Sebastian Sebayang brings to TPT Golf a diverse professional background that has touched upon many of the sectors supported by North Thin Ply Technologies’ cutting-edge materials and services — in particular luxury timepieces and jewelry manufacturing. He began working with François Mordisini as CFO of NTPT (a position he still holds) and has been involved with TPT Golf since its inception, and he has extensive experience at all levels of both corporate and startup operations. Although he only recently became an avid weekend golfer, Sebayang’s passion for sports has been lifelong; he played some professional basketball in Asia and is a competitive amateur tennis player. “I could not live without sports,” he says, “and TPT Golf is a passion as much as a business.”
THE SEBAYANG STORY —
Unlike most people in the golf industry, golf found me — not the other way around.
My company develops cutting-edge composite materials, and we’ve been using them to boost performance in several industries: motorsports, luxury watches, aviation, aerospace and yacht racing to name a few.
We realize our technology would allow us to make better performing golf shafts, so our first thought was to sell our material to factories that were already creating golf shaft materials. We contacted a few and they told us our material was much too expensive for the companies they served.
That’s when TPT Golf was born. We decided to make our own shafts.
You wake up in the morning what’s the driving passion?
I’m a perfectionist. We all are at TPT Golf. Our mission is to create the perfect shaft for every golfer. We’re off to a great start, but there’s still much more to do. It’s great to see PGA Tour players using our shafts, but it means just as much when regular golfers are using them. I want every golfer to try our shafts so they can see what they can do.
What was the genesis for the start of your shaft company?
We’re not a traditional golf company, and I think that’s why we were able to find a better way to make a golf shaft. Our parent company, NTPT (North Thin Ply Technology), specializes in looking at things from different angles and offering more effective solutions.
After success in several different industries, we were looking for a new challenge. We became interested in golf shafts, where the leading products were basically all the same. Golf shafts are probably the most difficult “tubes” to create, which also attracted us.
There are plenty of shaft companies in the golf industry — what separates yours from the others?
No one makes shafts like we do. TPT Golf shafts are made with very thin materials, and just as importantly, they’re made by machines. For that reason, our shafts are perfectly concentric. They don’t have a spine. Nearly every other golf shaft on the market is made by hand, which is why there’s so much variation from shaft to shaft. Even Tour players struggle to find a replacement for their favorite shaft when it breaks. Our players don’t have that problem.
If you had to guess at the percentage of golfers who are not using the appropriate shaft for their game what would you say it is?
It depends what you consider “appropriate.” The reason we started making shafts was to give every golfer the opportunity to find the perfect shaft. Using that standard, we would argue that very few golfers are hitting it as far and as straight as they could.
What’s the suggested retail range price for your shafts?
Each of our shafts sell for $700 (USD).
Will people only be able to access them through your Website? Will you be at green grass shops, retail outlets?
Golfers need to use the correct shaft to improve their performance. For that reason, TPT Golf shafts are only available through our very experienced network of authorized fitters. You can find one near you on our website. Our shaft matrix includes 10 different models. A custom fitter will make sure golfers choose the best model for them.
You can change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
A loaded question for sure. We’re certain golfers can play better, play faster and have more fun with properly fit clubs. Most golfers would never consider running a race in shoes that don’t fit, yet they play golf with ill-fitting clubs and are frustrated with their results.
Golf is facing major challenges in attracting newer players to the game — especially among Millennials, women and minorities. If you were advising the major golf organizations what would you advise they be doing?
In every sport, it helps to have a main attraction like Tiger Woods once was. If he can return from injury and be competitive, there’s no question that it will give the game a boost. Can you imagine Tiger in contention at the Masters again? Long term, it’s key for organizations to embrace social media. It brings more visibility to the game and to the players. And even in competitive golf, we shouldn’t forget that it’s all about having fun.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who was it from?
No matter what you do in life, do it with passion and you will be successful. My grandfather told me that.
How essential is tour validation of any key product — especially shafts?
It’s essential because Tour players can feel and see small details. When they select our shafts, it validates the uniqueness of our technology and our approach. Like other shaft companies, we’re focused on offering Tour players the best possible shafts.
Where we’re different is that we’re also focused on delivering the same level of performance to our shafts that aren’t designed for Tour players. We believe all golfers should both have access to the perfect shafts for their game. A golfer’s ability should not dictate their ability to use the best shaft for them.
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