It’s almost two years since former lawyer, Dean Cheesley, took the plunge, quitting his ‘day job for good’ to add a huge retail facility in Dubai’s Al Quoz to his burgeoning online golf equipment business. The 6,400 square foot eGolf Megastore stocks just about every brand and product a golf nut’s heart desires and its fair to say that growth has been rapid.
Last year Cheesley added a second facility in Al Wasl and the young ‘golf-entrepreneur’ shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Worldwide Golf caught up with the eGolf Megastore Founder and CEO to find out how his new life as a main player in the UAE golf retail game is treating him.
Worldwide Golf: Great to talk to you again Dean, how’s the golf equipment business treating you since we caught up last summer?
Dean Cheesley: Business is great. We’ve had a very positive past 12 months with some healthy growth. When we opened the Al Quoz Megastore in September 2015 we were a team of five and have grown at present to 29. We’ve added a lot of club builders, custom fitters and PGA Professionals and we also opened our Al Wasl Sports Club store which is thriving.
WWG: Sounds like it’s going well. What have been the pillars of eGolf’s success?
DC: We’ve kept our business model very simple with a key focus on our customers. Following which we back our customer service up with expertise and depth in product range. You can find every major golf brand here, its not just the likes of Callaway, Cleveland, Titleist, Ping, Cobra, TaylorMade, Srixon and Mizuno, the major brands you’d expect to find in a golf store. We also provide the consumer with access to brands like PXG, Miura, Epon, XXIO, Bettinardi, Edel and SeeMore to complete their retail experience. We also have a great culture amongst the staff here, we like to consider it more of a family than a workplace. They are the ones that drive the business forward.
WWG: You’re almost two years on from your departure from the legal profession to become a full time “golf-entrepreneur”. Do you miss the profession?
DC: I have to say no but at the same time I was extremely fortunate! I had 13 thoroughly enjoyable years practicing law and it provided me with a strong commercial and legal foundation to grow a business. Ultimately golf has always been my passion and I’m obsessed with golf equipment, so to fuse my passion with entrepreneurship is very exciting for me.
WWG: What excites you the most?
DC: Definitely all the new product releases. Behind the scenes the brands are working hard to bring fresh innovations to the market and the frequency at which they do that is fascinating. I’m also a bit of self-confessed golf shaft tragic. Fujikura, Graphite Design, Mitsubishi Rayon, Oban, Veylix and Aerotech are some of my favourites but there are so many more. It took months to fine-tune our shaft wall matrix, but in the summer of last year we got it right.
— 2B Limitless (@2bCoachingTeam) July 29, 2016
WWG: We’ve just crossed the midway point of the year. From a performance perspective, what products have been the leaders in 2017 to date?
DC: That’s a great question as there are so many great products right now to choose from. Head-to-head, the Callaway Epic and TaylorMade’s M1 and M2 models have dominated driver sales and performance in 2017. The Srixon 565 Driver, World No.2 Hideki Matsuyama’s gamer, was the No.1 ranked driver on MyGolfSpy.com’s annual driver test and is definitely worth a look. For all round distance and dispersion performance, TaylorMade M1 and Cobra F7 Fairway Woods lead the way. The most versatile from a shot making perspective has to be the Titleist 917, a fantastic club off the tee and the deck. For the hybrid category, the standout performer is the Ping G. TaylorMade’s M2 is a close contender as the head alone is extremely hot and forgiving. The key with the M2 is to get professionally fitted with the correct shaft as it can require some dialing in.
WWG: How about the irons, wedge and putter categories, what have been the standout performers?
DC: Parsons Xtreme Golf leads iron category performance with their 0311 irons. Looks, materials, distance and forgiveness there is not a product which ticks all the boxes quite like PXG. It makes them expensive for a reason. The Mizuno JPX-900 Tour irons are a quality forging and perform incredibly well for the low handicapper. For the mid to high handicapper, the TaylorMade M2 irons deliver on performance and retail at a price point which is the lowest in the market.
The Cleveland RTX-3 and Titleist SM6 wedges are best in category in terms of performance and demand. The versatility and considerable number of bounce and grind options with the SM6 means there is a wedge for every golfer, irrespective of their angle of attack. The RTX-3, especially the new tour raw finish, produces incredible amounts of spin.
Putters are very much a personal preference. Local demand wise, the TaylorMade Spider putter leads the way. Rory, DJ, Sergio, Jason Day, John Rahm and several others have it in play and is currently the number 1 single putter model on the PGA Tour. Scotty Cameron’s Newport Select and Futura models incorporate stunning looks and feel.
WWG: How do you measure equipment performance?
DC: When you’re fitting golf clubs day after day and you have all brands at your disposal, you quickly get a sense of whether any new product introduced stacks up against the competition. The fitting data tells the entire story. Our fitters use GC2, Flightscope, and Trackman 4 across our stores as well as the incredible X-Golf simulator technology.
WWG: Speaking of X-Golf, we hear the name increasingly throughout the Middle East, what makes it so good?
DC: X-Golf simulators utilise a unique balance of impact sensors, laser and camera systems to track more ball data points than a traditional launch monitor. X-Golf not only allows us to carry out fittings in typical driving range environment, but we utilise it to put our customers directly on to the course to test their soon-to-be purchase under a pressure situation.
WWG: How does it sound standing on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach, with water left and bunkers right?
DC: X-Golf allows us to simulate that, so from a club-fitting perspective it’s a pretty serious piece of artillery.
WWG: You talk a lot about after sales service. What exactly does that mean in the context of fitting golf clubs?
DC: It comes back to the customer service I mentioned before. The customer experience doesn’t end at the point of fitting and purchasing a club. If he or she is struggling with their equipment post-purchase, we always encourage them to come back so their fitter can fine-tune their settings. We offer other after sales services like hot melting. Some customers want to add weight, create a bias or dampen the sound and feel of their driver after purchase. Hot melt does the trick.
WWG: Anything exciting on the horizon for our readers for the remainder of 2017?
DC: The new Callaway Epic and Titleist C16 irons were just released and based on our early Trackman testing we’re expecting these to be in-demand products. Ping has an exciting launch coming at the end of this month with the all new the G400 range. In September, Odyssey finally drops their long awaited Toulon range of putters and Cobra debuts their new game improvement iron, the F-Max. In the premium category, PXG just released their new 100% milled Sugar Daddy, Romeo, Zulu, Sierra and Darkness wedges. Lots to look forward to, that’s for sure.