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Let's get vocal about local.

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Let's get vocal about local.

One of the things that make the game of golf soothing to the eyes apart from lush, green, and highly manicured courses are the well-turned up golfers. Usually spotted in a collared t-shirt tucked in a pair of crisp trousers or shorts, finishing the look in an expensive pair of shoes. The added accessories are the golf bags that nestles as per the golfer’s preference, a driver, some irons, possibly some hybrids, wedges, a putter, etc. This is almost like the uniform without which one cannot enter a golf course. And it totally makes sense as it is important to honor the rules and regulations of any sport.

 

In all this, the only thing that is questionable is the dire need to be suited up from top to bottom in big international names that either facilitate in making a statement or succor in merging well with the crowd. This has notably made many international golf gear and golf luxury brands flocking to India. Does this mean that there is a lack of homegrown brands or just a lack of awareness about them? There is no ounce of doubt in stating that the big daddies of the golf equipment and apparel brands have already created a huge space for themselves in the market. Having said that, we are living in a time where local brands and products are getting many eyeballs. So, can this hold some value for the golfing industry as well?

 

One of the brands which pride itself to be born in India is +91 Golf Balls. Standing tall in the city of Bharuch with the head office in Mumbai, the company is successfully running its factory for a few years now. Specializing in manufacturing multiple varieties of golf balls, the brand was established with the idea of introducing affordable products in the market. “The concept took 4-5 years to come to existence because we were very focussed on developing the best possible product. It took us 7 months to come up with the first ball at the factory but it was defunct and we immediately went back to the drawing board to re-develop a better product as per the feedback we received. We have state of art facilities along with the latest technologies. We are one of a kind golf ball maker in the country with the vision to providing the best at the cheapest rate possible”, says Shreyam Shah, Director, +91.

+91- India's only golf ball manufacturer

 

The astonishing fact is that we are yet to talk about its existence and revel in the fact that India finally has its very own golf ball manufacturing company. “We started with the simple idea that the regular golfer is able to purchase a reasonable golf ball which is of similar quality as any international brand. Exporting the product was definitely at the center of conceptualization but the huge difference in acceptance within India as compared to the International market is remarkable. Our 90% of the business comes from exporting the products and the remaining 10% is what the Indian market gives us”, adds Shah.

 

Shreyam Shah- Teeventures- India's only golf ball manufacturer

 

 

It is definitely something to deliberate over that why an Indian golf ball manufacturing company, even though in its nascent stage has been well received by the global market, mainly the US, Europe, South Korea, and Japan as opposed to the Indian market. Shah further elaborates, “We believe that Indians will get more excited about the brand once they travel abroad to play golf and see our existence there. Maybe the same person once back home will be excited to purchase +91 balls.

 

This goes to show that as a market, our belief and affiliation towards the international brand is so much that we are not totally open to accepting the names which are booming in our backyards. The lack of acceptance can only be overridden if we start creating enough awareness which can lead to acknowledgment of the brands that are being built within our country. There is a need to break through the pattern which we have established over the years so that brands like +91 get the kind of breathing space that they deserve. Of course, the advertisements and media available to us play a massive role in influencing our decisions but open-mindedness and a will to experiment can let the homegrown brands germinate in this environment too.

 

 

 Author:

Vidisha Narayan- Communications and marketing professional. A mandala and doodle artist with a flair for writing about offbeat topics. 

 

 


7 comments

  • Amit Misra

    If the balm is as good as the promoter says then why hasn’t a club golfer heard of it and why is it not been promoted by the coaches?

  • Amit AHah

    Lots of efforts, your dedication, honesty put you at this level and it will be reach on peak level in near future

  • Shreyam Shah

    Thank you Askush, Shivas, Ashish & Sonal for your feedback.

    Ankush – Our balls go through each and every indoor as well as outdoor test including but not limited to Durability, COR, Aerodynamics – flight tests.

    That being said we will surly get in touch with Mgs & Rick Shiels for a review.

    Shivas – I really appreciate your detailed comment. One of the things we are going to work on is visibility & Brand Recall. We are a new brand and we want to try and carve out a new path by being online-only. This will help us give our customers the best possible value for money and enable us to grow fast in multiple countries.
    i would love to connect with you and pick your brain!

    Ashish – you are absolutely right, the first ball we made which took us seven months of trial production was poor. I will be the first one to admit it, and we have dramatically improved our balls in perfomance, feel and distance.

    Sonal – thank you so much for your comment. I couldnt agree more. Btw I use a phone which is made in India!

    Also here’s a thought I would love to send balls to the four of you. And I would love to to hear your feedback. You all can be my first few customer testimonials. I will post reviews as received and I would appreciate if you would review the balls with other balls in similar price brackets and not with the Pro V1’s or TP5’s.

    Cheers,
    Shreyam

  • Ankush Chadha

    If these were any good we would have heard about them like vice Snell and Kirkland . I haven’t seen or heard of this ball / brand ever… If they are so confident of their product why not send it to the likes of mgs or Rick sheils to review /test

  • Shivas Nath

    Enjoyed the piece, thought provoking. In my mind there are two aspects to this piece – (1) why isn’t the +91 brand of balls getting its due in the domestic market, & (2) why do golfers flaunt international brands. Here are my thoughts:

    (1) The +91 line, presumably branded cleverly using the Indian ISD code (which I totally love) deserves better, I have randomly tried a ball from a sleeve gifted to me by a friend, I was playing some kids and the balls were a vibrant green colour, I gave all three balls away, However I did use one for 3 holes and it was better than decent.

    That said I have not seen the balls being sold at any pro shops at any of the golf courses I have visited (over 16-18 in the last year alone).

    Honestly there isn’t enough information out there on what type of a ball they produce, or do they produce more than one model, no idea about the pricing and no golfer testimonials. I will confess though, I have seen hit balls at driving range of one of the golf clubs in Bengaluru and they matched the other international range balls.

    (2) No Indian company makes golf clubs (woods, irons, putters), neither components (shafts, grips etc) so basically that self answers itself. Golf shoes and gloves too, there are a few exporters who manufacture for OEM’s and with the golf market in India being as tiny as it is, it doesn’t make any sense for these guys to build their own brand. Some did try in the past and the results were poor.

    My belief is golfers worldwide, use the brands they see the top players use, thats the reason those international brands spend millions on player endorsements, and are good performance products too.

    In summary, its a back breaking effort to build a domestic brand in a market otherwise dominated by international brands, +91 just has to stay the course and figure out the right channels to get their product in to the hands of their biggest segment of clients – the average club golfer.

    And to to that they need to be more visible where this product is demanded from retailers.

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