BUSINESS OF THE MONTH
Many club golfers and virtually all social (casual) golfers have at one time or another been in this position.
That is standing on the tee box of a 150-metre par-3, the flag waving menacingly in the distance with the span between tee and green magnified by a large pond separating the tee box from the green.
For reasons often difficult to explain, hitting shots over water can be a knee-knocker experience and oftentimes significantly more difficult compared to hitting a golf ball over a stretch of grass.
So, anticipating his golf ball will drown in the pond, “Joe Golfer” reaches deep into his golf bag for an inexpensive or well-worn golf ball – one he won’t mind losing to whatever creatures lurk in the pond.
The player thinks hitting a new expensive golf ball here is a bad idea.
This is the scenario that launched Bill McCormick into the golf ball business.
“My business partner and I were standing on the tee box of an island par-3, knowing we were about to lose a golf ball,” McCormick explained.
“We decided to hit the worst ball in our bags because we didn’t want to lose an $8 tour ball.”
That experience started a serious business conversation, and the result is Sugar Golf, an Austin, Texas-based company that sells Sugar Golf balls. McCormick said he saw no reason why high-quality, premium golf balls should cost so much that golfers would fear losing them to a watery grave.
Month after month of research followed and the result was the launch of Sugar Golf in October 2020.
The three-piece urethane ball is designed to compete with the Pro V1, Callaway’s Hex Chrome and other top-of-the-line balls.
The Sugar Golf ball features a soft and resilient core, a fast mantle to boost speed off the clubface, consistent spin/control, and a low-drag, aerodynamic, seamless dimple design.
The company says its golf ball is designed to obtain the perfect balance of distance, control and feel.
That said, every golfer still want to hit bombs.
And Sugar Golf says its golf ball outperformed the Titleist ProV1 in head-to-head robo-swing distance testing (see diagrams).
Utilising a swing robot at two-speed settings (high: 112.8 mph, low: 71.8 mph), the Sugar Golf ball registered higher ball speed off the tee, as well as increased carry and overall distance as compared to the ProV1.
In the same comparative testing, the Sugar Golf ball was shown to achieve greater launch heights than the 2020 ProV1 at reduced driver spin rates.
Sugar Golf’s wedge spin rates as compared to the ProV1 were demonstrated to be slightly higher in the head-to-head testing.
Sugar’s Smash Factor (the ratio of ball speed to club-head speed) is as good, if not superior to the ProV1.
Still, one of Sugar Golf’s big selling points is its price.
The buyer gets 27 golf balls shipped in a cube-shaped box (thus the name Sugar) for $99 plus GST and $10 freight.
“Our ball is the lowest all-in price-per-ball in this category”, McCormick said.
“We sell a premium product at the best price. The concept is bringing the most value to the game.”
McCormick said Sugar has kept its costs down by limiting advertising and avoiding the expensive sponsorship tie-ins that other premium golf ball companies pursue with professional golfers.
“We liked playing with three-piece urethane balls, but didn’t like how much they cost,” he said.
“There didn’t seem to be a good answer for the problem we were facing.
“We wanted really consistent quality premium balls and didn’t care as much about the packaging they arrived in.
“While we do run some limited advertisements to get our brand story out there, most of our growth to-date can be attributed to word-of-mouth and validation by the ‘everyday golfer’.
“Our big thing is to get the golf ball in somebody’s hands because we believe the moment somebody plays our ball, they’ll know the value.”
The Sugar Golf ball, McCormick says, is soft enough to provide good feel around the greens and good spin but doesn’t sacrifice distance.
“There’s a lot of fluff and overzealous marketing out there.
“We stripped away all the nonsense that
goes along with golf balls and golf equipment in general.
“We provide a premium product that simply does its job and does it well.”
The end result, you might say, is pretty sweet.
For more information or to place an order go to www.sugargolf.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org