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$1,594
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
45
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, November 14 2013 4:00 PM UTC +00:00
$1,594
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
45
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, November 14 2013 4:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

Ben Crane showing some love!  Thanks Ben!
Ben Crane showing some love! Thanks Ben!

Hello Kickstarters, 

I had an epiphany that, with a good design, there should be room to tuck a divot tool and ball marker into a belt buckle. When I'm golfing and need one or the other tool, inevitably, it is always in my other pocket. I realized that I can solve this bother by having these tools secured in a unique way, hidden in a low-profile, stylish belt buckle. I sketched out the idea, and revised the design until I was happy with it (Fig. 1). I hooked up with a talented mechanical engineer, Tim Decker, on Reddit. He helped me translate my drawings into a CAD design so that I could have draft prototypes made.

Figure 1. Original sketch.
Figure 1. Original sketch.

We experimented with the shape, dimensions, and securing mechanism a bit and decided on gentle curves, simple lines, and an apt magnet securing system for the final first-generation On the Green Golf (OTGG) buckle. We had several prototypes made in aluminum (Fig. 2; demo shown in video) to work out these details. The design is now patent approved!  The product for market will be higher quality metal (zinc alloy steel), rather than aluminum; so it will have smooth surfaces and excellent durability. 

Figure 2. EOTG golf buckle prototype.
Figure 2. EOTG golf buckle prototype.

My wife and I traveled to Shenzhen, China last October for work (teaching scientific writing to graduate students). We shared my plans with Professor Kunmei Ji, our host and long-time business associate, who designed and patented a number of technical instruments in China. He was delighted with the idea and became our feet on the ground in China upon our return home. After considering several manufacturing quotes, and reviewing the capabilities and processes of quoting manufacturers, we have now developed a manufacturing plan with a credible and established manufacturing company in Guangdong province (Dongguan Juhong Hardware Products Co., Ltd. [DJHP]; 3rd-year Gold Supplier rating on Alibaba, passed A&V and onsite verification checks; SGS certified). The buckles will be manufactured with metal injection molding (MIM), a metalworking process whereby finely-powdered metal is mixed with a binder material enabling it to be manipulated like a plastic. MIM allows complex and finely detailed parts to be shaped in a single operation, making it cost-effective for small products with a precise/intricate design. We have determined the cost of producing the injection mold, mold performance testing, and producing buckles in bulk by MIM (the three major production steps). The mold will be tested on a micro-production scale and revised if/as needed before buckles are produced in quantity. Materials procurement, MIM, packaging, and shipping will be coordinated by Avery Vincent at DJHP under the external quality supervision of our associate Dr. Ji. I will personally receive shipments from China, confirm quality, and move along for distribution (see below).  

We (my brother Curtis Smith and I) will be showing the buckle to the golf product/apparel industry in the Inventors Spotlight Zone at January's PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando (application accepted and fees paid already). This placement will enable 40,000+ golf merchandise professionals to check out the buckle! I could show my prototypes, but hopefully, with your help, I'll be able to show the real finished product. This spotlight will enable us to make direct connections with distributors of all scopes (i.e. tournament executives, golf course shop managers, retail buyers, wholesale distributors). We will collect information from interested sellers/distributors at the show and follow up with them.

Our primary goal will be to first manufacture a classic black buckle. If we can raise sufficient funds, we can launch batches of buckles in other color schemes as well as produce a second smaller mold to produce a smaller version of the buckle ladies and juniors. My dream is to see school teams out there in their matching On the Green Golf buckles representing their school colors. Seeing a Pro wear it winning the green jacket would be pretty nice too!

The OTGG buckle is  an elegant way to meet the golfer's need to keep the golf tools handy. You--or your loved one by gift if you are not a golfer yourself--can be among the first to own this innovative design, 

Thank you for your support.

- Colin

Risks and challenges

I have high expectations for the quality of the buckle: fine materials and a favorable weight. The manufacturer knows my standards. I will not accept anything less than a beautiful, high-quality buckle. I have chosen a manufacturer with extensive experience making a variety of belt buckles and other fine hardware products to ensure that we can obtain a product will meet my specifications. If the mold needs to be revised or redone to do so, there could be a delay. Importantly, we have a local independent quality control point person in China. As with any start-up product, there is the challenge of broader sales and distribution. Our primary strategy is to develop direct contacts with golf product-specialized sellers and distributors on all levels through our initial reveal in the Inventor's Spotlight Zone at the PGA golf merchandise show. Our secondary strategy is to offer a favorable retail margins to golf course shops directly, starting from the southwest US (southern Nevada, southern California, Arizona, and Utah). I'll keep everyone who supports the buckle in the loop 100% of the way.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thank you for your support.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    I'll send you the Ent on the Green ball marker, along with a sticker. You also get everything in reward #1.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    I'll send you the Ent on the Green ball marker and divot tool, along with a sticker.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Early supporter limited edition special: Ent on the Green buckle with the marker and divot tool. A certificate of authenticity (you can frame if you're so inclined), and a sticker.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    You get an Ent on the Green buckle with ball marker and divot tool, and a sticker. Buy in multiples for your team or gift bags.
    Thank you so much!

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Funding period

- (30 days)