I worked at Sycamore Ridge Golf Course in Spring Hill KS for 8 years — that’s how I got into the golf industry. I’ve always loved golfing and working at the course gave me some experience. My fifth year of working there I realized I had seen every type of golf training aid available to golfers. While most of them were very useful I noticed there wasn’t any type of effective device or aid on an actual golf ball. After doing some research and looking into golf ball training aids I noticed the only aid on actual golf balls was a simple line used for putting purposes that golfers and the pro’s use. I thought to myself there really must be something more out there but further research gave me the conclusion that there were no aids on actual golf balls that could help golfers with all aspects of golf. This included driving, short game, and putting.
After about a year of research and development I came up with the very first prototype for a golf ball training aid. I then took it to the Washburn Small Business Development Center for some help. They helped me with product design and production. After another year of research and development I came up with the final design that seemed to work. The six sighted golf ball training aid was created. Further testing indicated that the Sights lined up on the ball actually did help with focus, accuracy, stance, and training for golfers. It was after the research, development, and patenting the method that the Sight Ball business was ready to go.
I’ve had a lot of support with the Sight Ball business from friends, family, and the people I have worked with, but the people who have been the biggest help, and biggest mentors to me have been Karl Klein from the Washburn Small Business Development Center, and my parents Steve and Barbara Briggs. Karl helped give me the resources I needed to start the business when I came to him with the prototype and has helped me since the beginning. My parents have not only given me support to start the business but they have been a big inspiration for me as well. Both of my parents have worked hard to get to where they are in life and I hope to be like them someday. These mentors have given me the motivation to start and grow the business. Every sale I make not only gives me the motivation to keep going, but it makes me want to find a way to get Sight Ball in the hands of golfers so they can improve their game.
Matt Ward: Golf training aids, of all types and time frames, have always been about making the game easier for players. Some have been vastly successful — others much less so. What makes Sight Ball, in your mind, one that is clearly the former?
Harry Briggs: What makes Sight Ball better than the other training aids out there is that it is an actual golf ball. Other training aids you see do help you improve your game but Sight Ball is one of the first actual golf ball training aids that helps golfers improve in all aspects of golf. This includes, driving, short game, and putting. It is what I like to call, golf’s most convenient training aid.
MW: Was there any specific moment or circumstance that served as your inspiration for the product?
HB: The biggest inspiration for actually pursuing and inventing this product was working at the Sycamore Ridge Golf course. I would see golfers practice with all of these different type of training aids that they couldn’t take out on the course. If you are going to train with anything, it should be an actual golf ball and working at the golf course was what gave me the idea and inspiration to give golfers a product that they could use while they were out practicing their game.
MW: How long did it take from idea conception to final product form?
HB: It took about two and a half years before the idea became a full business. As soon as I got the idea I started the designing process. I actually started by drawing different designs on plastic golf balls with a marker. I finally found what I thought was the best design and then took it to the Washburn Small Business Development Center which helped me start the business.
MW: Is the product better suited for higher handicap players versus lower?
HB: Sight Ball is better suited for golfers with a higher handicap and those that are just beginning. Even though experienced golfers with lower handicaps enjoy using the Sight Ball Method to aim their ball, this product is mainly suited for those golfers out there who are just beginning or want to get better. Anybody who golfs can use Sight Ball to improve and gain a new perspective on hitting their ball however it does give those golfers who are just starting their golf training an advantage to gain a new muscle memory.
MW: How are you marketing the product beyond your Website?
HB: This product hasn’t been out long and has already grown beyond what I thought it would. I market the product anyway I can which includes going to trade shows, social media, as well as going to different golf courses around the area to tell golfers of this fantastic product. Meeting golfers face to face really helps with the growing process because they get to meet me in person and see how this product works. They then can tell other golfers of the ball that you can use to aim and improve your game.
MW: Suggested retail price for the Sight Ball is?
HB: Golfers can go to the website at Sightball.com and get either a six pack of Sight Ball for $14.95 or a bucket of Sight Balls which includes 36 balls for $69.95.
MW: Is product available now in green grass shops or big box golf retailers such as Golf Galaxy, Golfsmith, PGA Tour Superstores, etc, etc?
HB: I am currently in the process of getting Sight Ball into retail stores such as Golfsmith, Golf Galaxy, golf clubhouses, and other retailers. One of my goals is to try to get the Sight Ball Method on other golf ball brands. Not only do I want to see Sight Ball in golf retail stores so that golfers can easily get the product, but I want them to be able to have the Sight Ball Method on their favorite brand of ball.
MW: What’s been the reaction from golfers who have tried the Sight Ball?
HB: The reaction with golfers using Sight Ball has been very positive. Golfers who buy a package of Sight Ball end up going back to the website to buy again. The biggest reaction from golfers is of course the six sights on the ball and they have told me many times that they enjoy actually having a golf ball that they can aim with and use on the course.
MW: Are any PGA or LPGA teachers using the product that you are aware of now?
HB: After going to a few trade shows for Sight Ball I got to meet many PGA and LPGA pros. Many of them have expressed interest in the Sight Ball Method and I have sold a number of packages to them and their students. I do plan selling more to them this next golf season since Sight Ball has grown and golfers have become more aware of the product. Pros enjoy having a ball that they can actually aim with.
MW: Often innovative products draw the attention of much larger companies for a possible future purchase. Are your plans to keep the company under your domain for the foreseeable future?
HB: The future of Sight Ball is limitless. While there may be many big companies that may become interested in Sight Ball in the future I want to hold on to the business as long as possible and grow it which includes developing other products. I would be very interested in partnering or growing the business with other companies though. Being apart an already large market is great and I look forward to the future.