This year’s prestigious HSBC Golf Business Forum Innovation Award has been won by Golphin Ltd (Golphinforkids) http://golphinforkids.com/ – the Scottish-based company who designed and now manufacture a unique set of golf clubs which is revolutionising the way children aged 3-11 around the world play the game.
Calum McPherson – Managing Director, says, “Our range, designed in Scotland – the Home of Golf – in 2013, was inspired by the lack of suitable and accessible products for children within this age group. At the time, normal junior and kids clubs were too heavy, causing the children to sway and lose control. In effect, the club was swinging the kid, rather than the kid swinging the club.
“Using technology transfer from the aerospace industry we have created clubs which are 30% lighter, but just as strong and flexible. This provides children with an easier swing and allows them for the first time to naturally maintain their balance and instinctively to hinge and rotate their wrists and arms on the backswing. Which is what they should be doing. Our club heads are larger than traditional junior clubs, making it easier for children to connect with the ball.
“We have added a radial profile on the sole, making our clubs forgiving for variable lie angles. This feature accommodates different address positions and heights of children. All of these factors combine to provide young kids with an enjoyable, fun-filled and confidence-building experience on the golf course for the first time.
“By September 2013, thanks to funding, we had secured the assistance of the Advanced Materials Forming Centre, Strathclyde University, Glasgow and the first prototype had been designed and manufactured. We then conducted trials with three PGA golf professionals and opened discussions with the R&A, who have been positive throughout.
“Trials on the final prototype were conducted at seven locations across the country, including Paul Lawrie’s Golf Centre. The results showed 94% of participants performed at a higher level using golphinforkids clubs. In December 2013 the first clubs went into production.
“In March 2014 we launched at the Scottish Golf Show. Our English launch took place in July at The Open Championship in Hoylake, where our new clubs were exclusively selected by the R&A as the coaching product for the Swingzone coaching event. In January 2015 we travelled to the PGA Merchandising Show in Orlando, Florida. Whilst exhibiting at the event we met with various coaching organizations and governing bodies.
“This included the Titleist Performance Institute, the world’s largest coaching organization. They were so impressed with our clubs and approach to kids golf development they have selected our clubs as the product of choice for their 15,000 golf coaches to use in their coaching programs. In addition, we signed lucrative supply contracts with several major national golfing governing bodies.
“In 2015 The R&A again exclusively used the product in the Swingzone at The Open Championship at St Andrews. The French Federation de Golf purchased our product to promote junior golf as part of their Ryder Cup 2018 legacy program. Active Schools Edinburgh, Active Schools Ayrshire, ClubGolf Scotland, Fife Golf Partnership and the Confederation of Golf Ireland have all invested in golphinforkids to assist with their kids golf initiatives. Golphinforkids was also the product chosen by ClubGolf Scotland for the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup kids golf event with some 2,800 kids experiencing a PGA demo of golphinfokids at the event. And over 200 UK PGA golf professionals stock the product in their shops. Plans are afoot to launch Golphinforkids to China at the Beijing Golf Show.”
The R&A’s Executive Director, Duncan Weir, says: “The high-quality and versatile golphinforkids kit is very impressive. It is certainly well-geared for getting youngsters into golf and helping to address the undoubted participation issues the sport is currently facing here in Great Britain and Ireland. Getting youngsters interested in playing sport is admirable and, within golf, many people are doing their very best. One such example is golphinforkids CEO, Calum McPherson, whose product range is making a significant impact.”
The HSBC Golf Business Forum Innovation Award attracted more than 100 entries this year – compared with 89 last year- and 11 entries were selected for judging by an international panel of experts comprising Giles Morgan- Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, HSBC; Joseph Beditz- President, National Golf Foundation; Andrea Sartori- Global Head of Sport, KPMG; Antony Scanlon- Executive Director, International Golf Federation; Carin Koch- 2015 European Solheim Cup Captain; Eric Lynge – CEO, Asian Golf Federation; Tim Merrett- Senior Vice President of all Turf Divisions, John Deere; Du Sha- Chairman, Pacific Links International; Alastair Johnston- Vice Chairman, IMG; and Xavier Asensi- Managing Director of Asia Pacific, Barcelona FC.
The shortlist of entries that was considered by the panel came from: Moore Park Golf Club, Golf Stream Inc, Golphin Ltd, Golf Voyager Ltd, Piza Golf Design, Swingbot, Turner Sports, Ayrshire Golf Company, TurfLynx, All Square and SkyTrak.
This year’s winner Golphin Ltd (Golphin for kids) was announced last week at the HSBC Golf Business Forum after Calum McPherson pitched to the room his company, how they have got to where they are now and their plans going forward. There was then a 10 minute question session led by the expert panel of Dr Paul Hawkins (Founder of Hawk-Eye Innovations), Jim Nugent (Founder and Publisher of Global Golf Post) and Matthew Kirkby (HSBC Regional Head of Large Corporates, Asia Pacific, Commercial Banking) after which Calum was presented with the trophy by Dr Paul Hawkins (pictured).
Michael Pask, Senior Vice President of IMG, said: We would like to congratulate Golphin Ltd for standing out amidst a number of very compelling entries to win this year’s HSBC Golf Business Forum Innovation Award. Golphin’s enthusiasm and creative approach to improving children’s golf equipment was demonstrated clearly through their presentation and submission and by partnering with the golf industry at an amateur and professional level they have undoubtedly made the game more appealing to juniors. Ultimately, our panel of experts from the world of finance, innovation and media were conclusive in crowning Golphin this year’s winner.
Golphin Ltd (Golphinforkids) http://golphinforkids.com/