William Flood has been Bushnell Golf’s product manager since January of 2019. He currently resides in Olathe, Kan. with his wife and three children. A Clemson grad, he is passionate about golf, his family and his job.
THE FLOOD STORY —
I was born in Wisconsin and played a little golf with my dad and my older brothers. In high school we moved to South Carolina and still only had golf as a “fringe” hobby while I focused on baseball throughout high school. I needed a summer job and was lucky enough to start working maintenance on public golf course in town. Once I started working on a golf course, I was hooked. I started playing more and more and it was a tough choice between going to college for mechanical engineering or turf grass.
I decided to go to Clemson University so if I couldn’t hack it in mechanical engineering. I could quickly switch into turf grass. After college, I worked in engineering and mostly in consumer products. As my love of the game continued to grow, I knew that not only did I want to be in consumer products, I wanted to be in golf consumer products. I’ve been blessed to be around the game in different capacities throughout my life, but being able to bring consumers the best products to help them improve their game is the most fun I’ve had in my career.
The pandemic has impacted a broad swath of the golf industry — what impact is it having on Bushnell?
It has definitely been a challenging time for us all. Bushnell Golf has faced the same challenges every business has faced, disrupted supply chains, updated health and safety regulations, and just the general uncertainty everyone faces day in and out with the pandemic.
How have overall sales been impacted?
All of us in the golf industry have been fortunate this pandemic has brought more golfers out, and we have had two very successful product launches with the Tour V5/Tour V5 Shift Laser Rangefinders and the Wingman GPS Speaker.
Bushnell has been a leader in golf distance finders. Why do you believe that is so?
I believe it is our commitment to accuracy and consistency that leads to golfers trusting the vital yardage information we provide them that makes us the best. Like other top golf brands, we are trusted by the pros. Every golfer has to trust their equipment, your distance measuring device is no different.
How do the products Bushnell creates go beyond what your competitors are producing?
I think it’s our commitment to the golfer, and our tireless pursuit to be the most innovative manufacturer of distance measuring devices.
Who is the Bushnell customer?
All golfers are our customers. Our focus with laser rangefinders is the dedicated golfer that wants to improve. Our GPS product address ease of use and convenience, and our most recent launch, the Wingman GPS Speaker, addresses more of the “fun” element of the game.
Feedback is an essential business tool. How does Bushnell encourage feedback and in what ways has feedback played a role in future new product development?
We love golf and our team is full of golfers of various skill levels. We love to play and interact with our customers, so I think consumer feedback plays an extensive role in our product development. If a customer thinks something will help their game or how they use our products we want to know.
Companies routinely tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach followed at Bushnell.
Customer support in today’s world is a holistic term, you have to care for your consumers, listen to your consumers, respond in a very timely manner to your consumers and have meaningful conversations with them through a variety of channels to be successful.
Just like I am always trying to make the best products, our customer support is responsible for caring for our consumers in a variety of ways. We are continuously trying to improve to do these things at Bushnell Golf in the best way we can to serve our consumers.
Distance finders are permitted in different levels of competition but not at the highest levels of professional golf and the major championships. Do you see that ever changing?
It could, the rules on distance measuring devices have certainly eased over the years where you can now use them in virtually every level of tournament play except the major professional tours. When speed of play comes up, there is always talk about making a push to have them be used, but it has just not reached the point to where this has happened.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
Better enforcement of pace of play, golfers — and people in general — are pulled in so many different directions today and golf needs to be more accessible and less time consuming for our younger generations in an effort to grow the game moving forward.
Biggest challenges – short and long term — facing Bushnell is what?
Short term – even though you can argue this pandemic has been good for golf, it has definitely put strains on our business and people in general throughout the world, and we will all be better off getting this behind us.
Long term – continuing to stay on top in the distance measuring device category and continuing to be the best answer to the yardage solution. It is imperative in today’s market that we know our consumers, listen to their needs, address their needs and keep developing products that meets these needs.
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