Behind the Golf Brand Podcast with Paul Liberatore

#70 - Cut Golf Balls: Sam Uisprapassorn (Founder)

April 01, 2022 Paul Liberatore Season 3 Episode 70
Behind the Golf Brand Podcast with Paul Liberatore
#70 - Cut Golf Balls: Sam Uisprapassorn (Founder)
Show Notes Transcript

We made it to Episode 70 of the Behind the Golf Brand Podcast.  In this week's episode, I interview my good friend Sam Uisprapassorn, founder of Cut Golf Balls. 

Founded in 2016, Cut Golf was born from one man's rising frustration with the ridiculous cost of quality golf balls. Tired of losing one expensive golf ball after another, I decided that there had to be a better way to purchase quality golf balls at a reasonable price. Thus began my pursuit of the best damn golf ball under 20 bucks.

Cut Golf is a group of guys who believe that high quality golf balls don't need to be expensive. Through extensive robotic and real world Trackman testing, we developed our line-up with all types of golfers in mind. By pairing our quality product with an efficient business model, we are able to offer savings without compromising performance. Cut truly offers a ball for all skill levels and budgets. A ball for the people.

Just like you, we are passionate golfers, looking to save some dough and enjoy our time on the course. We hope to share our passion with you guys. It's time to Cut the Crap and start getting quality performance for less.

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Speaker 1:

Today we play golf.

Speaker 2:

Let me show you how we do it in the pros.

Speaker 3:

Yeah . Welcome to behind the golf brand podcast. I never missed with the seven iron a conversation with some of the most interesting innovators and entrepreneurs behind the biggest names in golf.

Speaker 4:

My friends were the golf clubs. I lived on the golf course. I lived on the driving range

Speaker 3:

From pro. You should

Speaker 5:

Learn something from each and every single round

Speaker 3:

You play to fun from on and off the green.

Speaker 6:

Why would you play golf? You don't play it for money. Just

Speaker 3:

Let me put the ball in a hole. This is behind the golf brand podcast with Paul liberatory.

Speaker 7:

What's up guys, Paul from golfers authority, and welcome to the behind the golf brand gas . This week. We're in episode 70. I can't believe it hit 70 already. It's been a great year and a half, and I'm really happy to have you guys all along with the journey this week. I have my friend Sam, we prop AORN , the CEO of cut golf balls. This is like the third try. We tried doing this because every time Sam and I start talking, we talk for like an hour and a half. And then we're like, we can't do it today, but Sam's a good friend of mine. You guys heard a cut. They make amazing balls. Um, so today we're gonna talk to Sam and find out what they're up to and kind of Sam's story. And so welcome to the show, Sam,

Speaker 8:

Hey, thanks for having me on Paul. Good to finally pull this one up .

Speaker 7:

We're actually recording this time.

Speaker 8:

We're actually recording this time.

Speaker 7:

Like you guys don't understand. We started this. When did we start this? Like probably

Speaker 8:

Oh, easily, like over a year ago. Easily.

Speaker 7:

Yeah , it has to be. Yeah , like for reals , I bet it's been like a year. It was funny. Cuz the first time I had tried having him on the show, like we were just like, we totally hit it off. Like we talked for two hours and we're like, oh, we're not gonna record this today. And then we tried again this fall and then that didn't happen. And then we tried three weeks and then we talked for an hour and a half about offroading and jeeping and getting together. And then I finally said today, we have to do it today. So I don't know . I'm pretty stoked to have you actually doing this. You're not a pro. Right? Are you a golf pro? Nope. You just like this ? I'm

Speaker 8:

I ? Yeah. I'm the furthest thing from a golf pro.

Speaker 7:

Yeah, we all are are so where are you at right now? Like where are you guys located?

Speaker 8:

So we are located in Costa Mesa, California. So we're pretty much like an hour south of LA. And about another hour north of, of the San Diego area,

Speaker 7:

You're like dead middle, right? Like ,

Speaker 8:

Yeah. I mean we're yeah, so pretty much we're, we're pretty much right at the heart of , uh , the golf industry, you know, geographically speaking.

Speaker 7:

So are you close to orange county? Is that part of orange county?

Speaker 8:

No . Yeah. We're in orange county.

Speaker 7:

Oh, okay. That's cool. Yeah . We're gonna play a little game. It's called why'd you start cut obviously before we get to that, let's start this. So what is your background like, are you obviously, you're not a professional golfer and I mean like when did you first start playing golf? Did you play golf with your dad or your mom or like how'd you kind of get into it?

Speaker 8:

I think essentially it has a lot to do with, with tiger woods. Right? Um, I , I was a, what junior senior in high school , uh , when tiger was really making his debut. And I think just like any kid, you know, in their , those late teenage years, they were like, oh cool. A golfer that, that looks athletic, you know, maybe looks not, looks like me, but looks like it's to me . I think that really caught my attention. Right. It doesn't hurt that Tiger's half tie just like I am. So I think that that was also a , you know, something that, that drew me in, but I mean, I think the , you know, to be at that age and see the success that that tiger was having see now is , is just so dominant. That just sucked me in and you know, from the it , you know, I , I played golf recreationally, you know, through, through those years and then went off to college and the clubs, you know, just sat most likely my parents' garage collecting dust. And then, you know, you go through your mid, late twenties and then you, you know, meet a girl and your like , oh yeah, I'm gonna get married. And you know, her dad played golf. I, you know, he is like, Hey, come on out. And you know, I think that kind of rekindled the game for me, you know? And then the rest is kind of history.

Speaker 7:

So did you play in high school? Like just recreationally and whatever?

Speaker 8:

Yeah, yeah, yeah .

Speaker 7:

Everybody.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Just like go out there, have some fun. I mean, I grew up playing hockey. I grew up playing soccer. Those are like the two main sports that I grew up playing and that I still, you know, at least on the hockey front, still some have some involvement with, to this day. And I I'm an avid soccer fan as well, but I didn't play like organized golf in, in those years.

Speaker 7:

Where'd you go college at USC?

Speaker 8:

Oh no.

Speaker 7:

Um , I know it's your wife . I'm just messing with you. It's

Speaker 8:

It's my wife's. And I remind her and sorry, all the Trojans out there. I didn't have to pay to get into my school, so I might get kicked out of bed for like the next week for saying that, but , uh ,

Speaker 7:

That's all right . You're married.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Might be worth it. I did not go to USC. I went to , I went to Chapman university, so it's , uh , it's just right up the road from us here , uh , out of the Costa Mesa area and great place to go to school was a public relations advertising major. And now I coach our hockey team at Chapman university.

Speaker 7:

Really? Oh , that's cool. Yeah. Good to , did you play hockey then growing up? Was that your sport, like in , when you started playing hockey ? Yeah,

Speaker 8:

I played, I started playing hockey from the age of 10 once again, you know, really driven by Wayne Gretsky , coming to the Kings. And you know, that , I think that got a lot of guys, you know, kids my age, you know, into the sport and you know, it's just amazing to see how big hockey has become out here in the Southwest. You know, even in your neck of the woods.

Speaker 7:

Like I played baseball until like seventh, eighth grade, and then I started playing like roller hockey. Right. And I couldn't skate with a crap. And then I started playing ice hockey and I literally fell in love with the sport probably more than any other sport I ever played in my entire life. And that was all because of Wayne Gretsky too. Cause I was like a huge, huge fan of his so much so true story. I , in eighth grade we had to do a book report. Right. And so I did and had to be like an autobiography. So I did on Wayne Gretsky . And so I read the book, did the book report and in , in the book he goes, you know, my weekends are spent true story. My weekends are my wife and I are , uh , sending a fan mail back to our fans. Right. Like when people send letters in , I was like, oh , I'm gonna send a letter to Wayne Gretsky. So I was in eighth grade and I sent a letter to Wayne Gretsky with a hockey card and saying, you know , I'm a big fan, blah, blah, blah. Would you , um , sign my hockey card? No crap dude. Nine months later I get a letter in the mail from the great Western forum. And I knew right away, cuz like all you have for people like, you know , the Kings used to play was a great Western forum. And so I was like, no fricking way and sure enough, dude, I gotta sign Winrey card. He signed it and sent it back. And I was like, I will never forget that. I still have it. It's like my treasured prize item. And I love like seriously Wayne Greski is like the like he's the coolest dude ever. Sorry .

Speaker 8:

A few years back. I was at the staple center. This was pred. So I was sitting in my seat, my and , and one of my best friends was next to me. And then Paulina, Janet and Wayne were the three seats next to us. Let's say my buddy had a pump, a whole lot of whiskey into me that night. Cause I was just, just freaking out , uh , everyone else . So did you get a picture autograph ? And I'm like, no, I just let the man be. I'm not even gonna bother him .

Speaker 7:

Forget I it all over that in like two seconds.

Speaker 8:

No,

Speaker 7:

I just , I love him. Like you understand like cuz when I was a kid, right, there was no hockey in Arizona back then we had three ice shrinks in the whole state. Like there was no, there was pre uh , coyotes. Right. And so like my cousin played hockey for the Phoenix road runners. Right. That was like , okay , we're doing hockey trivia time. So like that was like the farm team for the Kings. Right. Right. And so I would go to hockey and they played at the Phoenix Memorial Coliseum , which is like the biggest hole on the planet. And I used to love going to those games. It was fun. Like I , I still remember all the IHL teams. And so I remember when I was a kid, I just take dates there. Like you wanna look like the, that's what you do. Like, you know, you go out there and then after what happened after the game, they let you skid on the ice. Right. So I take dates on the ice. Like after the game I'm like, oh you're so cool. And I'm like, it was like three bucks. Like it wasn't that big of a deal. Like this place sucks. But um, and then one I was there. Who was the coach for the Kings back then? What was his name?

Speaker 8:

Barry Melrose.

Speaker 7:

Sherry . Mary Melrose. Right. So we were at a game one night and this was during the NHL lockout or whatever. It was in like 95, 96. And I'm like, oh my God, Barry Melrose over there. And like he was sitting by himself watching again . Cause he had nothing to do. Probably this was before he was a sportscaster. And so like I walked into him , I'm like , Hey Mr . I go Melrose. I'm like big fan. So I'm like, I didn't that's for an autograph or a picture. There's like pre cameras , like this is old . This was so then I was like, so I like shook his hand. I was like, I , I love hockey stuff. I would I'll geek out all day long at old hockey players. He like all day long. There's no story. So then like now, like , you know , I had Stefan yell on the show. Right. And so cuz he's one of the owners of uh , a line pro . And so like I talk to him all the time and the stories he tells, like he talks so much crap too , but it's like, he like knows everybody. Cause like the N H L P a has these golf tournament here in Phoenix. And like everybody from back on the day shows up. Right? Like already Macor and you know, Neil Bratton and Mike Madon and like all the nineties players that I ever remember. I , I can tell you anybody nowadays I have no idea, but back then I can tell every guy I tall kicking out . Sorry.

Speaker 8:

But no, it's, I'll share something if , since it has to do with the brand. I don't know if I didn't have the, I, I, I coach now because it's me giving back to the game. Right? Cuz I believe this game gave me so much. It , it like, it, it made me the person that I am, whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, sometimes I , I kind of wonder cuz it makes you, it makes you a, well , it just makes you persistent. You know what I mean? Like it like nothing . I , I mean who, who decides to start a golf ball brand and get out bed every morning and go compete against Callaway, Titleist , tailor , et cetera . You know that you gotta have half a , screw's gotta be loose. Right. You know? Um, I I'll tie this back into the hockey thing in sec . But like I was the , seen a podcast one day and, and it was about founders and all of that. And then they said, you know, this

Speaker 7:

Guy , was it behind the golf brand?

Speaker 8:

It wasn't, it like an NPR one or something. And this guy was on there talking about how founders are, are irrational people. And I was like, what the hell is this guy talking about? I rational I'm I'm I'm the most rational. And I was like, whoa , find not a second. That yeah, what you've done is completely irrational. Right?

Speaker 7:

So it's , it's , it's not the normal course. People would never in a million years do what you do and do what I do. They would like to do it, but it's not safe. It's not comfortable. Right. Like that's just, people will , it's hard. It's scary. It's I don't know. It's it's fun. It's exciting.

Speaker 8:

It's everything you just said.

Speaker 7:

I love, that's why I love doing the podcast because when I talk to you guys like you and all the guys found on the show, it's like, it's the same thread goes through all of us. Right. It's like, we're crazy. Like we would not. Why ? Like , why would you be writing articles on the weekend when you can go play golf for when you could do whatever else I'm like , that's fun. Like, it's fun. Like this is, I don't know .

Speaker 8:

It's I think it's the challenge, right? Like you gotta figure this out. I mean like, especially

Speaker 7:

It's game, it's like a very complex game.

Speaker 8:

Well, especially in like your space, because you're, you're also competing against some behemoths, right?

Speaker 7:

Oh yeah. All day long. They're hardest. I mean, yeah. I know what competitors are. Their name competitors are so big.

Speaker 8:

Right? Well, I mean, but you got like massive media companies behind a lot of your competitors, right. That have these resources to you

Speaker 7:

Produce yeah. Magazines that came from whatever billions of dollars. It's all. It's one big investment. Yeah. Well , same thing with you. I mean seriously, who starts a golf ball company? Like for reals, like you were like one of the first to actually do that. Like vice was first, right. Like doing direct to consumer and all that, but like, and mean there , I went to, I went to PGA superstores weekend and I was looking at the balls. Right. I haven't looked at balls for a long time because I just work with certain brands. I get free balls, you know, I don't really look around. But then I realized like, oh my God, there's so many new ball brands out in the market. And like, or the old ones are just copying each other. Right. Like, oh now there's all these different colors that never exists . I , and I'm like, oh , I've seen that before. Cut did that four years ago. If I did that, you know, it's like, it's as funny, but so back to hockey though. So you think hockey's helped what's instilled what you did moving forward in life?

Speaker 8:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I would tell you it's it , I

Speaker 7:

Three minutes of in insane D on the eyes and then coming back and like trying to catch your breath.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. I mean, look and I , I played at a high level growing up. I never, you know, I played junior level hockey. Um, I never cracked like minor leagues or the pros or anything like that. So I'm not, I'm not going to get a posture and , and say that I did anything along those lines. You know , there's something to be said for that. It's a requirement to keep your head up. It's a requirement to, you know, beat your opponent, be first of the puck and you gotta give everything you got for those 45 to 50 seconds that you're on the ice. Um, and you know, there's a lot of moments where that game will really challenge you. Now I will say one thing to, to be fair to our audience and be fair to golfers. Golf has to be the most brutal sport I've ever freaking played by way of this muscle. The one that I'm pointing at. Right. I mean, I, I dabbled in playing some competitive golf. I , I did the golf channel amp tour . Right. And I remember I'd had rounds where I would just get my teeth kicked in and you go back to your car and you sit in your car and you're like, holy. I just blew that one up. I , I just shot a one 10 and I,

Speaker 7:

I like my normal shot , my normal score

Speaker 8:

It , but I'm like, I just shot a 110, like that's crazy. And you're like, you have no teammates around you. You have no coach, you know, kind of like either kind of like, kind of like lightly dusting you off and picking you up. And you're just there by yourself. And that was a really interesting parallel to that. I kind of came across when I, when I got into playing competitive golf and quite frankly, it , it was almost like not fun anymore playing the game. Right. But yeah, I mean, hockey's a game where you just gotta go out, shift in, shift out and compete to the best of your ability. You gotta go out there hurt sometimes. Like I said, I didn't even compete at that high , the highest of levels.

Speaker 7:

Okay. So I know a lot about Sam , cause we've talked like we've had four shows essentially together that were never recorded. Um, so you go to chat , man , you're at a marketing degree. This is crazy stories you guys. So like, what was your first like what , like, this is not his world. Right. So what was your job out of college? Like what were you doing? And you know where I'm going with this? Cause this is crazy.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. So actually I did that before I went to Chapman really?

Speaker 7:

Oh, I thought it was after . Yeah ,

Speaker 8:

No. You talking about the music industry.

Speaker 7:

Yeah.

Speaker 8:

You know, I , I basically cut my teeth and learned what I

Speaker 7:

Did in high school. Right. It was in high school, like

Speaker 8:

Pretty, pretty much. Like I was , I was a junior in high school and I started working with bands out here in orange county. And at that point we were at the peak of the coolness factor of orange county. It was like, no doubt was off the charts at that for it Soli real big fish . I mean just, it was like , oh my

Speaker 7:

God , real big fish . I remember that.

Speaker 8:

Yeah . So, and it was like a big, giant scene out here and I couldn't play an instrument to sing my , save my life. I'm definitely not gonna get up and be a lead man in a band. So that's not my thing, but I'm like, well, I wanna like contribute. I wanna be part to this. And then I , you know, I , my best friend at the time , uh , he was in a band and I'm like, Hey, let me like help you get some shows. And he is like, right . And didn't think anything of it and started helping him out and helping those guys out. And then like kind of started progressing on up the ladder. And by the time I was 19 year , years old, I had a job in the record industry

Speaker 7:

And like doing what, like, what were you doing

Speaker 8:

That I was an independent,

Speaker 7:

Like a and R or whatever, or they call it.

Speaker 8:

I , well, that , that , that comes next. Um, so, so I, you know, like I , I break into the music in show . I was like, all 18, 19 years old, I had this like little B gave me like little tiny shoebox office and like the old rec , like, you know , this old, like storage closet. And I just, I was the guy that ran our street teams, you know, like the , you know , that sat out , remember the people that sat outside , uh , concert venues

Speaker 7:

And out give you like flyers at the end of it saying, cool , moves nos one .

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Or they'd give you like the sampler tape to like listen to some new band. I'm the guy that managed all that stuff. So I had like this little army of like, I think it was like something like 200 kids across the country that would, that I just would manage all day long. And then after that, I was able to start kinda climbing some of the rungs and ended up working a place called Interscope gin , a and M you know, I spent, what

Speaker 7:

Year was that few

Speaker 8:

That was around 99 , 2000. And I left somewhere around 2002, I believe. Um, and I, I basically just broke in and became like, essentially I was, I was low man on a totem pole, basically making minimum wage and being like essentially a glorified gopher. Right. So being like an as like, you're pretty much an assistant slash intern slash like, you're going around picking up lunch and laundry and all that sort of. Right. And I was just having this discussion with my wife the other day. I'm like, personally, that's like the, that is the best training ground I ever had for what would for life. It's a good, yeah. But at the same time, I mean, that was a place where there's like, no. Right. I mean, it was like, come to work, you get your stuff done. You have a lot of fun along the way, but you still get your stuff done. Right. And the Interscope had a very distinct culture where it was, I remember like, there's like this legendary story that the phones went down one day in the building. And this is like, remember there were no iPhones back then. Um, and there's like this legendary, a story that like, everyone just went outside and started, you know, like working off their phones. Like there was no like, oh, we're gonna go take an early lunch or like this, that or the other. And the result was, I don't know. I mean, look, how many look , how many successful artists came outta that place? And

Speaker 7:

Yeah , like start naming, start naming the artists that were there at that time. Cause this is a big deal. This is not like Ely crappy.

Speaker 8:

Right. So it's the , it was the home note at that point. It was no doubt Bush . I'll never forget. So the black IPS were like one of the new up and coming bands, but they weren't the black IP that we, we would then later get to know. I remember watching, will I , um , sitting at a desk next to me, packing his own records into mailers to service service the press, because that's what you had to do. Right? Like it was all always, you were always hustling. Even the artists were

Speaker 7:

Hustling, hustler, hustlers , hustler, hustle , hustle .

Speaker 8:

Yeah. So it's like limp biscuit . That plaque behind me is for bloodhound gang. I worked on a ,

Speaker 7:

I'm a guy that love bloodhound gang. Yeah. Holy crap .

Speaker 8:

Super nice group of guys now. I mean, I I'm in the corporate world and there's days where I'm like you , these people would never last a day at Interscope . Like they would just, there's just no place for you here. Like, you

Speaker 7:

Know, there's no time for you get outta here.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Cuz I mean, look, I mean, we've, we've gotten to a place where, you know, and I I'm guilty of doing this, a cut where we, we look at certain like trends, market conditions. And we like, I sit there and pour over a Callaway and uh , huge net , you know, quarterly earnings report. I'm like, oh I think the market's gonna go here. Well, yeah, that's great when you're sitting up there in your little ivory tower, but then there's like the practical side of things that will really kick in. Right? Like did you know the price of Sulin is most likely gonna go up? Oh what about the ocean freight? It's gonna cost to bring your golf ball

Speaker 7:

To the point you start getting the reeds, then you don't get to , it's not like you're running a company at that point. It's like, like last night, like we went to taco bell, which I never be taco bell. Right. But it was after my son lacrosse practice. And so I'm like , you hungry HES, like I'm starving. I'm like , oh , taco bell. And I watched the guy, this is , this is on point. Right. I watched the guy fill in the soda and like taco bell for all people out there. Like if you say I want a large drink, like they have buttons for like the amount of ice cubes that are gonna be in a cup. Like I'd never seen that before. I didn't even know that was even a thing . I know like, oh, you're a medium, you're a two . And it gives you the exact amount of ice. Like they have all that down to the penny. Right. Cause I was trying to spend my son. I'm like, oh yeah, probably. Cause they give you too much ice. Then they lose money on the water. And like who knows God , whatever. It's like, so micromanaged, not like, oh here's your soda, right? Like,

Speaker 8:

Yeah. The waste like even a cut. I , I mean, waste will drive me bananas.

Speaker 7:

What's lost money. Like I it's all it is .

Speaker 8:

Well, yeah. But like how do I say this? Cuz I'm trying to be fair. Cause we we've always had a good group of guys that have , have worked with us here. And I really appreciate them. But like there's moments where I'll see things done where I'm like, Ooh

Speaker 7:

Yeah, I got half open pack of walls . And you're like, oh I can't sell that now. Thanks a lot.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Things like, yeah. Things along those and you know what I don't fault 'em cuz of course you didn't think about why would you think about dollars cents , right? No . You know, but, and , and like I said, we , we got a group here that they're very focused on knowing the economics and the impacts on decisions. So I give, I give them a lot of credit for that, but yeah , you still have certain moments where like we all do it , so yeah . Let's not be so wasteful here, but anyways, we we've gotten , we've gotten down a very interesting rabbit hole in tangent here.

Speaker 7:

Okay. Well it's because you're talking about taco bell now.

Speaker 8:

No, you talked about, hold on a sec. What'd you get taco

Speaker 7:

Bell. I love taco bell. I yeah . Anyway, so like, so what , okay, so you you're at InnerScope and then what was like the final straw and you're like F this, I already know the answer to this, but it's such a good

Speaker 8:

Story. Yeah . It's so I was a really big fan of this band called cars , flowers, who was signed to Warner BR brothers. They actually had, they were very , they had a pretty monumental record deal at the time, from a dollar standpoint, they , and they got a guy named Rick Kavalo who producer gave you record, which is, he only touched green day and Google dolls at that time.

Speaker 7:

Um , so like it's money. Like it's like, you know, it's gonna be good because

Speaker 8:

Well, it , it was supposed to be good, like Warner , like Warner put a lot of resources into this band. So they released their record. I thought it was a phenomenal record. The public, I don't think really agreed with that. And then they kind of just wanted to leave their record label. They became essentially, or in sports terms, they became like free agents looking for a new record deal. And I was kind of tracking them. And in the position that I had was if you brought a band in or you brought an artist in that's like your ticket to like, just like

Speaker 7:

Being a billionaire.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Well, yeah. Yes and no. Right.

Speaker 7:

I mean , I worked with , yeah .

Speaker 8:

I worked with like side , side by side with the guy who like brought in M and M. Right. And he was like up here and the rest of us are like over there, like taking out the trash. Right. And so I walk, so this I'm tracking this band and I talk to their manager, have them bring over the demo. And I walk it into the , the president of this record labels office. And I play it for him. I'm like, Hey, we gotta take this serious. I mean, I was like a 20 year old kid at the time. Like, Hey, this , this is like, this band's gonna be huge. Like we gotta start tracking them . Let's go watch them . Let's, you know, put all pieces in place. I think we should sign them. And he just looks at me like, here's like a second or three of a song. And he just looks at me. He's like, take that outta my CD player right now. And I was like, okay. And the name of the band was maroon five. And that was like the moment where I was like, you're a donkey you're, you're an idiot. And I don't know how much longer I wanna do this for. And I'm gonna go back to school and kind of get out of this rat race. And yeah, that was,

Speaker 7:

And had you just been like open to it? You've been like, not on this show right now. Cause you'd be like in Bellaire as a fresh prince and like

Speaker 8:

Pretty much. Yeah. I mean, I hate to admit it. I mean, I'd most likely be golfing with Adam Levine. Uh , and instead I'm sitting in my garage talking to you.

Speaker 7:

Thanks a lot. I'm , I'm better than I'm better looking at Adam , but being though it's okay. You get outta college. I mean, so you go to college, you play hockey and that , I mean, I just think it's fascinating. And then you join the rat race, like the rest of us. Right? Like you get a job. Cause that's the thing we're supposed to do. And then like what point did you start saying like, like when did you start thinking about starting a golf ball company? Like what year was that after?

Speaker 8:

So like after college I had a , an entrepreneurial, you know, venture, if you will, that did really well. And then 2008, 2009, the financial crisis happened. What

Speaker 7:

Was that adventure?

Speaker 8:

Uh, it was in the skate industry

Speaker 7:

And the skateboarding.

Speaker 8:

Yeah, skateboarding, you know, like I started, I helped start a brand. I helped start a distribution business did really well, but this is what I mean, like, this is, there's a , there's an aspect of we're sitting here in , in a meeting, you know, in my office meeting room, whatever it is. And I'm looking at like, oh, you know, here are the dollars and cents coming in and out. And then there's like the practical thing that happens out in the room world. Right. And I remember our sales started a falter. Like, I mean, we would, I mean, we were , we were like one of the hottest brands at the time had a really good distribution business going and somewhere around the summer of oh eight or oh nine it's like someone flipped the switch from on to off like, like our sales just started going , going down, down, down and I'm like, oh, it's our sales staff. They've gotten all complicit and or comfortable, I should say. And, and they're not pounding the phones as hard as they should be. And I'm just gonna walk in and fire, 'em all. This is the stupidest thing I ever did. And then I remember, I was like, okay, something's really wrong with this business. I came in on a Saturday afternoon and I'll never forget doing this. And I started calling accounts randomly and I was like, Hey, Mr. And Mrs. Skate shop owner, like, I've noticed that like you used to order like X amount of product from us on a month in month out basis. And we haven't seen an order from you in like two months, three months. What's the deal like everything. Okay. They're like, yeah. How do you expect us to buy skateboards from you when half the towns just lost their jobs? And I was like, oh, that, yeah. Like , you know, like

Speaker 9:

Reality track it's

Speaker 8:

It was. And, and that for me from a leadership standpoint taught me a lot. Right. Which is, once again , you could sit over here and analyze and, and think things through, and then there's gonna be a practical. You're gonna have a practical moment when your market's gonna tell you something that you may have never sat back and said, oh yeah, that could be a factor as to why my business is either up or down. So yeah , that was , that was like a lesson learned . That's for sure. So I did that, met my somewhere around there. I went into coaching for a while, full time for about a season or two. And then I met my wife where , well, I met my soon Tobe wife, I guess, and then just said, all right , it's time to go out and meant to go get like a real job now and think about my career. And, and then I landed in the solar industry. And then , uh, the solar industry is a great place to work, great place to make a career. But man, from where I came from, I mean, it's, it's the most boring industry you'll ever be a part of, you know, which I, I can appreciate. I mean, I worked with some great people. I've learned a lot of awesome things, but I think I, I hit a moment about six years into my solar career where I was like, all right , this is cool, but I'd like to have some fun or, you know, maybe it's time for me to revisit my entrepreneurial roots. At this point I had taken up golf. It was like something I was doing like every weekend I was maybe playing a round or two a week, one day I was on the golf course with two really good friends of mine. And I was like, man, I'm losing a lot of golf balls today . So you're telling me dollar shave club, figure it out a solution for the razor. You're telling me the Casper and tucked and needle figured it out for the, for the mattress industry. And here we are in the golf industry and there's like real, no true solution. Cuz I was like, well, I , I started researching things like vice and on and Encore and, and smell . And you know, it seemed like they make a great product. And then I was like, but there's not really a direct to consumer value there. Right? I think device , you have to buy like five dozens and then maybe you see the device come down. And the , the thing that came to mind was, well, if you're making me pay at that price point, I'd much rather just stick with my Bridgestone or my tailor made that I was playing at the time cuz Nike had just decided to exit the industry around here. And I said, I'd much rather pay like the extra 10 bucks and go with something that I trust and know and all of that. And I said, man, these, these guys on the direct to consumer side, I mean they seem to like get it. But it just, that , that price point wasn't impactful enough to me. And I said, is there a way to get a three or four piece Euro thing , golf ball to like the $20 mark or the night 1995 mark . Right. I started doing some homework, started learning the ins and outs of the golf ball by way of essentially just being educated by a lot of online research, low and behold, we were able to secure our first factory that was formerly producing for Nike. And they said, yeah, here's a four piece Han golf ball . And , and we looked at the economics that they were off , you know, and the pricing that they were offered us. And it seemed to make sense. And the next thing, you know, cup blue comes the market in March of 2017. And we were able to offer a four piece Han golf ball at 1995 of , and then later that summer we coined, you know, it's the best golf ball under 20 bucks

Speaker 7:

You found, so you started a golf ball company, but like, was it just you or did have investors or like how did you start that?

Speaker 8:

Oh, it was just us. I mean, it's just like essentially myself and a few friends essentially is what is how it all came together. We took, you know, we , we all rounded up a little bit of cash to get us up off the ground, bring in the first round of inventory. And

Speaker 7:

What year was that?

Speaker 8:

That was the end of 16, 2016. And beginning of 2017 , when all this has

Speaker 7:

Happened , how, how big was your first order

Speaker 8:

Of golf balls that we

Speaker 7:

Brought in thousand or something crazy?

Speaker 8:

No, no, no. It was like 999. I wanna say it was like the exact number. I remember like I like begged the,

Speaker 7:

You maxed out the , the , whatever you can totally get.

Speaker 8:

Ye well, yeah, so I'm like, I'll never forget this. Like , so we ordered a two piece SU ball, three piece stir ball and a four piece Han ball. Right. So cut. What is now cut red, cut white and, and cut blue. And I'll never forget this. Like luckily I , I knew how to manage, you know, freight forwarders , a little bit of logistics and I'll never forget this. Like pallet gets dropped off at my house in front of my garage and the pallet , like

Speaker 7:

The lot of balls.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. But it's one pallet , right? I mean, now I go in our warehouse and I , I think about that day and I , I have like this little chuckle, right? I mean, the pallet was even like broken cuz like they , they , you know, like someone rammed the forklift into it. And then I sat there, I looked at this thing and I'm like, well, I'm either gonna have golf balls for Christmas presents and for myself for like eternity or I'm gonna fit, figure out how to sell this stuff. And I , you know, I think we figured out how to sell, sell that for .

Speaker 7:

So how did you sell it? So you buy a thousand golf balls in 2017. I'm assuming you build a website, right? The yep . And then, but then how did you grow it? I mean, cuz you guys obviously sold a fair amount. Just buy more. Yeah. So like how, how , if you're a new entrepreneur out there wine , I'm not saying golf ball space, but like how did you market your product? Did you just do like run ads? Did you like get influencers hands? Did you, what did you do?

Speaker 8:

So, so Matt, Matt, who is, you know, one of the original partners here, he was really, he like, he would just go on instant and start messaging all the influencers. And that was, you know, that was like a different time for influencers. Right? Like a lot changed in the , yeah, it was early.

Speaker 7:

They was happy to free stuff back then.

Speaker 8:

Yeah, exactly. And we just started, we just started seeding the product to influencers. We started getting in the hand of , you know, I mean the golf media. Sure. You can send it out, but unless you're spending the , the marketing dollars and the ad dollars with 'em , you're not gonna get a review. Um ,

Speaker 7:

I gave you a review. It didn't cost you only thing about some balls. Oh he said golf media, my bad, my

Speaker 8:

Bad. Yeah. You're yeah , exactly. So, so I mean, you know, so you , you kind of had to like pick and choose where we're , you know, what we were doing. And then we figured out Facebook advertise , well, let me rephrase that. We were learning Facebook advertising because I don't know that you would ever figure out Facebook advertising

Speaker 7:

It's gonna for , until you and you kind of figure out what kind of work and then you stick with it, cuz you're afraid you're gonna lose more money if you try something different.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. You know, and that was, I'll tell you , Paul. I mean, those were the fun , those were the 2017 and 2018, like the first two years of our business, those were the fun years. Right. Then you get in a 19 into like to today and now it's, I mean, now it's a job right now it's work. And, and I would tell you that the first two years of our business were like, they're like magical years, but I'm not complaining because you know, I think that we've, we've amassed to certain level of success and I'm very grateful for that, man. Am I app boring ?

Speaker 7:

No, sorry. I lost it last night. I , I told you I watched that documentary about Ukraine and then I would like all like wired and be like, oh , I better read what's happening on the war. So why were those years magical? Just because it was like, not, not really a job. It's not great . It's not, it's just very like free. And then when you make money, you're like, holy crap. We're making money. And then it's like, not, there's not all these obligations. Right.

Speaker 8:

I've been fortunate enough to, you know, have friendships with guys like Brian over at birdie horn and Sam over at minimal. And you know, you talked to these, these, you know, even yourself and , and you know what it's like to get a brand up and going and you know, you take your business from like this idea stage, then you're like in the proof of concept stage, then you're like, oh yeah, we had a business here. Um, and then you get to like, oh, we're gonna grow. And I would tell you that the growth is, is where all the headaches started coming in. Right. When you're starting to juggle accounts like target and Walmart and those demands. And then you like, you look at you're now you're expanding in a worldwide golf and golf town up in Canada. Now you're talking about international distribution and then you have a pandemic hit . And then there's a whole other set of factors that, that you have to take into account while you're still running this business. That's like, it's turning product on a day in day out basis.

Speaker 7:

At the time you guys released, who would you have said as your competitor at the time? Don't say Callaway titles . Cause I mean, they're like, like who would the , was it Nell Encore? Vice .

Speaker 8:

Yep . Yeah. I would tell you, yeah, I would tell you, you bring up a very good point. I would tell you that we, we have taken, you know, the Titleless Callaway and tailormade brands and we just, we almost just put 'em in the corner. Like you're over

Speaker 7:

There. Have to

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Like what you think I'm gonna compete with an 800 million marketing budget and I , I might be underpinning it . Like it's not gonna happen.

Speaker 7:

So you'll quit. If you kind of compare yourself to those things, you'll quit. You're just like , I'm not gonna do this. Like that's impossible. Right ?

Speaker 8:

No. And, and you gotta look at, you know what I , and you gotta take a step back when you're entering a business and, and really understand what's your addressable market. And then who are the players within that market and what share do they have? And I just like, okay, those guys are great. Let 'em duke it out over there. And then really sit down and hone in on focusing on the direct to consumer competitors that we have, which are Nell and vice predominantly, you know, we've seen other brands like Encore and there's another one . There's a few other ones that there's

Speaker 7:

Qu. They just came out. Qu

Speaker 8:

Thank you. Yeah. Thank you all .

Speaker 7:

But you see a lot of like now there's one called like seed . I don't know . There's like a bunch of new one that started in the last like year ones called like, yeah. I don't know . I think it's cool. I mean, I think there's a bunch of markets share there. I think like I've seen other brands move into that were not predominantly ball brands. Does that make sense? Like

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Yeah. I think I, yeah. I mean, I, I we've see those same moves. We focus on playing our game the best we can and so far so good. I would tell you, are

Speaker 7:

You guys doing you guys doing really good ? I mean, yeah, you , this is what this stuff . So here's, I first met you guys. Ooh . 2018, probably two on there, like Joe had reached out and we reviewed you guys sent me a bunch of balls. I mean, you sent me probably like one of every color, like every box, right. Or whatever was on at the time. And when I like, it was like , they were good balls and they were like colorful too. And they , they were just good balls. You just tell they were a nice ball. And I was like, well , this is just legit. You know, it wasn't like, hi , we're making a ball. It only comes in one color. And it's only a two piece , you know, it's like , um , I , but that's what kind of really kind made me take notice of you guys, like outside of you guys were doing on social already, but just like, I'm like, whoa, they really have their stuff together. Like this is, they're doing other things than just the basic. Right.

Speaker 8:

Right. I think that there's a misconception that, oh, they're just pulling a ball out of a factory, just stamping their, you know, brand on there. That's

Speaker 7:

Like, no, I can't do anymore .

Speaker 8:

Well, I , I don't even think that . I mean, I could tell you this, you know, that smell doesn't do that. You gotta give, you gotta give Dean his , his right amount of , you know , he's got a lot of due credit and you need to give it to him. Right. I mean, they make a great product. I think vice makes a good product. Right.

Speaker 7:

Don't make product , make great product. Yeah . Yeah . Makes you , because you would be , be able to make the , like, that's the thing people say, you know, have you ever had a , have you ever reviewed a product that was not good? I'm like, yeah. A couple times, but I would never, like, I would just go tell the brand like, Hey, the thing's a piece of crap. I'm not gonna report . Like, because it is a piece of crap. I'm not gonna be part of that, that , that whatever, you know , um, story. Right. But like, I think if there's a certain quality threshold that you have to make to be at the level that you guys are at, like device, the snow , you guys, like you have to be there because it's not so much, like, I almost look at like tiers of a cake, right? Like the , the top tier of the cake are the big boys. Right . That's never gonna go away. Then you have the middle tier where I think all those where you guys are right . Just about there, but like, not quite, cause you don't have a billion dollar budget. Right. But like you were the lower tier and you kinda worked yourself into the middle tier and the lower tier is different than it used to be. Cuz now it's like the lower tier is more of a ball. I feel like it's a basic ball. You buy in Alibaba. Right. Like, oh, and now it's a price game. It's not so much quality it's price. Right. Like, oh we're penny less or we're whatever it might be. It's not so much like, oh we're innovative or, oh, we have a history or I don't know . That's , that's my opinion.

Speaker 8:

I , I , no I'm mean , look, I , I think that folks, you know, might overlook the fact that we actually do. There's a lot that, that goes into to managing the product, if you will. Um, like we're constantly looking for like, okay, how do we improve this? Think we have like cut blue has a sock cover and it gets shreded up. And that's been a pain in my for the last Jesus now like three years. And we've spent the last three years trying to make improvements. And I will tell you, I'm very excited about this. I think by the time June and July rolls around, we might be looking at pretty much our, maybe our most durable cover ever. Uh , even though the first generation cover was like almost, I would say it was like indestructible, but that, that also, there was some nuances in that cover that I think the market didn't appreciate. But I think I'm really excited about the new version of cut blue . That's gonna come out DC and , and , and , and cut gray . I mean, we use the same manufacturing partner. That's a legacy manufacturer for Nike. And if you were playing the 20 X ball and you're playing the resin ball, it was coming out of like, like literally out of the same line, then our ball comes out of yeah. Today. So I , I think that, you know, those are, those are stories that I like to share with, with , with your viewers and people listening in and, you know, to say, yeah, we actually take our product really seriously here. Like I give a lot of credit to guys like Dennis, who are in our camp, who like of his sole roles here at cut is just managing our supply chain. And he's very meticulous as to understand how much capacity there is coming out of the factory, what quality issues are coming up, how do we make improvements the product? And I give Dennis all the credit for that. Right. So , um,

Speaker 7:

So how big is the cut team now?

Speaker 8:

The cut team now is myself, Dennis, John Ray , and, and , and , uh, and that's pretty much it , um, you know, we got attorneys that run around here as well. Um, but yeah, and then, you know, we , we just got into the attorneys . Yeah, no. Trust me. The one's over here . I'm constant . Yeah . Hold don't don't , don't get me started on that. Um, But uh , yeah, so, I mean, that's, that's kind of like what the cut team looks like today. Um, and

Speaker 7:

So what's coming out this year, like what's happening this year? Like, what are you excited about? Cause you just kind of said that you have a new, a new ball coming out or at least new , uh , cover on the wall. Um ,

Speaker 8:

So we got a new variation of, of , of cut blue . That'll come out , uh , with , you know , what I would say is a new cover. Um, we're gonna get more durability outta that cover. Um, DC gray stay the same. Um, can I, can I leave the camera real quick and show you something you mind?

Speaker 7:

Okay . Go .

Speaker 8:

All right , go ahead . Close . So I'm pretty pumped about , So This is now so cut red, right. So this is our two piece ster ball , um, a dozen retails for 9 95 and then our friends over at , uh , Walmart and, and a few other key retailers have asked us to make them this, oh , this double pack right here. Um , so if you guys remember like the Nike mojo ball, like this is

Speaker 7:

Pretty much, I remember that

Speaker 8:

It's kind of like our homage to that ball. Um , so I'm pretty excited about this. Um , I need to get this off the photographer to get some product shots. Um, it's pretty pumped about that. Uh, we might be looking into, you know, kind of taking some, some steps in a different direction with our apparel lineup . Um, I don't know if

Speaker 7:

Those two as hats , I remember have those hats

Speaker 8:

One

Speaker 7:

Cut hats . That's the cut. And it was puff. Remember those?

Speaker 8:

Oh yeah. Like , uh , like the blue and the red one, the

Speaker 7:

Blue and the white one and the red had a red BIM . Yeah, I remember that one. Yep .

Speaker 8:

Yeah, yeah . That's , that's still around , um, those , those are legacy items. I don't see going away. Um, so we spent, so what I would say Paul is look, we, the tail end of 2021 was a challenging year. Um , we ran into, you know, look, if we're talking about, you know, behind the brand, we gotta be genuine enough to say, yeah, I mean, look, we're, we're a startup , right. We, we had to go out and, and figure out some capital issues, which are now resolved and we're in a brand new partnership , uh , um, with, you know, with someone in the golf industry, out of the Jupiter area. And we're really excited about, you know, that starting to come together and we'll , we'll have a lot of things going on at cut . So, I mean, you know , we were a little absent from social media over the last few months, completely intentional. And now we're, you know, we're kind of gearing up to , to get things back on track and , and , you know, make sure that we're taking all the right steps.

Speaker 7:

This should be a big year for you guys. I mean, I'm thinking with what you've told me before, what you're working on. Um ,

Speaker 8:

Uh , yeah. I could tell you 2000 look, everything has been, you know, growth since 2017, right. Um, from a perspective of revenue and unit shipped . And I would say this year, this year's gonna be pretty big. Um, I'm very excited about our relationship with worldwide golf, which, you know , is Roger Dunn vans, oh God, Edwin Watts, et cetera .

Speaker 7:

Yeah. It's like a conglomerate of, of stores.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. So I'm really excited about where that relationship's going these days, target and Walmart keep on giving us, you know, bringing more SKUs in. We've been very, you know, very successful in that channel. And then what I'm even most excited about is the growth that we're seeing on the international front. So we're growing like a weed in Canada , um, bringing on a new distributor in Korea and then we gotta actually rekindle our, our , uh , UK distribution as well. I mean, that, that , that kind of , we, we had to put a pause on that towards the end of last year, but now, now with everything kind of resolved on the back end of our business, you know, we're able to, to , to kind of go back out and, and get that market in the UK as well.

Speaker 7:

Um, have you guys ever, are you guys doing any kind of green grass right now or no?

Speaker 8:

Yeah . Yes. Yeah. I mean, we have a ,

Speaker 7:

I would think that'd be like a bread . I think any brand who brand who's not doing that is stupid, to be honest, because like it's a lot more work, but if you can get in on that, like that's, I mean, I , it's not , it's harder, I would assume.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Cuz I mean, in our, our volume or I'm sorry, our business model is, is very focused and driven by volume. So I've always had this belief that like the golf ball is an impulse buy in a way. Right. Because I don't know many people that, you know, like you're not taking your ball in inventory on a Tuesday night, you know, going like, Hey, I think I need more golf balls. You know, you're most likely you can get to the course and go. I forgot my golf . I forgot I needed to go buy more golf balls. Right. And you're gonna walk into the pro shop and you're gonna cough up your, you know, your 30 to 40% premium that you'll have to pay. But

Speaker 7:

That's,

Speaker 8:

You know, that , that course , you know, that that's the convenience factor. So I would say our green grass business really started doing well last year actually. And I, I do expect some significant growth in,

Speaker 7:

Well , when you do green grass , like what do you focus on as a brand? Do you focus on the big, big players? Like the , like the , the TRUS of the world? Or do you focus on like munies and I , I have no idea to be honest.

Speaker 8:

Um, I think that we're fo we , we took an approach of focusing on, on larger accounts maybe like in that 2020, you know, like in 2020, that was the way to go as soon as the golf course is closed or they wouldn't even see. I mean, there's, there's a chunk of the year where they wouldn't even let you come into the, the shop to present a line. So we really looked at all right . Let's, let's grow our key account business. And then when green grass gets back to normal, which we're already there, you know? Yeah. Then we'll go start selling those guys. So I would expect that the majority of our growth comes in the green grass segments.

Speaker 7:

I can't believe your guys are on Walmart and target. That's crazy. That's I mean, that's so commendable. I mean like, are you guys in and, and uh, all those dudes yet,

Speaker 8:

We're not in . Uh , we're in Meyer . That's another one that we opened up for all our folks in the Midwest , in the Midwest. Yeah . That's a , that's a pretty cool one. I have a brother-in-law that lives out in Wisconsin and he had a Meyer right around the corner from his house and it was like, okay, this is,

Speaker 7:

Yeah, well , you don't live in those locations and you hear these, like, you know, like we don't live in Canada, but we're like, oh, golf town . Like I'm not Canadian. And I know a lot of people live in Canada. I mean, follow a show runs with , and then like golf. Phone's huge, you know, like , but it's like, to me, it's like the cause is down the street. Right. What's your plan then for the site, are you guys in , are you guys in the process of redoing the site or are you guys gonna keep it the same?

Speaker 8:

No, no , no. I , I would say, look, I , I can, The , the , the broad general answer is I think what you're, you're catching me on the front end of what we internally call cut two point. Oh, right. Yeah . So I think you're gonna see an evolution of the brand. You'll see an evolution of the product. You'll see, possibly evolution on the , of the messaging. So I think that's me, which laying the groundwork to say, we're gonna have to have a follow up to all of this.

Speaker 7:

I wanna see you, so , right . I told you that already. So I got some big plans with you to come visit you, you and hang out in California. Like whatever dude, oh God, not that thing. And so I'm really excited. You guys, I don't know , like , I'm actually glad we recorded the show today. Like I've said, we tried numerous times and we probably wouldn't have recorded it today. If I didn't force them to , um, 30 minutes over our conversation saying we need to record. Um, but I've been a fan from a far distance. I mean, I think Sam is a friend at this point. We talk like, I don't know , at least once a month, it feels like about stuff. Um, and you guys need check out , cut golf balls. I think it's really cool. How you guys grown so fast? Like I know I was impressed in the early years when I first saw you and I always had a good relationship with Joe who was, you know, longer there, but like with Joe brought me in and then, you know, that's why come came friends with you. You know, you guys get cut pretty much anywhere. I mean, in big box retailers, it's online and yes . Thanks for being on the show today . I appreciate it.

Speaker 8:

Of course. Anytime Paul, thanks for having me on

Speaker 7:

Where can people find cut golf balls at?

Speaker 8:

You could find it , our website go to cut golf.co you know, we just kind of listed all of the retailers along the way, you know, target at Walmart, Amazon, worldwide golf, golf town for our friends up in Canada. And then, you know, soon you'll be able to, I mean, I know that we're in outlets in Japan, Korea.

Speaker 7:

Yeah. Yours

Speaker 8:

Are grow like crazy . Yeah. I , I mean, I, the list is growing because I used to answer that question, like in three words and now it's, it's like website Amazon now. It's every everywhere else.

Speaker 7:

Well, awesome. Well, thanks for being on the show. You guys, Sam's a good dude. Cuts. Awesome. Um, you guys have gotta support him . I mean, honestly, they make the best game ball under 20 bucks . I mean, 20 bucks . That's nothing, it's not around a golf . I doesn't even have round of golf . So , uh , trying I come out and I will see you guys in the next episode.

Speaker 3:

Thanks for listening to another episode of behind the golf brand podcast. You're gonna beat

Speaker 8:

Me a

Speaker 3:

Golf stay connected on and off the show by visiting golfers authority.com. Don't forget to like subscribe and leave a comment. Golf is always more fun when you win, stay out of the beach and see you on the green.