Golf as a sport has been around for hundreds of years. But the game's future is in jeopardy due to a declining number of kids deciding to take up golf.
Sports are good for kids and golf is unique in that it offers kids and parents a host of benefits--many of which carry over into a child’s teenage years and into adulthood.
Given that most of you are not golfers yourselves, it’s understandable that the positive influences of golf would not be obvious. While you may not be parents yourselves, you are a child’s brother, sister, aunt or uncle so there is someone you care about who could benefit from being exposed to golf.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting more kids into golf is choice—parents have to decide to introduce their kids to golf or to allow them to play if they choose themselves. This choice is taken away from many families due to the costs associated with golf.
While there are great organizations like The First Tee who strive to make golf accessible to kids and to reduce costs to get on a golf course even these programs struggle to provide kids with properly fitted equipment. The cost of traditional golf equipment is one of the biggest obstacles to more families introducing their kids to golf. But it’s not the cost of a single set of clubs that’s the problem. If only it were that simple.
As kids grow, clubs need to get longer and heavier. If kids play with equipment that's too big or small, they develop bad habits. But to keep kids in properly sized clubs, parents have had no alternative but to buy entirely new sets of clubs each time their child grows as little as 3 inches.
It's only when you look at the cost of set after set of new clubs do you see the real problem. If a child starts playing at age 6 or 7, the cost of clubs grows to more than $2000--an expense many parents can't afford.
Twelve months ago Kickstarter, you helped launch GOLF WITHOUT OBSTACLES—DV8's revolutionary portable set of adult golf clubs that break down and travel in a backpack.
So we looked at our technology and realized we could apply it to junior equipment and we call this revolutionary solution EPEC™. Simply put, EPEC is an upgradeable junior golf system that grows with a child at a fraction of the cost of traditional equipment.
As kids grow, golf shafts need to grow with them. Until now, the only alternative was for parents to buy entirely new sets of clubs--hundreds of dollars in fact to add an inch or two to their child’s clubs. Seem silly? We thought, so especially when you consider that all shafts in most junior sets of clubs are the same shaft—just trimmed to different lengths..
EPEC solves that issue by relying on DV8’s patented quick-change coupler--the same proven technology powering our adult backpack product. The benefit of this technology for kids is that it allows parents to replace a single shaft instead of entire sets of clubs.
The problem could not be entirely solved by addressing shaft length only. A child’s club heads need to get heavier as well. So DV8 developed an entirely new iron head utilizing interchangeable weight modules.
With this patent-pending technology, parents simply remove existing weight modules and replace with a new [heavier] set. The whole process takes a few minutes with no more than a standard screwdriver.
With metal woods, head volume and loft change in addition to weight. So DV8 designed three new sets of heads that grow with kids compared to up to six for most other golf club manufacturers.
Since EPEC bags aren't carrying all those individually shafted clubs, it allowed us to produce only 2 sizes of bag--compared to the 8 to 9 sizes sold by leading competitors. Another significant cost savings!
When you add it all up, EPEC will save parents 50 percent or more compared to traditional golf equipment. This is not a pipe dream—this is a reality that could prove to be one of the most important innovations in golf in 20 years.
Saving parents lots of money will make the buying process pretty darn fun for them. But we also wanted to make it fun for kids as well.
So we designed an interactive retail display that kids stand in to get their wrist to floor measurement (selfie stick not included!). That gives them a number from 1 to 8 identifying their shaft and a cool icon they'll look for on packages of metal wood heads and iron weights.
The simplicity of this buying process will also benefit retailers since one of the biggest challenges in selling junior equipment is the number of stock keeping units (SKU) they have to carry to cover all the different sizes of kids. EPEC will reduce a retailers SKU count by as much as 70% leading to higher inventory turns and revenue dollars per square foot, all key retail metrics.
We are done with development and evaluation and are in the process of creating tools to make all these cool EPEC heads and shafts. First samples should roll off the line in August and we'll be starting production shortly thereafter,
We're still a small team at DV8 Sports but supported by lots of wonderful partners and vendors. A special shout-out to Chris Duncan, Bernie Asher, Mike Scola, Steve Slowick, Jamie Hyman and Patrick McCorkle. Without you guys we would not be here today!
When we met you a year ago Kickstarter, we asked you for money—money we needed to buy inventory and launch our DV8 adult backpack product. You give us the funds we needed plus something unexpected —market validation and awareness.
Because of you, we got write ups in influential magazines like Men's Journal, websites and blogs that we are still benefiting from today. Because of you, we gained retail distribution and interest from golfers all over the globe. But we need your help again.
EPEC is disruptive to traditional manufacturers who spend millions in R&D and advertising and pay for it in part by selling parents set after set of new clubs. This technology needs to get into the market to help the most families and kids and only a company like DV8 Sports would launch technology like this. But more importantly, only a community like Kickstarter has the voice to make it known to so many people so fast. Even though most of you don’t golf, pledge for your kids, your brothers kids or the kids of a family you don’t even know. Pledge to help DV8 Sports create the next generation of responsible adults.
On a closing note, I just have to be a doting parent for one moment and describe what golf did for my son. To the left is my son Matthew with me on the golf course at age 7. On the right is a few weeks ago as he was graduating high school (with a few more teeth and a few less freckles).
Now of course, kids can turn out great whether they play golf or not. All we can do as parents is give our kids opportunities to learn and grow into caring and responsible people. Golf absolutely increases the chances of that happening. So give someone you love the gift of golf and watch what it can do. You won't be disappointed.
Risks and challenges
As EPEC moves into full production later this summer, there is risk that first articles off the line may not be perfect. That risk exists in any new product launch and in fact, we experienced it with DV8 Kickstarter deliveries.
We learned from this however and have stationed our own people at the factory to work closely with our partners to mitigate this risk as much as possible. Something else working in our favor is that the heart of the EPEC system, our patented quick-change coupler, is already in production as part of the DV8 adult backpack product. We will do everything in our power to make sure we meet our committed delivery schedule and hopefully, beat it. We want lots of EPEC golf sets under Christmas trees this year!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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