Posted on Tuesday 13 December 2011 by Ulster Business

Put some Fred Daly in your putting

Alan Watts, director of Halo, reports on a product that allowed a couple of angel investors to successfully combine their passions for business and golf.

Until the recent golfing successes of Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke, the only Irishman to have won the Open was Fred Daly in 1947. His name lives on amongst Northern Ireland’s golfers – but did you know that he didn’t just play the game, he was heavily involved in the design and development of the clubs he used – and which carried his name?

Now his son Robin, a former golf professional himself, is carrying on this tradition. Robin founded Daly Golf and designed a unique new putter which is already causing ripples across the golfing world. Indeed the distinctive design has seen the product become known in golfing circles as the ‘peanut putter’.

Drawing on his and his father’s experience as a golfer has allowed Robin to develop this new putter. The beginning of Robin’s own career in club design was sketching club ideas down on paper having listened throughout his childhood to his father coming in off the course. All golfers at all levels do this, recounting stories of the dropped shots that could have turned the 72 into a 68 or 68 into a 66!

New golf technologies are closely regulated, but Daly have been accredited as a manufacturer on the European Tour since 2009 and have built customised putters for over 40 tour players including Vijay Singh, Darren Clarke and Simon Dyson. Tour players using Daly putters have achieved a top ten finish already and the first tour win can’t be too far away.

The magic sauce is two unique technologies which improve your setup, weight distribution and feel. These are the unique Bi-Concave™ Profile and Repeatable Anchor System™ which ultimately help with a smooth and steady putting stroke and generate more confidence on the green. After that, it’s all up to you.

Robin’s magic has been translated to reality by experienced designer Alan Boyd who is now the R&D Director. But early successes with well known golfers like Vijay Singh and celebrity customers including Ruud Gullit and Len Goodman did not lead immediately to increased sales.

The chosen market route via retail outlets proved difficult and a new approach was needed. Fortunately Daly Golf pitched (literally) at the Halo business angel network and as a result gained both investment and input from Michael O’Neill and Gary McCausland. Michael and Gary’s marketing experience has resulted in a new strategy through a direct online platform coupled with a policy of grass roots support. Each retailer has the opportunity of stocking three putters and aggregating sales through the Daly website directly to customers. This means that retailers do not need to hold stock and yet the company collects immediate payment on sales.

In addition, the company directly supports the golf market – both by Sponsoring Pitch and Putt internationally and the PGA Ulster Grand Prix. They also make extensive use of social media and are the first golf OEM to introduce a Facebook store on their Facebook page where customers can buy directly.

Initially Michael was attracted by how well the Daly Putter actually worked. Interested enough to actually buy one on the night at Halo, he found that it really made a big difference to his putting. This of course inspired him to get involved with the company as belief in the product is a great starting point.

Gary, who is well known for his TV work, is another keen golfer who brings a wealth of media contacts and experience to the company. He and Michael are a good example of the truism that angels bring a lot more than ‘just money’ to a new company.

Daly Golf is now growing and well positioned to sell internationally especially via www.dalygolf.com although they have retained their coaching and custom fitting centre at Ballygowan. So if you’re interested in having a little of the Daly magic rub off on your game, you know where to go.

As Robin says: “We can’t sell you a better score, but we can and do produce the equipment that allows you to find it yourself!”

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