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Greenville Business Magazine

Quick Fix Golf Aims to Bring Personalized Golf Instruction to Your Cellphone

Oct 04, 2023 05:16PM ● By David Caraviello

The ball keeps going farther, and the club heads keep getting larger. But Darren deMaille believes the most powerful weapon a golfer possesses is a cellphone.

“The cellphone is the future of everything. Right in the palm of your hand is instant access. So why not add golf instruction to it?” said deMaille, a golf instructor in Murrells Inlet. “The pandemic was really an eye-opener as to how we can do everything over Zoom meetings and the internet. So, we just thought, why can’t you get your golf swing fixed in the comfort of your own backyard?”

It was that inspiration that led deMaille and fellow teaching pro Bobby Lopez to develop Quick Fix Golf, which has entered the $30K PowerUp startup competition presented by Integrated Media Publishing and Erik Weir. Golfers battling the shanks, chili-dips, or some other issue download a video of their swing to the Quick Fix Golf app, and within 24 hours receive video instruction from deMaille or Lopez to correct the problem.

“We’ll go through your swing, and we’ll show you what you’re doing wrong. That will be about a five- to eight-minute recording. And then after that, we’re going to attach about 20 minutes of drills that we want you to practice,” deMaille said. “So, at the end of it, you get this nice, 40-minute presentation of what you’re doing wrong with your swing, how you’re going to get better at it.”

Easing the intimidation factor

Lopez, the founder of Quick Fix Golf, has been teaching since 1970 and works out of Patterson Golf Park in Richmond, Virginia. DeMaille, the company’s director of instruction, has been teaching golf for over 20 years and currently works out of Tupelo Bay Golf Center in Garden City. The two have largely been self-funding Quick Fix Golf to this point, deMaille said, and the company is currently working with about 75 clients.

While golf saw a surge of interest during the pandemic, the sport still bleeds off 3 to 4 million players a year. And even though instruction is readily available at public golf facilities, the intimidation factor remains high — which deMaille believes lends itself to an app-based instructional program that doesn’t involve walking into a clubhouse full of regulars or hacking it up in front of strangers on the practice range.

“That’s the biggest hurdle that people need to get over. Once they come in for a lesson in person, they’ve done the hardest part,” he said. “When somebody’s taking a lesson, they’re putting themselves on a stage or in an atmosphere they’re not used to, so it is very intimidating. And golf is hard. At the end of the day, people just want to fit in. Your buddies can also give you a hard time about taking lessons. No one needs to know you’re doing it from home. So, there are definitely a lot of benefits.”

And while there are similar enterprises that use artificial intelligence to correct a golf swing, “I don’t see how that’s going to work,” deMaille said. “We base our instruction on the individual and their habits and tendencies. We don’t try to teach them a model. That’s where I think AI is going to fall short. The human factor is lacking there.”

‘Aggressive’ target of $1.146 million in sales

A 30-day “quick start” program at Quick Fix Golf costs $97, according to financial information submitted by the company. A full membership runs $14.95 per month, with an additional three-lesson package costing $139. The company estimates that the average total amount a customer would spend on Quick Fix Golf in one year would be $554.

According to the company’s business plan, a worst-case financial scenario three years in would involve gross sales of $657,155, and gross revenues after debt service of $227,031. An aggressive financial scenario three years in would involve gross sales of $1.146 million and gross revenues after debt service of $303,250.

“We’re actually afraid that we won’t be able to accommodate all the work that we anticipate,” deMaille said. “We just need to get fractions of a percent of people through our advertising. And we don’t see that as much of a problem.”

The top finisher in the $30K PowerUp competition receives $15,000, while second place earns $10,000 and third place $5,000. DeMallie said the money would go toward start-up costs including the completion of the Quick Fix Golf app — while it’s currently available in the iOS App Store, deMaille said the app is only about 80 percent complete because the company’s app developer recently left for another position elsewhere.

Quick Fix Golf is currently seeking funds to hire a replacement, he added. After that, the company plans to turn its focus to advertising. “But the first thing on the agenda is getting that app finished,” deMaille said. “We’re hoping we’ll be very close within the next two or three months. So, we’re trying to find somebody who can clean up and polish the last few pieces of it.”