President / Owner
Interview with Matt Ward
Born in Utah, raised in Portland Oregon from 1st grade through junior high. I was very actively involved in sports from golf, skiing, motocross, football, and baseball. Made my first true persimmon woods in 9th grade. Moved to Utah and finished out high school in Utah, then moved soon afterwards to Florida where I went to college, and began my career as a engineer and contractor.
THE PETERSEN STORY —
I’ve always been a hands-on type of person since I was young. Fixing anything from Tonka trucks to building mini-bikes, bicycles with shocks, dirt bikes, street bikes, cars, you name it. As I got older the things I worked on became bigger and more complicated. When I got to college I started in engineering — loved the idea — but could not stand sitting behind a desk for too long. I started my own business and quit school. Went into the communication business — designing and building some of the first fiber optic systems in the USA.
I then got into home building and commercial design. Loved it. In my spare time, I became, again interested in golf clubs — mainly because the feel of golf clubs was something leaving the sport and far too often mass produced equipment was everywhere. I found Miura back in the early 90s, started thinking why does no else do this? The light went on and I started playing with my own irons. Got pretty darn good at it after a few years by talking and learning from the best in this business — such as Endo, and Miura, to name just two. I’ve always been a very good recreational golfer ever since junior high school and even competed in numerous pro-am and local events, but it never crossed my mind to get into the club production business.
Being an entrepreneur at heart I’ve preferred my own route — setting very high standards for myself and everyone wanting to be part of my team. Never settling — always pushing for the hard route — paving my own way. My involvement in golf clubs started as a hobby. I never envisioned producing clubs for masses — still do not. My main goal is delivering the best set of clubs a man or woman can buy. We cap productions at less than 2,000 sets per year and likely will stay there. It’s comfortable and I can control it all. That means I can oversee all aspects from start to finish. I am rethinking the production caps very soon. Things are gaining recognition, this feel, and quality is getting noticed worldwide, and not matched by anything out there — period.
You wake up in the morning what’s the driving passion?
Knowing I am going to deliver another best set to some lucky golfer somewhere in the world!
What was the genesis for Scott Golf USA?
To boldly go and create what no one else can do — design and build the best golf clubs ever made.
When year did Scott Golf USA formally commence activity as a club company?
How long a time frame from the idea in having your own company to actual production of clubs?
Seven years +.
What differentiates your efforts from all others in the golf industry?
I’m a small business so my involvement is almost still a hobby at this time. I stamp my name on every set that goes out, and when someone calls this company, they get a real person — me! I know that’s kind of weird, but that’s what I do.
Who is your customer?
From an age perspective most are 30+ years of age, successful players with handicaps under five with a gender breakdown percentage wise of 90 to 10, male to female.
Your specialization is in irons — do you envision at some point going beyond that to medal woods? Who is your main competition in the iron category today? What specifically do these companies do versus large mass production companies?
Yes, planning now, but will be very limited.
What is the breakdown in terms of what your consumers are buying in the iron category?
The muscle back clubs is roughly 50%, the cavity back is 40% and the remaining is 10% is in the game improvement area with an upgraded model coming out this year.
Who is your main competition in the iron category today? What specifically do these companies do versus large mass production companies? Can small companies that produce golf clubs survive in the long term?
My main competition would be all major brands, however when people get the opportunity to play or try these, the competition is gone, no ones irons feel like this, this is the SCOTT WOW FACTOR. I am not familiar with what or how they carry out daily business, but when you are a smaller company you can cater to your clients much better.
Can small companies that produce golf clubs survive in the long term?
We are going to find out! Most that started small are either gone or very large now.
Plenty of companies routinely tour the importance of customer service. Some do it very well — while others pay little more than lip service. Define the term and your approach.
Customer service speaks for itself — what does the customer want, and what can I do to make them happy. No matter what it takes — going the extra mile and ending up with a long time return customer.
What’s the biggest error golfers make when deciding upon irons and how does Scott Golf USA help in that specific area?
I think most golfers decisions center on cost, and what they see on TV? In the minds of many people if Tiger is playing that brand, they must go out and buy those clubs even though they may not work for them given their respective needs.
What gives you the most satisfaction from your efforts?
Getting e-mails form players all over the world, telling me how great the clubs are and comparing them to some of the most expensive out there and how they over paid for a name, or gimmick commercialism. My irons are second to none — period!
Biggest pet peeve is what?
New companies popping up with some Chinese knock offs claiming they just created a new line of clubs, from guys who could not design a 3D square cube, let alone a club head, or a whole set as each head is a different design, weight, cut, and mold. Knowing darn well they are coming in from a Chinese company that does a good job at redesigning a major brands irons and calling it a new brand. A couple really stick out but no names will be mentioned.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
Course behavioral or anger management centers for those too serious, when playing at local club tournaments. Lighten up, we are here to have fun — we are not on tour!
From your experience how many players have set configurations not appropriate for them and what is the specific area they should be concentrating upon to remedy that?
The number is probably a lot higher but I would guess and say 80% or better have sets just picked up at a sporting good store and they will learn to make the best of what they have. They are fine, however, it is the better players who needs to get better set up, shaft, head, length, lie angle. That would be my first things to look at.
The biggest challenges facing Scott Golf USA — short and long term — is what?
Growth beyond production capabilities is the short term challenge. On the long term side getting washed out in the advertising junk all over out there. The player I am targeting is seeking higher standards and is aware of the gimmick sellers, and their big names. I guess my biggest concern is my longevity — finding a successor.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
That I can accomplish anything, when I was much younger and instilled into me by my father. He was the best man I ever met and knew, and had the pleasure of having in my life for the short time we had him.
Attribution of club photos: Courtesy: Scott Golf USA.
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