Needle Golf is a golf specific needlepoint accessories brand. The flagship product is the first of its kind — a blade style putter head cover made with needlepoint.
THE TODD STORY
Trip Todd was born and raised in Greenwich, CT. As a marketing and business development leader in a number of industries throughout my career, I’m proud of our flagship product being the first of its kind. The idea for Needle Golf traces back to many rounds of golf played with my good friend and co-founder Andrew Creed. We are both serious about golf — we love and obsess about the game — including scouting the best golf equipment to help our games. We also grew up with an appreciation of needlepoint — my mother and grandmother frequently made needlepoint belts, pillows, framed pictures, and even Christmas stockings with designs from all walks of my life. Andrew’s mother similarly made many needlepoint items for him — most notably driver head covers.
It was natural then that we came up with the idea for needlepoint use on the golf course — specifically as a performance piece of equipment that was also good looking. After many months of design and sourcing refinement, we focused on a blade style putter head cover as our first product launch and brought this first of its kind product to market. From a wholesale sales and distribution perspective, it was also important to us to be a green grass, golf-only brand – we believe that the golf market was owed a level of dedication to a performance first and channel dedicated product line. Because of this strategy, we have been fortunate to gain quite a bit of traction out of the gate by opening accounts at some of the top clubs in the country. With the success of our blade style head cover, there are many more product designs on the horizon and we plan to expand our direct to consumer website product portfolio as well.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
My family, first and always. They are what drives me and makes me most happy. From a career perspective, provide clients with the best possible product and experience. No matter the industry, if the product and experience are best in class, you’ll be successful. As a lifetime consumer of golf products, I’ve seen the best and worst of these criteria. Now as a manufacturer, my goal is to bring the best of both product and client experience to clients of Needle Golf.
What was the genesis for Needle Golf?
Develop a needlepoint brand devoted strictly to golf and the unique needs of other serious golfers.
How long did it take from the point of idea concept to actual prototypes?
Several months actually. No one had created a needle point head cover or really a performance piece of golf equipment – anything that I had seen really was around apparel and accessories. Therefore, while potential suppliers were either good at making needlepoint or at making head covers, no one knew how to do both. Therefore, we had to create our own manufacturing with our suppliers in order to create a product of the finest quality and performance.
What distinguishes Needle Golf from your competitors?
There are some really amazing needlepoint apparel and accessory companies in the market. But we’re an equipment company first and foremost. We’re not trying to be a “me too” product – instead, our R&D is focused on needlepoint as golf equipment, specifically head covers — although we will provide the other needlepoint products too. Further, our focus is on the golf vertical market – specifically green grass golf partners and the golfer. Our product will be of the highest quality and performance design – with all of the R&D that goes into putter and club manufacturing, we have a priority to maintain standards to protect the club head followed by is also looking great. Finally, we understand the service required in the golf vertical market – as serious golfers and industry veterans, our goal is to provide both our green grass partners and the golfer with the best product and client experience possible.
You attended the 2018 PGA Show in Orlando. What was the response like?
Wow, the response was incredible. It was really an honor to have so much positive feedback. Many clients and potential clients from all over the world not only had nice things to say but also purchased our products or will purchase them coming into the Spring.
Explain your marketing and branding efforts — are you primarily focused on green grass shops or online sales?
We distribute and sell our product via both channels. Focusing solely on green grass only wholesale distribution is very important to us because we want to support the modern golf professional and partner with golf only facilities. We will also sell our own designs via our website – www.needlegolf.com. We do not have plans to distribute our product through other retail stores or websites – we want to give our green grass clients the confidence and exclusivity of our product while providing the best possible product and customer service to our online clients.
Are there plans to expand your product line in other related areas?
Absolutely! We plan to create new designs for golf equipment – specifically related to putter and other club covers. The putter blade cover was just the start!
Describe who the Needle Golf customer is?
The Needle Golf client is a golfer who is not only serious about golf but likes great looking equipment. They will want a high performing product that also catches the eye of their friends on the tee box or on the range.
Many companies tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach Needle Golf takes.
We wanted to not only focus on R&D around the product but also around the client service aspect of golf. Therefore, we conducted voice of client with green grass partners and golfers alike to understand what is important to them in terms of service. Our learnings will allow us to provide the best in class cornerstones of service: response time, lead time, and minimum order quantities.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
A former colleague told me once if you delight customers with service and quality, they will become a client. Customers come along once — clients come back over and over. I’ve yet to see this proven wrong.
For more info go to: www.needlegolf.com