GBN talks to YUMAX Golf Managing Director Roger Wolfe about the company’s development from a golf PR & marketing services operation into a full service distribution business, with a varied portfolio of brands including Skechers, Bushnell and Inrange
How did you get your idea for the YUMAX business?
After a life of being on the road selling Power bars and Nike sunglasses, I co-founded a golf events business with full swing simulators called More Ltd. This business was formed to manage the National Longest Drive competition utilising the technology around the country at European Tour, Ladies European Tour and Senior European Tour events and more. After several successful years, we made the joint decision to part ways. I founded YUMAX in 2007 with the aim of creating an agency that specialised in PR, sales, marketing and sponsorship.
What was your goal at the outset?
My goal has always been to work with industry-leading brands and introduce them to the wonderful world of golf. My first client, Nikon, is a great example. I was able to bring its laser rangefinders into the golf market, as well as helping them with their sponsorship of The Open Championship. This success led to more brands approaching YUMAX to provide similar services, and this was when the agency really started to take shape.
What services do you offer?
In the early days it was about was about PR, sales, marketing and sponsorship, and we have built on that over the years. Today, as a more mature business in the industry, we are a specialist in the distribution of major golf brands across the UK and Ireland, and into EMEA. We take time to assess opportunities and create very clear strategies. Skechers is a great example, a brand unknown in the golfing world just a few years ago is now the number two golf shoe in the market.
What do you think is the most effective form of advertising in the current market?
I believe that for us and our sector of the market, the best form of advertising is collaboration. The retail sector has changed massively over the last few years, mostly due to the new digital technology available to brands. We take an approach that utilises our relationships with retail partners, who are owners of some of the biggest databases in golf and can provide the strongest return on investment to our clients.
We have built up such strong relationships with our partners over the years that it provides one of the best marketing and advertising channels available.
Outside of this space, I believe that the leading golf publications and digital marketing advertising to be highly effective. Our partner, Your Team Digital, provides unique and innovative solutions for those companies looking to push their brand and products towards golfers.
What is YUMAX’s USP?
It may sound a bit corny, but you have to remain humble and be honest. The best way to succeed is to never over-promise and always over-deliver. By doing this you create and maintain relationships that are strong and valuable.
I think one of the main things that is unique about our business is the fact that our thought process is solely focussed on golf retailers and golfers, making our clients products available to golfers when they need it most.
It is essential to build a dedicated team around our clients to ensure we have the best skills on hand. For example, we brought in Gordon Browne, who was previously at FootJoy, to work on the Skechers account. His wealth of experience and knowledge within the golf shoe market has been key to the success of making Skechers the number two shoe in golf.
I think the other important factor about YUMAX is that we are not a ‘catalogue distributor’, we are an extension of our clients and their products. We run and fully manage their business within golf much more like a subsidiary business. We have proven ourselves to be an agency that will take an established brand and discover new opportunities and cement their position in the golf market.
What was the most interesting trend you saw in 2020?
What a year 2020 was! For golf there were some real positives. The most interesting trend that I saw was the value being placed back on golf club memberships. Having previously been involved with Club Systems as Sales Director I could see and understand how mid-level golf clubs relied heavily on memberships as an integral part of their business.
While there are a number of opportunities for new golfers to get into the game and take up flexible memberships, COVID-19 has placed an emphasis on clubs providing opportunities for members to play and really place that value back into the membership base.
There has also been a huge increase in the number of people playing golf and taking up the game. As a business that invests in green grass golf shops, we want memberships to thrive, with the onus placed back onto our Golf Shop Professionals who provide expert knowledge to their customers. In the ‘pyramid of influence’ we want to make sure the PGA Professional remains as a valuable commodity within the golf industry.
What are the company’s goals for 2021?
Our goal for 2021 is to become a fully established EMEA business. We have been successful in the UK and Ireland for a number of years, and these are key markets for us as we look to take our client relationships to the next level. This is already in motion as we look to open YUMAX Golf GmbH to help us service European territories. The challenges presented by Brexit has focussed my mind on making EMEA work as efficiently as the UK & Ireland.
Where do you see your biggest opportunity for growth?
Europe, Middle East, and Africa are key regions to expand into, while giving our brands the ability to flourish in the UK & Irish markets. The nature of our current clients enables us to move into these territories while providing a means for new companies to access them using the services we offer at YUMAX.
Are there any emerging industries you are particularly interested in?
With my background in technology, and full swing golf, I have a keen interest in the tech sector. Because of my time at Club Systems and HowDidIDo, I understand how technology can help golfers get more enjoyment out of the game. A great example of this would be Inrange. New to the golf market, Inrange provides the opportunity to take friends and family, who might not play golf, to the driving range for an enjoyable evening with golf at the core.
The same applies to Bushnell – golfers out on the course are instantly rewarded by using the technology. Using any of the new GPS range you can see the hole you are about to play, plan your shot and execute it. You can also record scores, monitor stats, chart progression, and evaluate your results. Both create a much more immersive experience.
What is your vision for YUMAX over the next five years?
I would like us to be established as the go-to agency for serious brands looking to enter or to cement their position in the golf market. We will do that by being at the forefront of technology, which will enable our brands to reach all partners and customers in the quickest and most effective ways possible.
To get in touch with YUMAX GOLF, visit www.yumaxgolf.com or email email@example.com.