One day, a girl and her man decided to ditch the rat-race, buy an old metal box containing some electronic whizzery jiggery, and travel round golfing establishments far and wide, cleaning golf clubs in the sun, rain and wind. Exposed not only to the elements, but to the strange world of golfing people and their idiosyncrasies, this is the story of our journey…..
Following his redundancy from a top City banking job, and my own dwindling portfolio of freelance PR clients (DIY PR becoming unsettlingly de rigeur in this current cash-strapped climate) – my fella had the strangest business idea. Keen on golf (I wasn't much) with no idea about running a business (aha! here I could help), he remembered having his clubs cleaned on a golfing trip to Spain a few years back, and was delighted with the results. Surfing ultrasonic golf cleaning machines for a couple of days, he soon found The One. The One being the most viable of a bunch of what to me looked like metal boxes that you put water in and switched on, making a sharp buzzing noise which irritated my tinnitus. But hey presto – a couple of minutes later, and a whole set of golf clubs emerged clean and new, as though purified in the River Jordan.
Could this work? Would it make money? Would anyone be interested in a couple of ageing lovebirds and their metal box, stationed outside a pro shop or the 18th hole, buzzing away from dusk til dawn to keep cherished iron and wood heads clean and grips sticky and new?
Our journey began a couple of months ago, with a trip to the South Coast to pick up The One, via a Sainsbury's cashpoint where we had to draw the money out of a succession of poorly accounts and hand it over in alarmingly small denominations to our supplier. Rattling all the way home in the back of our rumbling saloon, the new box took pride of place at the front of the garage while we started on phase two – getting a booking!
Investment being difficult on account of the fact we were quite frankly, skint, we bought a cheap domain name and set up a page. Vistaprint provided some business cards for our new venture, which we named Clear Swing, magnetic car door plates and a lawn sign, and my trusty printer banged out a few posters which we could put into our new A-board. All this, the machine, buckets, power cables, towels, cleaning solution and a box of tokens, all crammed into the car ready for the first journey. The door plates fell off almost immediately – and are probably somewhere on the A14 even now – and the A board caused a nasty finger pinching injury, but we were set!
Our local golf club being just down the road, and my fella being a regular down there, they were more than happy to try out our service. At no cost to them, just a power and water supply, we provide an extra service to their members and feature at competitions and tournaments, and we give a percentage of our proceeds to their Juniors fund. We have regular days at our local club and a golf/hotel complex in Cambridge, and a few upcoming charity day bookings – we give a percentage to these charities to thank them for letting us visit and to support their worthwhile causes. We are only two, and there are big franchises out there, but our personal approach, love of the game and attention to detail are doing us proud.
Since that day, we've had an incredible time, and now visit various clubs a few times a week. It's early days still and we need more dates, more places to visit as well, but things are going well. Please join us on our journey into new waters (and bunkers!) as we chart our ups and downs, and the surprisingly eccentric world of golf and golfers – to me a whole new breed of human being – almost a secret faction actually. The most unlikely people enthusing about this bizarre sport but all joined together in its fascination. And our joint and individual journeys of discovery about this game. He has swapped nine to five hours for five to nine irons with enthusiasm, commitment and passion. I've hung up the LBD's and heels for a selection of golfing clothes with as much commitment but admittedly less enthusiasm for the fashion (golfing – fashion – two words that surely seem ill juxtaposed?) but wherever this venture leads us we will do it together.