PUTTING PURITY BACK IN THE GOLF SWING
There is an entrepreneurial pedigree in the offices of PureForm Golf. Its four directors have vastly different experiences, but each is brought together by their will to achieve success at the highest levels.
First there is Rugby League legend Steve Menzies, who was known as one of the NRL’s most fearsome defenders.
Then there is Paul Jenner, a talented junior golfer in Australia with over 30 junior and amateur tournament wins between 1991- 1997 and a qualified PGA professional. Personally experiencing the difference that custom built clubs bring to the game, Paul was drawn to the world of equipment testing and custom club building, and is one of the only qualified PGA Professionals in Australia offering tour quality fittings and club building to golfers at all levels.
Cris Chen is the owner of the successful chain of Phoenix Restaurants in Sydney.
And then there is James Osborn, who comes from a long line of successful businessmen – his grandfather was one of Australia’s most successful businessman and rubbed shoulders with the late Kerry Packer and a number of former Prime Ministers.
The four have vastly different backgrounds, but they were brought together via a love for golf, a shared entrepreneurial passion and a vision to fill a gap in the global market, where there was a need for high-quality club fitting and building.
PureForm was conceptualised after Osborn, spurred by a love for golf but frustrated by rushed fittings and incorrect specs for his clubs, sought the expertise of PGA Pro and club fitter to the professionals, Paul Jenner. From here the idea for a new business was born.
What does PureForm do?
PureForm tailors golf clubs to suit each player’s game. Using the “TRACKMAN” system, comprising NASA developed advanced doppler radar imaging and tracking system, Pureform converts over two dozen readings on a player’s swing and resulting ball flight data using its proprietary ‘PureFit’ system and the expertise of its fitters to generate optimal heads and shaft combinations for each player. The recommendations allow the player and fitter to test a handful of filtered options from potentially hundreds of options for each club, with dramatic improvements immediately visible for low and high handicappers alike.
The idea was a winner, as you’d expect from four people who are driven to succeed.
Looking back at Osborn’s history, it is no surprise that PureForm has come to the position it is in today.
In part this success stems from lessons learnt from his grandfather.
“He (Osborn’s grandfather) was one of Australia’s most successful businessman,” Osborn says.
“He was on the board of Crown, Westpac, Qantas and was Chairman at Rothmans International, Wormald and BP. I guess growing up, he was the dominant influence in my life and his success inspired me to get into business.”
Of course different eras parlay into different attitudes and James Osborn had his own ideas about the way he would conduct his business life.
It was more entrepreneurial than his grandfather, but has been no less effective.
Osborn’s business-building career effectively began in 2005 with mintshop.com.au, an online clothing store selling well known Australian Fashion Labels including Ksubi, Sass & Bide & Nudie Jeans. He later sold this business in 2010. It was here that he learnt about systemisation.
“It really showed me the importance of having procedures and leveraging technology to systemise a business. Plus I gained great skills in e-commerce and digital marketing platforms, albeit only a few where around back in 2005.”
Osborn is matter of fact about business.
He says Mint was “simply an opportunity in fashion that presented itself.”
When he received an offer to sell, he did so because as he says, every business should have an exit strategy.
“Whether you are in business for one year or 40 years, you have to have an exit strategy.”
Little Rascals was next, an online start up delivering ‘’best for baby, best for you’’ baby products to the doors of busy, time poor Mums and Dads and then Oz Services Group, an online handyman and home services company.
Osborn built this into a three-states operation with over 50 employees and contractors. Again, this was another business that exploded with digital marketing.
“We increased turnover 5 fold in one financial year by thinking outside the square and conceptualizing a strategy that we executed through digital marketing platforms to drive leads.”
By the time he received an offer for Oz Services, Osborn was a young family man with a mortgage and all the associated pressures that brings.
He wanted a new challenge: one that was grounded.
“The digital space was too hit and miss, I wanted some bricks
and mortar business that provided more stable cash flow,” Osborn says.
Osborn then went and started two businesses within as many months. Cov Hair Bar in Sydney’s upmarket suburb of Mosman and Kingswood Coffee in Sydney’s CBD.
During that time, Osborn, a keen golfer, had approached Paul Jenner to fit his clubs. Jenner simply changed the shafts in Osborn’s clubs and built them using a process called ‘Flat Line Oscillation’ (FLO) to rotate each individual shaft into the most stable position, thus dramatically increasing distance and decreasing dispersion. The effect was immediate, with Osborn dropping 7 strokes off his handicap.
“I called him and said you have a phenomenal product and asked him if he wanted to take his business to the next level?
“Months later I received a phone call from Jenner and the next thing we were on a plane to America.”
Prior to their US departure, Osborn put together a concept proposal and along with Jenner, pitched the idea to a number of reps from the major brands.
Osborn says, “The common response was ‘build your facility and we will decide then if we are to supply you’.”
As it was not an option for the directors to invest $500k on a state of the art facility without local supply, they were forced to enter a supply agreement with a US counterpart.
However, that presented its own problems.
“We grew too quickly. After a few golf blogs published our entry into the market, we were booked out six weeks in advance before our doors even opened. Then the supply company couldn’t keep up with our orders and hence our lead times of customers receiving their golf clubs blew out and so we had to pivot and form relationships locally so we could keep control of the manufacturing.”
The business shifted its supply local along with its manufacturing to its HQ in Sydney and the boys haven’t looked back.
“PureForm is a beast all of its own and I have never been more excited about a business,” Osborn says.
Osborn believes that through PureForm’s level of service and technology it has changed the retail offering in the golf industry and he believes there are endless opportunities ahead.
As the business has grown he has integrated all the skills he has learned in business. He has called on his professional network and they have become key people within the business. These key people, from various fields, are an integral part of the management team and are huge factors in their rapid growth and execution to date.
As if to test the theory of the technology behind the fitting, Osborn himself has taken his handicap from 13 to 6. He says that is all due to the equipment.
“What people don’t understand is that not only can we get every customer hitting it longer and straighter, we can also fix common swing faults, like a slice, just through equipment. By simply changing the weight of a club we can change the swing path and hence ball flight of the chosen golfer, it is remarkable to see this happen. Our offering is simply exceptional. The gains we give clients can’t be questioned. There is no golf retailer in the world you can walk into and get the results we give. We sell the best head and shaft combination at PureForm utilising heads from the major brands and Tour Quality aftermarket shafts facilitating hundreds of fitting options. This combined with our production turnaround times. Customers can get fit for a custom driver in the morning and be on the golf course with it by the afternoon. I think this is a major factor in our rapid growth.”
So how does a fitting at PureForm actually work?
Customers book an appointment from 30mins to 4 hours (depending on what club/s the golfer is looking to improve). The customer will hit balls on Trackman with their current golf clubs, taking the best 6 shots to help set a baseline for improvement. Once the customer’s baseline is set the information gathered from Trackman and the PureFit system will lead the fitters to 4-5 specific aftermarket shaft options and 4-5 major branded heads. The PGA Member carrying out the fitting will then recommend the best head and shaft combinations from this data to basically blow your old clubs out of the water! From that analysis, they then have their clubs either re-shafted (golfer keeps existing heads in his clubs and has new shafts installed) or have a brand new set built from scratch to suit their style of play.
The reasons that PureForm Golf delivers a more refined product than stock offerings is because we have the data from over 10,000 fits, the best head and shaft combinations utilising heads from the major brands and Tour Quality aftermarket and our hand built, detailed assembly process.
“Buying off the rack is like getting dressed in the dark from a pile of clothes on the floor that are all different sizes.”
High Handicappers, Low High Handicappers
At PureForm Golf a golfer of any skill level, age or gender is made to feel comfortable, with the same attention to detail as if they were a PGA tour player. The club fitters share the same great love of golf
and want to ensure the best results and enjoyment from each fitting, no matter if you are a PGATour Player or a Weekend Warrior playing off 25!
“Most people have a favourite club in the bag…the reason they hit that one club better than all the rest is the shaft happens to be aligned properly and the flex of the shaft comes closest to suiting their timing and tempo. When you buy a set of clubs from PureForm Golf, every club in the bag will be your favourite club!”
“We are here to support golfers enjoy the game of golf,” Osborn says.
The business was built with agility. Because it started small, it has allowed PureForm to quickly pivot and identify procedures in their business that need to be made less reliant on training, development and labour. This business is built around giving its customers quantifiable results through technology. There is no guessing in what they do, it is all science.
As Osborn says “If you hit the ball 30m further and 25% straighter in your fitting, this will 100% translate to the course. It is undeniable. The doppler radar technology we use was created by NASA. The numbers simply don’t lie.”
“If we can’t improve your game, take up lawn bowls!”
It is no surprise PureForm has even attracted PGA tour players including Peter Lonard and Robert Allenby, who have sung PureForm’s praises.
“We don’t pay golf professionals. PureForm is a brand. They come to us because we are the best at what we do. We look at so much data around ball flight including landing angles, peak heights, spin rates and distance. We gain quantifiable results for all our customers. Every single golfer walks out hitting it longer and straighter, every time. It doesn’t matter if you are just taking up the game or a PGA Pro, we get undeniable results”
Osborn says there is no other business in the world that delivers the results they do. PureForm has 30,000 hitting combinations.
“Our proprietary fitting system is unsurpassed. Every time a customer hits a ball in any of our facilities, we keep 28 parameters of data about that swing. So you can imagine we have millions of pieces of data to analyse to help our fitting system evolve. From this data we have disproved a lot of old club fitting theory. We data mine to develop learnings that no one else can know (without this mass of data) and then track that to a certain shaft and head characteristic. Hence the results we give to customers are unlike anyone has seen in this industry. No company or person can change someone’s game in such short space of time like we can, it’s really incredible to see this day in day out”
Despite there being 30,000 combinations, there is generally only one or two combinations that actually work for each customer.
Osborn says “When you un- derstand this you, A, understand how we get our clients such huge gains and, B, how it is a statistical impossibility to walk into any other retailer and buy golf clubs that actually suit your unique swing. Its real needle in a haystack stuff.”
However as the data keeps growing, so do PureForm’s learnings and recommendations.
And in regards to the equipment PureForm sells, “we only deal with the big brands that supply the best product. We can fit to every major brand in the market. Companies like Callaway, TaylorMade, Nike, Cobra and Mizuno are our lifeblood and we use their product within our fitting system to achieve outstanding results.”
“We are leading the way. No one can compete with our tech.”
PureForm has created a whole new market in golf.
“Every day we give golfers better gains; they hit their driver 30 metres further and straighter and their irons 20m further and straighter. All of a sudden they are playing an approach 50 metres closer to the hole. That is how we measure ourselves. People hit it longer and straighter and they enjoy their game more.”
With an entrepreneurial glint in their eye and that attitude that has driven their careers to consistent successes no matter what they have turned their attention, the PureForm directors are now turning their attention to becoming a global leader in golf equipment. Currently they have Sydney and Melbourne locations, with the expansion into the Hong Kong operation also just months away. There is also their mobile fitting van, which can service Golf Courses and Driving Ranges.
Osborn is in the final stages of developing franchise documents and is seeking partners domestically along with expressions of interest from potential partners around the world.
After just two and a half years, PureForm has achieved its goals because the boys’ attitude of you ‘have to start the way you want to finish’ has never wavered.
It is that attitude that determines what the limits are, but for the guys at PureForm it is clear that they really do live by the mantra of ‘No Limits’.
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