Here at PutterZone, we focus on the putting green, not the tee box. However, we also love entrepreneurial golf stories, and the fact is that you can’t get to the green without first teeing off. Which brings us to today’s Insider Interview with Chris Jackson, inventor of the new Revolution Tee, an aptly named golf tee that aims to change how you think about teeing off. Not only does the Revolution Tee offer unbreakable durability, it’s also said to add yards to your drive.
Chris grew up as a sports enthusiast, but didn’t get the golf bug until his early twenties. “I was about 20 when I decided to give golf a try, and I was immediately hooked. I found myself going from never playing to waking up nearly every morning at the crack of dawn to go play before work.” Today, he resides in Missouri with his wife and three children, and he has launched a Kickstarter campaign (60% funded so far) to get his Revolution Tee dream off the ground. As he says, “I made this tee just so I could try to be around the game I love, and hopefully I can help aspiring amateurs in their journey as well!” Following is our exclusive Insider Interview:
What exactly is the Revolution Tee? Please walk us through its components, as well as its features and benefits.
The Revolution Golf Tee is a two-part tee. First off you have the tee top with a small neodymium magnet in the bottom end. Then there is the base end which holds the top, and also doubles as a ball marker. It has the shape of a ball marker with a small peg that sticks into the ground, and a powder coated steel disc inserted into the top end that the magnetic top is attracted to. Through this design we created a tee that should never break because it is not fixed into the hard ground. It also gives the user a fixed tee height which is great for consistent drives, and since the tee will topple over immediately on impact, instead of giving you the brief resistance of a fixed tee, it will add yards.
You say that the Revolution Tee adds distance to drives. How does that work, and what data do you have to back it up?
When we first started our R&D for the tee we actually took it to GolfLabs in San Diego, CA, and had it tested on their robotic testing machine. After the testing was over we got our results and it showed that our tee performed 7.5 yards better than the wood tee we competed against, and it was through less resistance. To visualize it, my thought is always this: If I was a sprinter in a race, and when I took off I drug my feet slightly I wouldn’t be near as fast. That is basically our ball when we tee off with a standard tee. Although it is minimal, we always have that effect when we use tees affixed into the ground, and it can definitely add up. The most common feedback when someone uses our tee is that they felt like the ball was floating when they hit it.
The Revolution Tee is also said to be “customizable.” Please elaborate…
Having a performance tee is not enough for us. We also want to deliver a product that is fun to use, and that people look forward to showing off. Once our Kickstarter campaign is funded we want to bring out a wide array of colors that users can pick from, and in time we will also give the users the option of what color they want the powder coated base insert to be. We also plan on investing in a high quality UV printing machine, and with that we will be able to print any images, messages, or logos that you might want to see on your tee.
How did you come up with the idea, and how has the entrepreneurial journey been from concept to prototype?
I came up with the idea when I was playing a round of golf in 2008. The ground was frozen and I was having a hard time putting a tee in the ground, and when I did they broke every time. After one of my approach shots I was walking to the green, and when I pulled out the contents of my pocket. My hand was full of coins, ball markers, broken tees, and performance tees I couldn’t put in the ground. The idea came to me quickly, and I left the course to go home and work on my design. I then ordered some moldable plastic, and about a week later I had my first tee. But that was as far as I got for about four years. I had a baby, we adopted another child, and I was busy with work. It wasn’t until 2012 when I was at a dead end job that I thought I had to give it a chance. Overall the journey since then has been challenging, but exciting. We have had to re-design several aspects of the tee, and it has been a headache trying to find all the right people to work with on the way. But it has also been fun showing the prototypes around, and getting feedback from others. We had a great time at the PGA stop in Memphis in 2013 when we showed the tee off for the first time. We showed spectators and some of the professionals there, and they gave us some great feedback! But they also opened our eyes to some of the final adjustments we needed to make.
My father was no stranger to entrepreneurship, so I knew there would be obstacles. I had watched him develop a board game, and write a book, and it was a long and tedious journey. But life is all about the adventure, and when you take an opportunity like this it will lead you in wild places. There was a time as a kid that we were all living on a big blue school bus, and fighting our dog over the last can of spam, literally. But at least there will be a story to tell, and you will meet some incredible people that are willing to help you along the way!
Thanks, Chris, and good luck with the Kickstarter campaign!