A unique business model that provides golfers and deserving youth alike with a high-quality, affordable golf glove has garnered significant interest in its first few days of launching on Kickstarter.
Like many, Ottawa business owner and entrepreneur Kerry Moher loves the game of golf. An active member of Ottawa’s business community, his love for sports has always found a way into his career. As early as age 13, he was selling sports cards at the Stittsville Flea Market. Moher went on to get a golf scholarship to Kentucky State University where he would study business. Throughout his life, it seemed that sports and business would always find themselves together in some way.
As an avid golfer, especially during last year’s pandemic shutdowns that saw many flock to the fairways, it was then, says Moher, that he realized how little attention he paid to his golf gloves, compared to his other pieces of gear. “I realized that I spent an awful lot of time and money on golf in general: but very little on golf gloves. I didn’t value gloves as an essential piece of equipment.”
Kerry didn’t just go on instinct, he talked to his long-time friend and pro golfer, Brad Fritsch, about the idea. Fritsch is the only person from Ottawa ever to play on a PGA tour. “A golf glove allows players to grip the club with the confidence that their hands won’t slip during their swing.” Says Fritsch. “Golf is a hard enough game without having things like that to worry about!”
Kerry and Brad’s research into the use of golf gloves found that over 85% of amateurs and 95% of professional golfers play with gloves. While pros like Brad Fritsch never needed to worry about their next golf glove, amateurs seemed to be both overplaying and over paying for them. “We’d be standing on the tee box of a 250 yard par 3, we’ve paid $150 to play this really nice course, and here would be Kerry trying to hit this shot with a glove that looked like he bought it when he was 14 years old.”
After extensive research into the industry that would eventually lead to a trip to Indonesia, the golf glove hub of the world, Kerry found a traditional distribution system that was over inflated with way too many middle men. It was a model that could easily be redesigned to put the consumer first. “I felt like golf gloves were something that I could produce as well as the top brands. I was a little less skeptical that I could make a really good driver at a reasonable price.”
Kerry designed a high quality, professional-grade Cabretta leather golf glove, working directly with the same manufacturers as today’s top brands. “Over that 10 days I visited with a number of glove makers and asked as many questions as I could. I got to walk the shop floor and talk to their designers and seamstresses and find out all the nuances of golf glove production. A golf glove touches more than a dozen people and close to 20 steps during the sewing process. It’s really an art form.”
Cutting out middlemen, distributors, and retailers allowed him to offer the same quality of product at a significantly lower price. But the real innovation was how he planned to deliver the gloves to his buyers: via a subscription service that ships directly to the buyer, with the shipping cost included. It was an innovative idea that directly addressed the problem most golfers face: they simply never remember to replace their golf glove. “The subscription can be paused, increased, or decreased at any time. The premise is that golfers can’t be trusted to change their glove on their own. They need a glove to arrive in the mail as a gentle reminder that it might be time to get a fresh glove in play. I know that I needed the prompt.”
Though the model, price, and customization of the business was ready to go, Kerry had one last addition to his subscription golf glove model. He wanted to make sure that the proceeds of each sale gave back to the game of golf in some way. “The game of golf has been really good to me. I played college golf on a scholarship. I’ve played courses around the world. A lot of my close friends play the game. I get a lot of joy from the game: it’s like therapy for me.
So, I’d love to give back to a game that’s given me a lot. I felt the best way to do that was to work with organizations that are introducing youth to the game for the first time, to help make that experience positive and memorable.”
For Brad, the charity aspect of the business model is what sold him on becoming a partner in the business. “It’s always been incredibly rewarding to work with kids on the driving range or golf course, and if we can keep them engaged as a result of them taking something home with them (their very own golf glove), then maybe we have a better chance of them returning to the range one more time; and that can lead to two and three times, and maybe a few of them will fall in love with the game like we did.”
For each glove sold, a glove will also be donated to youth across Canada to help boost their confidence and foster interest in a new generation of golfers. Kerry’s goal is to provide 5000 young golfers with gloves this summer.
Complete with a high quality product, innovative distribution model, and a noteworthy social cause, Kerry founded Red Rooster Golf Inc. The company launched on kickstarter on Monday, May 10th, and hit $30,000 in pledges in their first day of going live. “The goal of our campaign is to get a free glove on the hands of 5,000 youth that will be introduced to the game of golf this summer through our Play It Forward Partners: First Tee Triangle, First Tee Ontario and Kevin Haime Golf Centre. That means we need to raise more than $100,000. We are really thankful for the early support. But we’ve got a long way to go to reach our goal.”
You can view and support the campaign via their kickstarter page.