Tell me a little bit about your background and how you got started in Golf?
Joel: My background has been FMCG- “fast-Moving Consumer Goods”, working for global multinationals. Mars Australia both in the snack food and Pet care side of things. Moved from mars to Coca-cola and had a stem with them for four to five years and during that time period I had the opportunity to move out of traditional FMCG account management into something, that’s a passion of mine which is sport. That was managing the golf channel for coca-cola and that gave me the first opportunity to experience golf at an industry-based level being the major sponsors of golf in Australia. I was responsible for the sales and marketing strategy.
After Coca-Cola, what was next?
Joel: Through my time at coca-cola I got the opportunity to do some industry based education in partnership with Asia, focusing on retail best practices. Through that opportunity i was asked by Callaway, south pacific to present at their regional conference in New Zealand in Queenstown. At the time met the MD and they asked me if I was interested, having a coffee and whether I was Interested in other opportunities. At the time, I’d said “No”. But we had a coffee and subsequently one thing led to another and had an offer by Callaway to start as a sales and marketing director for South Pacific and then that was ultimately a succession plan for him as he was transitioning out of the business. Ultimately then led me to become a managing director for Southeast Asia South Pacific in India which was really exciting time and good opportunity for some serious growth.
what was the direction from Callaway to in-golf?
Joel: Yes! So my time at Callaway, we made some pretty big changes to the region. We had some large restructures, businesses was in the best it could be. But through some Structural changes we were covering the region differently. So effectively making the region’s smaller, so I took the time to spend with some of the family, couple of young boys. A little one-year-old and my wife was pregnant with number two. At the same time the in-golf opportunity, was on the horizon and I’ve seen some potential in the business and started modeling the opportunity before getting into negotiations and finally getting to a point where we agreed to terms and making that position.
How was the first twelve months in golf?
Joel: I think the first twelve months… it’s been an exciting ride. It’s been a full of learning. To step out of… I guess the comfort of a large global business. At Calloway the cash flow in those businesses isn’t the biggest challenge as it is when you’re running your own small business. It’s been some really good learning at the same time though, there’s been a real hunger and passion amongst the team that we have and we’ve managed to grow the business around 30 percent in the first year which is outstanding for a new business. It hasn’t been all roses in that time. There’s been plenty of challenges and hard times and we’ve overcome a lot of obstacles and as a small business setting up here. Infrastructure and support networks and their partners, banking. It’s been a serious challenge. But I think we’ve made some really good progress and probably moving business to a new position a lot faster.
How do you keep up to date with everything that’s happening in Golf?
Joel: That’s a good question. From a tool perspective, I look at number of the different apps, pages,Golf Channel. The PGA and I follow a lot of different companies on Twitter as well and also by LinkedIn. Then industry reports available and ultimately a lot of its networking. To really be across what’s happening in a local market and staying connected to people that are in the industry. I also like to have a keen focus on what’s happening outside of the industry. Because the industry is benefiting from adopting some of the strategies that are succeeding in other segments and industries at the moment. Being across what’s happening in outside of the industry is just as important as what’s happening inside.
Speaking of Golf Course, what’s your handicap?
Joel: My handicap at the moment is at 14. It’s probably good value at the moment for some compounds. I’d probably struggle to play two at a moment. I’ve played less golf in the last 12 months than I ever have and I’ve been in playing golf since I was 14. So yeah it’s certainly not an exciting number and definitely want to bring it down to single digits.
What’s your number one piece of advice, for someone who is looking for getting a cart?
Joel: First and foremost for me, seeing the market understanding it I would say, the makeup of the vehicle, the quality of the componentry that utilized and how they’re built and then secondly very close to that would be, how they’re been supported by a factory or manufacturer base warranty. The quality of the build and componentry that goes into it and then the warranty that supports it. If its factory backed then you’re in a strong position to have a really good buying experience and you’ve got some assurance knowing that if there is any issues with the vehicle, the owner, in its first four years of life in some cases up to five years for certain parts, you are covered. Versus some of the scaled-down versions if you want to call them, that are available in the industry that are “cost price”, they’re not supported by the warranty that some of the main manufacturers do provide.
So electrical or petrol, what’s your preference?
Joel: I’d have to say, I’m an electric man. I just love the fact that, you can have an Onboard charger and plug it into the wall in any PowerPoint. That’s just perfect. If I have to go somewhere or in a resort you can pull it into garage and just plug it in. I never mess around with fuel filters and spark plug, lots of stuffs. For me, the electrics they go and it’s quiet and they drive really well.
There have been a bit of talk about solar-powered golf carts. What are your thoughts of the market is being biggest as what they anticipate?
Joel: I think the technology or solar panels in golf at this stage will continue to develop. I don’t think it’s probably hit the sweet spot for performance and cost at this stage .There is efficiencies by having an It. But I do think that as battery technology is interlinked with solar power panels and their effectiveness of capturing energy and storing that in the batteries walls out being driven and having the car saving regenerating and feeding back into battery as a combination that’s where it will continue to move to.
We talk a lot about golf carts. But you do utility vehicles as well. Is there a feature utility vehicle?
Joel: Yeah! Look, it’s a really good question. I think my knowledge of the business, to be honest, originally was purely borne out of the golf vehicles and then through some exploratory, what excited me the most in a lot of instances is actually the opportunity for the utilities. They’re designed for little jobs, you know payloads for towing and full functionality electric tip beds… they’ve got all these attachments to utilize the vehicle. For me, it’s definitely an underutilized category. Some industries that use them are embracing them and have done for 10-15 years. But there’s a lot of other industries that are now starting to come on board that have seen the value in these vehicles. A lot of businesses are changing out, Hilux use in replacement of these vehicles. In that regard and the spectrum of where these vehicles have application is far and wide from someone who has a house and land on some acreage for doing domestic chores through to commercial vehicles, airports, garden maintenance and much more.