Stephanie Zinser has a background in Investment Banking and Journalism and is author of the acclaimed book, ‘The Good Gut Guide’. Mother of three children, her challenges now include bringing Lynx back to the heights of prominence as a golf manufacturer and within that, aiming to empower women in golf by producing goods in an environmentally conscious way.
THE ZINSER STORY —
It was when Steve (Elford) and I got together that he was approached about taking on the idea of resurrecting the Lynx Brand. Although I didn’t know anything about golf, I’d heard about the brand and had a gut feeling it was a good marque. He knew a lot about golf, but I knew a lot about finance, marketing and the media. The match was a good one, and it started from there. The irony was not lost on us that we had actually first met when Steve found one of my cats that had sadly been run over. We couldn’t revive that cat, but we found one we could.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
To achieve something every day – no matter if it’s small or large, and to make sure I never waste a precious day on the planet. When you’ve successfully come through being given 3 weeks to live in your early 30’s, the idea of wasting time doesn’t sit well.
How did the initiative to resurrect Lynx occur?
We were approached by someone who knew the owner of the Trade Marks for UK and EU. We thought it was a tremendous opportunity to achieve something meaningful, and a brilliant challenge for us as a couple.
Given the crowded airspace in the golf equipment category — how do you expect to differentiate yourself and stand apart?
There is definitely an appetite for a fresh approach, for someone who does things differently, especially when excellence and innovation are concerned. Since we own the company we can dare to be different. We have nobody but ourselves to answer to.
What distinguishes the Lynx of today versus the company from a number of years ago?
On one level, we want to be the same company in terms of keeping a focus on producing truly innovative, high-performing equipment, and in terms of catering for all levels, ages and genders of golf participants; but we want to be a company who values our customers, our staff, our attention to quality customer care, and above all to help anyone who plays this marvelous game to have fun doing it.
Who is the Lynx customer?
Hopefully all ages and genders. We make clubs from 2-years-old to as long as you can play golf.
Plenty of companies tout customer service and their commitment to it. Define the term and the approach Lynx takes.
Everyone can make a mistake, but we believe it’s how you fix a problem that defines you. And sometimes, in a market where there is so much quality among the brands, it can actually be hard to show how great you are until and unless you get a problem to fix. It is then that you can tell the men from the boys. We never want to make a mistake, but when we do, we as individuals will take ownership of it, and fix it swiftly. It’s our working mantra.
From a rough percentage assessment — how will you market your efforts in America vis-à-vis green grass shops, brick and mortar outlets and online sales?
This is something we are looking at closely right now, as we want to fully assess the American market so we can direct our efforts in the right ways. We have just taken on someone with great experience in the industry to assist us with this. We want to get everything right.
Do product endorsements from those on the professional tours still matter to Lynx?
While there’s a place for professional endorsement, we are not blind to the fact that there have been occasions where endorsements don’t bring what you hope for. Nike pulled out of golf equipment having had Tiger and Rory as ambassadors. I know what that tells me, and in the meantime, I’d rather concentrate on getting the product and technology right than ‘owning’ all the top players.
Having said that, we have made a point of sponsoring some of the top British Women on the Tour, because if nothing else, they desperately need support and I cannot claim that Lynx should be considered a go-to choice for lady golfers if we don’t demonstrate some commitment. We have Dame Laura Davies, Trish Johnson, Becky Brewerton, and Lydia Hall. Laura won two Majors last year playing Lynx – the inaugural US Senior Women’s Open and the Senior LPGA Championship in Indiana. Trish won the Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup. Three wins from four players in one year is a pretty darned good achievement.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
I would put an end to slow play. There are too many top-ranking names who get away with unbelievable slow play, and this filters through to the local golf courses. It is killing the game, both for players and spectators. Plus, if you want to stop the moaning about balls or equipment technology enabling players to hit too far – and of course design’s inability to cope, one answer is to put extra time pressure on players.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
Wow – tough question. I have listened to so many nuggets of wisdom! I love Warren Buffett’s philosophies on finance and running companies, but the thing I follow most closely is something I learned for myself when I was quite young: If someone tells you it can’t be done, prove them wrong and do it anyway. They’re probably missing something.
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