It’s a big day here at SIRSHANKSALOT.COM. We are very proud to announce the first ever recipient of our Golf Company Of The Year award… Innovex Golf. We wanted to make an award that celebrated smaller, not so well known golf companies. Companies like Innovex Golf make great products but don’t get the recognition that they deserve. We have also reviewed a few of Innovex Golf’s products. Check out the Innovex System RLS irons and System RLS hybrid.
These guys were exactly what we were looking for when we designed this award. Their clubs are getting rave reviews and the company is only a year old. Most notable recognition came when their System RLS irons earned a “Best of the Best” award from RankMark.com … the largest golf club review website in the world.
You will not find Innovex equipment in your local golf shop because the company sells everything from their website.. www.innovexgolf.com . This is a unique approach to selling something that is such a personal thing. Innovex offers a 30-day money back guarantee and will even send you a free iron and/or hybrid to try…. how many companies do that? Watch for an Innovex Golf demo day in your area too!
We were skeptical of a company that sells strictly off the internet… how can the customer be sure that they get what they want? So we tried it. I soon had a set of RLS irons and a RLS hybrid arrive at my door and off we went to do some testing. Everyone that hit these clubs just raved about them.
We liked Innovex Golf for a number of reasons. They make great products and use good materials. They keep their prices low. They have a great demo offer and money back guarantee… something that is unheard of with most golf companies today. But the thing we liked best about Innovex Golf was the personal service. I have personally talked to Innovex Golf President Kevin Downey on numerous occasions both on the phone and via email… not because I have a website… but because he cares. How many of the big golf companies offer personal service like this?
Five Questions With Innovex Golf President Kevin Downey
1. How did Innovex Golf get started?
In early 2002, I decided that I wanted to help golfers make better purchasing decisions with respect to their golf equipment. I saw too many golfers buying the wrong driver loft, the wrong golf balls, wrong shaft flex, etc, all because the retailers in the industry couldn't, or didn't want to, give golfers the information they need to make sound equipment buying decisions. So I started on a series of articles on golf equipment, some of which have been published, that has culminated in my recently published book, The Art and Science of Breaking 90: A Guide to Modern Golf Course Strategy and Equipment. As these articles were published, I began receiving questions from golfers all over the world, what clubs should I buy, etc. I found that I didn't have a simple answer for them, and didn't want to recommend one brand over another. At that point I decided to create an equipment company that gave people everything they wanted in their equipment at the lowest price possible, thus, Innovex Golf.
What allows us to sell our equipment at such affordable prices is the fact that we sell the product to you directly, thus eliminating the retailer's margin. We also keep the price of our products low by having a very limited marketing budget, we don't pay anybody to play our product and we advertise very little. What advertising we do comes right out of our profits, that budget is not built into the price of the products. We COULD pay tour players to play our product, but simply choose not to because a touring professional does nothing to help YOUR game.
So we started working with a club designer in 2003 that has designed equipment that has won EVERY major tournament on the PGA Tour. We have paid him a fair amount of money to design products that are at the top of the industry in terms of performance. We test these designs both robotically and with human golfers, this gives us the information we need to move forward in the production cycle. Make no mistake, Innovex Golf produces some of the finest irons, hybrids and woods in the industry. Evidence of this is in the independent testing and reviews of our equipment that may be found on various websites and in magazines.
2. How do you plan on getting your clubs into the hands of the general public?
We offer a money-back guarantee on every product we sell. Therefore, there is no risk for the consumer to try our equipment. That being said, we are launching our DEMO PROGRAM this week that will allow golfers to receive one iron and / or one hybrid FREE with a shipping and handling charge dependent upon where the club is going.
Finally, we are going to be doing demo days throughout the country. We are in the process of locating suitable facilities and finding individuals interested in working with Innovex Golf on a commission basis to run the demo days nationally. We are also interested in doing the same in Canada if possible.
3. Where do you see golf club technology going in the next 5 years?
Certainly there are going to be some interesting materials brought into golf equipment, particularly with respect to woods. Steel could make a comeback "wink" but I can't get into the details as to how or why. There are other materials / combinations being tested.
Because size and COR limitations have been set by the USGA, golf equipment manufacturers are going to have to find different ways of marketing their products. Distance isn't going to be the only thing they market. Size of "sweet spot", launch conditions of drivers, gapping between clubs, etc will be some of the things that golfers will see marketed to them in 2005.
4. How has your wholesale-direct concept gone over with consumers? What are positives of selling this way? What are negatives?
Consumers are looking to buy direct more and more in all industries. This a result of communication and delivery technologies that haven't existed before. With respect to golf, I can see more and more companies going the consumer-direct route. It keeps the cost of product down for the consumer, as there is no middle-man, i.e. retailer, to add to the cost.
Customers love buying directly, especially from us. They know they're getting the best price possible, and an award-winning product. That's great for the golfer. Now they can get tour quality equipment for half the price. They just love it.
The positive of going this route is that we don't have to worry about anybody selling our product incorrectly. We make sure that every order goes out on time and to spec. As long as my people do their jobs properly ,which they do, then mistakes are minimized. This is probably why we have a return rate of less than 1%. We go through a very thorough process over the phone to make sure the golfer is getting the right combination of clubs, length, shaft type and flex, and grip size. Doing this makes the customer feel more confident about their purchase, and ensures a minimal number of returns.
The negative of going direct is simply distribution. We only have one point of contact. Therefore, we are going to reach far fewer golfers. But, that's okay. Our goal is simply to be the BEST wholesale-direct golf equipment manufacturer on the planet… plain and simple. If we do that right, everything else will fall into place.
5. You also are the author of The Art and Science of Breaking 90. What can you tell us about that?
It is a book that focuses on course strategy and equipment. I don't discuss the fundamentals of the golf swing, nor do I mention Innovex Golf at any point in the book. It's really a completely separate deal. We are selling the book directly, but we are also going through traditional retailers with the title.
pose of the book is to help golfers shoot lower scores and give them information about equipment that will help them make better buying decisions. The strategy portion is a five-step guide to lower scores. Golfers can get a summary of this by going to www.innovexgolf.com and registering on the site to receive a free copy of this article.
The equipment portion of the book goes into details about club design. I get into drivers, wedges, hybrids, golf balls, club gapping, etc. All of this is in an effort to aid them in implementing the strategic plan properly. The right equipment is critical to "working the plan". I really spend a lot of time on driver loft and the modern ball, as these are two of the most confusing parts of modern golf equipment.
The book is great… every golfer should have a copy. It will hit national retailers here in the States in March.