Interview with Matt Ward
Garry Singer is the co-founder and CEO of ClearSports, LLC. He is an attorney and entrepreneur who has launched highly successful ventures in legal services and financial software. Garry is a competitive amateur golfer whose passion for the game is the driving force behind Clear’s mission to develop the best golf products possible with the leading material and technology available to designers and manufacturers today.
Clear began in 2010 with my friend Mitchell Slater and I, from diverse professional backgrounds — one an attorney — the other a concert promoter. We are both passionate about sports and particularly golf, and we questioned whether we could design and build a better golf ball, and if so, was there a market for it.
MATT WARD: The golf ball market is saturated with various claims — how do you plan on separating yourself from the endless clutter?
GARRY SINGER: By making no compromises. Clear designs and manufactures the best conforming golf ball possible without regard for cost. Years of research, development and testing resulted in the Clear ball — simply the finest USGA conforming golf ball that can be made. Clear golf balls are produced on a limited basis and go through a superior inspection process to ensure unmatched consistency. Leading edge technology and materials were used in Clear’s innovative and proprietary manufacturing process to create the Clear ball.
MW: What was the genesis that sparked the idea for Clear’s involvement in golf?
GS: It was started approximately five years ago with the simple mission of creating the best premium golf ball that could be made using any and all technology available regardless of cost. The company was started by me and my close friend Mitch Slater who was a successful concert promoter and business partner in various other ventures. We believed that there may be a demand for a golf ball that was second to none even if the cost was somewhat higher than current offerings.
MW: How long has the process taken in terms of product concept and actual production?
GS: There have been three distinct iterations of the ball, and as technology changes we will continue to adapt and improve our golf balls. We test our balls in order to collect verifiable evidence that they are irrefutably the very best. We make no claims to the public and are not inclined to attempt to convince anyone, other than our members, of the excellence of our products.
MW: What is the suggested retail costs for the golf balls? How did you determine that price given what the market charges now?
GS: The cost of $950 per year entitles our members to a case of 12 dozen balls as well as select high-end apparel. The names of members are kept confidential. (This is not the case with the other products we offer which are available to the general public. I would be glad to take you through our pricing determinants and the technological advantages of our other products if you are interested)
MW: What type of golfer will gravitate to your product?
GS: Most but not all of our current members are low handicap, tournament players but we are very open to inviting all level of players and our main criteria is someone who loves the game of golf, embraces technology and demands the very best.
MW: In order to get your product now you have to be a member and are limited to a max of 12 dozen balls. As the company develops will you provide balls through traditional outlets such as green grass shops and certain retail outlets?
GS: We strictly limit the distribution of the balls, they are available by invitation only and we set firm limits on the number of members at any given club. They are not available in retail locations, green grass or otherwise.
MW: Titleist has long been the dominating golf ball brand — in a range of offerings but headlined through its Pro V1 and Pro V1x lines. Do you see them as being vulnerable to what you are attempting to do?
GS: There are many high quality golf balls available, including those by the market leader that you mention. For the vast majority of golfers those balls are fine. Our target is the smaller percentage of golfers who are not satisfied with merely good, but desire the very best.
MW: Do professional golfer endorsements matter to you and is anyone using the ball competitively now on any of the major world tours?
GS: Clear balls have been tested by some of the very best players in the world. We have been approached by various top touring professionals but have never considered paying a player to promote our ball. We may, in the future, partner with a PGA Tour player in order to showcase the ball on a worldwide stage but it would be solely for the benefit of our members.
MW: Are you contemplating other areas within golf — such as hard goods in equipment offerings?
GS: Clear is first and foremost a golf ball company. It has since developed into a multi-sport company. Our distribution and marketing is a bifurcated model separating the golf ball business from all our other offerings which currently include tennis racquets, strings as well as other products in the pipeline. Our goal is simple, to offer the absolute best sports equipment. Our products are all unparalleled in performance. We accomplish this by developing, licensing or purchasing technologies that offer quantifiable advantages.
MW: Companies today focus a good deal of attention on customer service — how do you define the term and how will Clear go beyond what others are doing in that regard?
GS: Our customer service is commensurate with other iconic, elite brands. We make all efforts to accommodate member requests. Scott Stettner, our COO, is adamant about making sure our members know they are part of a select group. Toward that end he makes sure the lines of communication remain open at all times. Our members are incredibly happy to be on team Clear and Scott makes certain that remains the case.