Creator and President
DROP NOT GOLF, LLC
Interview with M. James Ward
McGill graduate and now lives in San Diego, Recently retired from flooring and window covering industry. Avid golfer in Southern California. Golf is his passion. Being a Canadian by birth and an American by choice, he he grew up with a hockey rink on his back lawn and was fortunate to have been a certified ski and tennis instructor, as well as a ski patroller.
THE ADLER STORY:
I sold my flooring and window covering company a year before Covid. I had about 175 employees and lots of vehicles and moving pieces.To me, I had completed the business “hat trick.” I found and successfully purchased a bankrupt company and turned it into a very successful, well organized business operation 37.years later, after much growth and success, I was able to sell it.
I was fully retired and ready to start a new stress free, relaxed chapter in my life. However, when covid entered our lives, my golf filled days and outings, were abruptly halted, With closures of golf courses, restaurants, movie theaters, health clubs etc we became very home bound.
Chores around the house filled my day. I must have the most organized, clean garage in all of California! One day, I was killing some time and cleaning my golf clubs and realized, once again, I was missing my Callaway driver headcover!. I was upset and disappointed, I kept tracing back my steps, attempting to recall where I could have left it, or where it had simply fallen off my golf club.
It was at that point that I started thinking of a solution to this common problem. I started to think of how many of my friends complained to me about this very same issue and realized that many golfers just gave up and never replaced their missing headcovers. This absence allowed clubs to bang against one another endlessly producing dents, scracthes and divots to the club face.
I have one buddy who’s putter looked like it went thru a lawn mower. I put my ideas on paper, went to an engineer for designs, hired a lawyer for patent protection and trademarks and began to test, test and test again my design samples. I wanted something golfers would be proud to have on a golf bag. Small, discreet and best of all — golf sharp. Finally, I found the perfect trademark name and “Drop Not” was officially born.
The Drop Not device just feels so durable and solid. It looks great and works. When you buy one, you will never lose your headcovers again. Oh, by the way, it has not been all roses — I’ve had lots of set backs and hiccups. I‘ve heard I was ” wasting my time”, more than I wish to admit, but also heard “I love it” and “ I want one.”
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
I try to wake up every day smiling with a zest to make every minute count.
The genesis for Drop Not Golf was what?
To never lose a headcover again.
How does Drop Not Golf differentiate itself from the competition?
Quite frankly, I would be embarrassed to hang one of my competitor’s devices on my golf bag. They look like large, cheap, dog leashes that someone produced in their garage. Drop Not is designed by golfers, for golfers. It is small, durable, easy to use, easy to connect to both your headcovers and golf bag and it is golf sharp. Certainly not an eye sore.
Our goal was to produce a quality device — setting the quality and feature bar higher than our competition. We spent months hunting and choosing each part. An example of this is the incredibly strong, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene cord — known as “UHMWPE”.
This space age material is being tested to replace Kevlar as a bullet proof material! Another example is the clasp that goes on the headcover, the plastic teeth won’t rip your favorite golf headcover or leave teeth marks, but will lock firmly on to various thicknesses of headcovers.
Retail price for the product is?
Covid has certainty increased our cost in so many ways, from raw materials to shipping. Our retail package includes two individual units retailing from $24.95 to $19.95 plus taxes. We will be selling on Amazon and direct through the Website for $19.95 ($24.95 less 20% ) plus taxes and shipping. That is roughly $10 per unit.
From a marketing / sales perspective — what is the approximate percentage in terms of outreach efforts / purchasing via online sales, green grass shops and brick and mortar outlets?
I don’t have any definite sales analysis to share at this time. We have had incredible interest from some major distributors to retailers and we hope direct sales on Amazon will also be strong. One area that we see tremendous potential is the private branding for charity events, resort and event soureigns. We believe Drop Not would be simply perfect for this application.
What’s been the reaction to the product, thus far?
So far, in test marketing we have had tremendous interest. Personally, I cannot go to a golf course or driving range, without someone asking what is that reel. I show them and explain what it’s all about, and without a doubt, they want to buy one on the spot.
Golfers can relate to this product since almost every golfer has lost a headcover, so they appreciate and understand the concept. Also, with the increasing cost of golf clubs, the golfer who purchases these Drop Not devices will benefit by protecting his club face from banging together and damaging the high-tech finishes and grooves on the club face. I often tell people — a banged or dented putter or driver will never play like a new one.
Do you see any value when tour professionals endorse products and do you envision enlisting someone with that in mind in the near future?
Having a Drop Not on two or three tour pro golf bags would be a major plus — specifically for recognition and branding. However in reality, tour players have caddies and have a team that looks after them.
The average golfer does not. Therefore the Drop Not device would be more useful for the typical golfer who plays either driving in a golf cart or is walking.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
My personal pet peeve is the USGA rule where you must play the ball out of a previous golfer’s divot. This is totally unfair in my opinion, and should be considered ground under repair.
I believe a simple lift and clean when a golf ball lands in a divot would be greatly appreciated rule change, at least for amateur players.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
Never say never. I don’t recall who said that phrase to me first. But throughout my life, my mother pushed me to reach for the stars.
My approach has been that with determination and hard work — combined with a thoughtful pragmatic approach — I can make it happen.
The biggest challenges facing Drop Not Golf — short and long term — is what?
As this is my first experience in the golf industry, this has been a fun, exciting, learning experience. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone, doing tasks I’ve never done before, like designing my Website, product packaging, social media marketing and setting up an Amazon store etc.
Covid has certainly caused some problems, from shipping issues to my cancelling out of the PGA show in Orlando this January. Now that my product launch will not be at The PGA Show, my biggest challenge is getting exposure and visibility. This is quite the challenge for a small startup company with limited funds.
Another challenge is anticipating how Drop Not will be used by the average golfer and what issues we can anticipate and prepare the end user to avoid. I expect that Drop Not will soon be available in retail locations throughout the USA and will also be sold directly online.
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