings briefly, he saw his phone had “exploded” with missed calls and text messages. His immediate thought: what’s gone wrong? Clearly there had to be some kind of production, supply or shipping snafu.
Concern turned to surprise and satisfaction when Moher called the office.
Sales were skyrocketing.
As it turned out, the one-year-old, direct-to-consumer company had just claimed the top two spots in MyGolfSpy’s “Best Performance Golf Gloves 2022” review. The Cape model was the undisputed winner, topping a lineup of 30 gloves by finishing first in comfort and grip, and second in fit and feel. If that wasn’t enough, the brand’s Range Rooster model earned the No. 2 spot overall, beating out other well-known industry names.
“Those were not two of our more popular gloves, but ever since they’ve been our 1-2 sellers by a country mile. There’s not an order that doesn’t have one,” says Moher, who just a year ago kickstarted the company with professional golfer Brad Fritsch, a longtime friend and fellow Canadian. “They’re selling like hotcakes. The (MyGolfSpy) audience is the kind that gives reviews and feedback. Not only do they buy things that have been vetted, but they’re incredibly responsive. The really special thing is that this helped validate our early supporters. There’s a sense of pride.”
Red Rooster is among a range of smaller, newer brands that have gotten a breakthrough bump from MyGolfSpy, which is in essence the Consumer Reports for golf when it comes to equipment, apparel, accessories and more. The popular website is up to about 17 million unique readers annually, building a loyal and passionate following in one of the nation’s leading participation sports. It doesn’t hurt that this participant pool is driven by the unending pursuit of improvement.
New Level (clubs), Vessel (bags) and Payntr (shoes) have also experienced the MyGolfSpy lift in 2022, their big breaks made possible by a platform that prizes merit over marketing.
New Level’s 623-CB forged irons topped the Most Wanted Player’s Irons category, edging out well-known names like PING, Callaway and Titleist. Website visits immediately jumped and the company pulled in more revenue in a single month than its dealers produced in all of 2020.
When Vessel’s Players III DXR was tabbed as the best overall golf bag of 2022, the company sold out its inventory in 29 days following the review and immediately realized the single-biggest revenue month in the company’s history, up 134% over the previous year.
Payntr set revenue records in the day, weekend and month after its 002X was selected as the best spikeless golf shoe. Its inventory was gone within five days after the review, which also saw its 003X model place third, just behind one of the game’s biggest names in FootJoy. It was “huge” recognition for a new brand, said co-founder and president Mike Forsey.
“Big picture, it validates why we created the Payntr Golf brand – to deliver golfers a performance enhancing advantage through our footwear technology,” Forsey said. “More specifically, because of the unbiased and data-driven method MyGolfSpy employs, it shows us we can compete against the established big boys in golf footwear when the playing field is level.”
That last point is precisely why Adam Beach founded the MyGolfSpy website more than a decade ago. Deep equipment debates in forums and chat rooms gave rise to a facility dedicated to independent and rigorous testing of all equipment golfers buy (shafts, heads, grips, putters, balls, etc.) as well as playing practices (lines on golf balls, hot versus cold golf balls, putting with the flagstick in or out, and so on). For 12 hours a day, MyGolfSpy has hundreds of golfers coming through its facility to test products. Protocols are stringent, variables are reduced and statistical significance is critical.
“We needed to create a platform that was about performance and not marketing, pure and simple. I wanted to flip it on its head,” says Beach, who originally started one of the first golf commerce sites on the internet in the late 1990’s before selling and starting MyGolfSpy. “I wanted to make the cream of the crop rise to the top and all the other bullshit that had been peddled to golfers for decades go away. Somebody needed to clean this up and say, ‘Alright, what exactly is worth my money?’”
Looking beyond this year, it’s clear that recognition for some has meant the difference between toiling in obscurity and being thrust into relevance.
When Snell was introduced broadly to MyGolfSpy’s readers in the company’s first ball report, Snell’s website crashed because of order volume. Evnroll immediately generated $2 million in revenue after its putters were honored and has pulled in more than $20 million in total. Precision Pro saw a major surge for its distance measuring devices after one of its rangefinders got a “best bang for the buck” nod.
“Some of these people make the best products in the world, but no one had ever heard of them, and no one would have ever heard of them if it wasn’t for a platform similar to MyGolfSpy that leveled the playing field,” Beach said. “Those companies could not afford to put their name in front of people, serious golfers, 365 days a year, and keep their name on the tip of golfers’ tongues without going bankrupt because it was too damn expensive to buy ads.”
Consider that just over a year ago, Red Rooster was just launching its Kickstarter campaign to fund its direct-to-consumer, subscription golf glove model. But Moher and the Red Rooster team weren’t cutting any corners to get their business off the ground, initially meeting with more than a dozen factories in Indonesia. As Moher says, they weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel (or golf glove), but differentiate where they could, especially with the quality of the leather and the stitching process. That meant challenging and changing long-held practices in some instances.
“There are so many things we can put our stamp on with a glove in terms of fit and style,” adds Moher.
And when it comes to the MyGolfSpy evaluation of efforts like these, the equation, ultimately, is relatively straightforward.
“The thing you’re getting ready to buy: Does it help your game or hurt your game?” Beach says. “Simple as that.”