Ed Sandison’s hole in one last week was remarkable in itself but it also achieved something no golfer has managed in recent years – he got golf in the headlines of every major news outlet – even the BBC! Ed’s hole-in-one on the first at Styal Golf Club was heart-warming and gave sportspeople and journalists across the world the ray of hope we have all been looking for. We spoke to Ed about his new-found fame and found out more about his new sustainable golf brand, OCEAN TEE
What was running through your mind when you stepped up to the first tee last week?
I was so delighted to be out of the house and at the Club that I hadn’t really thought about the first shot like I usually would do. I just grabbed my go-to hybrid (despite this in theory being too much club for the hole) and teed it up. That said I do remember in my backswing thinking “you’ve only got 2 other balls in your bag Ed, so don’t smash this out of bounds!”. One slightly thinned shot later and a few lucky bounces and here we are.
How quickly and how far did the news travel?
It was bizarre, I only started using my personal twitter account about 2 weeks ago and have a handful of followers. After tweeting the video of the hole in one I initially thought my phone had a glitch as the notification buzzer kept going off, but then I realised what was happening. Within an hour it had about 25k views, within 2 hours I had spoken to The Telegraph and The Times and later that evening the video had over 100k views and I was booked to go on BBC Breakfast in the morning! My wife and friends were in tears laughing thinking about how ridiculous it all was!
What has been the most surreal moment?
Definitely being on BBC Breakfast and talking about club selections with Naga Munchetty. That was less than 24 hours after hitting the tee shot. The Washington Post did call as well and I still can’t get my head round that one.
How has COVID-19 affected business for you?
COVID-19 has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the business in all areas from sales to team structuring. A particular area of disappointment for us has been around the cancellation of Tournaments. We worked hard to get our products, company ethos and charity partners in front of the major Tours and we were very optimistic about featuring at multiple events over the summer. Our main drive is to create a buzz and focus around sustainability and you can’t beat the sort of exposure that major tournaments can give you. That said, all those relationships are still in place and I’m sure will pick back up again.
In many ways we have been fortunate though as we still managed to bring our Mako polo shirts to market at the beginning of May. The combination of organic cotton and biodegradable elastane in this product makes it one of the most comfortable golf polos on the market and it would have been a real shame not to get this out for the summer.
Everything considered I feel lucky, as the business is still here and everyone in the team is well and eager to get going.
Have you seen increased sales since you became a news sensation?
Ha ha, I don’t think the word ‘sensation’ has ever been mentioned when referring to my golf game before! It’s actually difficult to say, the polo shirt only launched officially on 1st May and we have had a host of planned activity over the last few weeks to promote that product and the brand more widely. It definitely hasn’t hindered us though.
Clearly, luck is on your side, so what else can we expect from you and the OCEAN TEE brand this year?
We have been working on an initiative behind the scenes for a long time now that we are hoping to roll out. It will be a world’s first. Without saying too much, it will combine our plastic free products with a series of educational sessions led by some of the best conservation focused charities on the planet.
I am personally incredibly excited by this as I believe it will have a long term impact on the planet and help to portray golf as a modern, forward thinking sport that is leading the way when it comes to sustainability. We are currently identifying appropriate partners for this from hotel chains to golf course management groups.
We’re also looking for retailers and distributors across Europe to partner with. Ultimately, we want as many people as possible to be talking about sustainability and if my hole in one gets the ball rolling – so to speak – then I will be even happier!
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