In March this year, Power Tee celebrated its 21st Birthday.
When Martin Wyeth, an engineer by trade and an entrepreneur by spirit, learned to play golf, he found it difficult to establish any sort of rhythm in between his swings. Hitting one massively wild slice and then surprisingly following it up with an impressive second shot, he never understood what he did differently from shot to shot.
Martin decided to engineer a machine that could re-tee the ball for him and eliminate that uncertainty. This was the start of an amazing journey, Martin and his wife Clare, used the concept to found Power Tee in the United Kingdom in March 1996.
Success in Europe
The Power Tee UK and European Headquarters are situated in Swindon, UK. Power Tee, which caters to novice and advanced golfers alike, is continuing to have significant success throughout UK and Europe, with its product installed in more than 60 percent of the commercial golf ranges in the United Kingdom and Ireland and within the cornerstones of Europe.
A personal highlight for Martin came in 2009, when Power Tee received an award for innovation from Queen Elizabeth II herself.
With the company growing exponentially, Martin and Clare faced a crossroads: They could sell the company, consolidate the U.K. business and grow into Europe, or they could keep the U.K. business as is, grow into Europe and expand to the United States. After realizing the enormity of the U.S. market for automated golf tees, Martin Wyeth said, the decision was an easy one.
“The U.S. market for Power Tee is approximately $1.7 billion, and nobody is doing it,” he said. “We felt that if we were to sell the company before coming here or to ignore it completely, would not really be doing the product a good service.”
Adjusting to America
Upon moving to Ponte Vedra, Florida in 2009, the Wyeths’ high expectations were first suppressed due to the country’s recession and the golf industry’s consequential fall from grace, with Martin noting that approximately 3,000 golf courses had closed between 2009 and now.
Martin explains “Power Tee, is dependent on bank debt because the company rents the equipment to range operators and sells the rental contracts to banks in exchange for capital to grow the business. During the recession, the banks “disappeared” and refused to take on the contracts.” Because if this, the only income US Power Tee received, was a drip of money from customers, meaning there was essentially no working capital for the business.
“We’ve been here for seven years on a sort of standstill basis, waiting for the economy to recover and waiting for golf to recover,” Martin said.
But now the economy has recently begun to recover, he added, with golf participation reportedly back to about 30 million people.
“There’s a sense of optimism in the golf industry,” he said.
As a result, Power Tee has also experienced a recent streak of good fortune, including the endorsement from Jim Furyk, who was recently named U.S. team captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National – a Power Tee customer. The company was also recently recognized by the PGA as one of the industry’s most interesting products at its merchandise show in Orlando this year.
“Everything seems to now be working in our favour,” said Martin, whose Power Tee product is installed in 20 different locations around the United States, including in the Jacksonville area at the University of North Florida, Queens’ Harbour Yacht and Country Club and within Edwin Watts golf stores.
With 14,000 country club ranges, 1,000 driving ranges, 30 million golfers and a more positive economic environment, Wyeth truly believes the sky is the limit for Power Tee.
“The climate is here for growth,” he said. “And right now, we’ve got this great alignment of things going on. We have the Furyks, the golf show award, the Ryder Cup with the Le Golf National association. And most notably, golf is back again.”
Power Tee continue to develop their product, with continual research and development and testing. The latest version is being very well received with new and existing customers.
Power Tee www.powertee.co.uk