Ontario entrepreneur hopes for hole-in-one with new golf tee
Published Saturday, November 24, 2012 6:00AM EST
In the golfing world, there’s always a lot of excitement over technical advances in clubs. But an entrepreneur in Timmins, Ont., says maybe it’s time to re-think the lowly golf tee.
Jean Gauthier has created an adjustable, polycarbonate golf tee that he claims will improve every golfer’s game.
He says the problem with traditional tees is that they are wooden and often break. Some golfers break one every time they tee off and all those broken tees can get expensive over time.
The Adjustable Tee, as Gauthier calls his product, is bendable and more resilient and can handle up to 200 swings before it breaks. What’s more, golfers can screw the tee into a holder to adjust its height, hopefully increasing how often the club’s “sweet spot” comes into contact with the ball.
"They don't break easily and they give you ball height consistency,” Gauthier tells CTV News. “You eliminate one variable of a golf game which nobody can do: the ball height. Everything else is a variable, but now you don't have to worry about the ball height."
To top it off, the tees can be personalized by adding logos to the head, making them a great corporate promotional tool, says Gauthier.
The tees are more expensive than your usual wooden ones: a package of eight costs anywhere from $6 to $8. But Mathieu Vachon of the Northern Swing Golf Centre in Timmins says he believes golfers will like the tees regardless of the price.
"Maybe that's what is holding people back, is the price. But once you use them, you will see they last longer and they do help you out with your game,” Vachon says.
Gauthier, a mechanical maintenance worker by day, has been selling the tees at local pro shops and courses for a few years now, but recently appeared on the TV show “Dragons’ Den” in hopes of showcasing the tee to a national audience.
The show puts inventors from across the country in front of a panel of tough investors who decide whether the product is worth their investment dollars.
The show’s panel seemed less than excited about the Adjustable Tee and worried that Gauthier and business partner, Eric Demers, had already borrowed a significant amount of money to manufacture the tee and to market it.
Gauthier admits he has sunk more than $40,000 of his own money into his product. But he says he’s proud of it, despite the hiccups along the way.
"We spent money in the wrong advertisements in the past. There were no gains, so that's where the issue lies right now,” he says.
Gauthier is hopeful his product will catch on south of the border. He's even hoping for a big-name golfer to endorse what he says is a simple twist to a better golf tee.
With a report from CTV Northern News’ Claude Sharma