Wednesday April 23, 2014

Golf putter is a success for three local entrepreneurs


The success of an innovative putter grip is growing for three local entrepreneurs, Brad Wallin, Jason Hoium and Drew Krainyk.

The three Weyburn locals are the original founders of the company, JBD Gold, which produces and distributes its patented putter grip design under the brand name of TourMARK Grips.

Jason Hoium handles grip design and website work, while Brad is conducting his services as president and chief executive officer.

The business started at the Weyburn Golf Course in 2004, when Brad, Jason and Drew contemplated a new design that would enhance a traditional style of putter grip.

“It sounded like a make-sense product, so we thought it would already be available. We found aftermarket products that touched on our concept, but nobody had taken it to the level of redesigning the putter grip itself,” said Wallin.

“We knew it was a good concept, but were a little naïve when it came to knowing what it would take to bring a new product to the market,” said Wallin.

Brad, Jason and Drew spent a lot of time at the Weyburn Golf Course testing their product design, before moving on to the next steps. They had continued support from members at the Weyburn Golf Club who tested their prototype Designs and provided meaningful feedback.

TourMARK Grips offer a high performance putter grip, available in two sizes, that includes a powerful rare earth magnet, which holds a ball marker securely in place within the grip’s end cap.

“We worked on product development and market testing for five years, dedicating a lot of our time to our university studies in the process,” said Wallin. He was in business school, while both Hoium and Krainyk were studying dentistry.

Brad was able to apply his university studies to get the business incorporated in 2007. Then in 2010, after completing his university degree, Wallin took on the role as CEO of the company full-time.

The last two years were humbling and rewarding at the same time, as the company has continued to grow. “We have really been able to ramp up sales and distribution during the past eight to 10 months”, with Wallin stating over 800 per cent growth for the company in the last year.

One of the initial successes for the company was a license with the NHL which allowed TourMARK Grips to use NHL team logos in a grip and ball-marker combination.

“At that time, our product was brand new. The NHL team logo concept was a good way to help raise the visibility and credibility of our new putter grip design, and really test the waters in a market close to home,” said Wallin
JBD Golf continues to explore new license opportunities for their TourMARK grip line. The company is currently finalizing an agreement that will allow for the use of team logos from the NCAA, NFL and  Major League Baseball.

“We continue to pursue additional opportunities and now have product distribution in 25 countries around the world.

“The name of the game in our business is to get product placement and strong distribution partners throughout all of our international markets. However, each new market comes with its own unique set of challenges and unforeseen hurdles,” said Wallin.

The most fulfilling thing for these Weyburn entrepreneurs is seeing people using and talking about the product that they have created. Wallin states, “We have tremendous support from the people in Weyburn. It’s nice to see the support for a company like ours, as it is much different than what you might expect in this area of the world.”

“Our competitors are headquartered across various U.S. locations, including Florida and California, while we make our home right here in Weyburn.”


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