Prior to founding Performance Golf, a rapidly growing online golf learning platform, Brixton Albert logged hundreds of hours of instructions tweaking all sides of his swing while chasing his childhood dream of playing professional golf.
In his senior year at Warwick High School in Leites, Pennsylvania, Albert scored a stroke average of 70.8 and was recruited to play first-class golf at Radford University. While breaking the starting lineup proved to be a challenge, he scored some championship action and as an undergraduate he played on the University of Tampa team while pursuing his MBA.
“I didn’t really have a great career in golf in college. I realized in college how good everyone is and got into a little slack. It’s a great streak, and if you’re struggling, it’s really hard to make the team. All my life, my goal has been to do the PGA Tour. I remember being I was thinking if I don’t do the PGA Tour, what am I going to do with my life?” says Albert.
He believed that the next best thing was to start a business that would be as satisfying as a career as a professional golfer. This will provide a way to stay connected to the game that has occupied all of his attention for eight hours a day from ages 10 to 22. But before Albert was ready to turn an idea into a business plan, he first decided to have some corporate experience under his belt.
Right after graduating from college, Brixton took a job at Listtrack, a digital marketing automation solutions provider. He was primarily involved in advisory selling to executives at multi-channel retailers, collaborating with clients such as Spanx, Grommet, and Books-A-Million. Working as a sales representative for a company that increases customer engagement, retention, and revenue has proven to be an invaluable learning experience for a budding entrepreneur.
“I got a great front row seat to see a company grow and I have a lot of respect for CEO Ross Kramer. I remember getting up at 3 in the morning on several nights and taking notes on how I think the company can grow faster and do things better,” says Albert .
But at the end of ten years of software sales, he’s starting to feel like an itch for a spare quarterback to take the field and brag about what he can do. In 2016, he invested $120,000 of his savings to launch a performance golf as a side hustle while still at Listrak. Last fall, with his golf learning platform on track to net revenue of just under $30 million for the year, more than double the 2020 tally, he quit his day job to pursue his passion project full time.
The platform sells content subscriptions as well as one-time courses for purchase from higher-level coaches that tackle specific aspects of the game: everything from fixing a chip to cleaning an iron and eliminating 3 pitches. The ideal demographic for Performance Golf Products is over 50 golfers seeking on-demand game improvement instruction. They also don’t mind a little light crafting, like uploading their swing videos to the platform in order to get a custom video from a trainer with notes and a bug-fixing plan.
“The truth is that in-person lessons are great for some people but a lot of people I find don’t want to take face-to-face lessons. There are some people who take a lesson and immediately forget what they learned. I think in-person lessons are great for high-caliber players, but these A really small subset of the market.”
Albert has taken hundreds of lessons over the years and found that there are some coaches who can instantly identify a major flaw and prescribe a fix that will turn a profit in just a few seconds. Many others have used more roundabout methods. They would give him something to work on and he wouldn’t see little or no improvement for months. While developing performance golf, Albert traveled across the country, meeting with hundreds of instructors and carefully selecting those who fell into the former camp and had a knack for providing time-efficient solutions to accelerate game improvement.
The resulting roster of coaches offering coaching programs on the podium includes six-time major winner Nick Faldo and former Tiger Woods coach Hank Haney along with a host of not immediately recognizable names who run academies and often break lists of America’s top coaches. Martin Chuck, creator of the training assistance company Tour Striker, was the last to join the platform, and in the first six weeks he was on board, sales of Chuck’s contact optimization path reached $3 million.
Albert likens the golfing experience to working-like performance through Dave Ramsey’s personal strides in personal finance. Only instead of building an emergency fund and paying off debt, you swing more consistently and shoot you lower.
While there are examples of successful professionals who have learned how to play the game by participating in golf lessons on social media, the free content is definitely a competition. But Albert finds that his product offers a much more personalized experience than what users get from free online alternatives.
“I think the important thing about the free lessons is that you just move around and you don’t really know where to start. You see a lot of golfers who take tips from a friend or read magazines and watch YouTube videos. We want to help golfers take ownership of the fault in Swing them and how to fix it with an organized plan, rather than accumulating a million things that might not really apply to you.
The company is tracking revenue of up to $55 million in 2022 and Albert Runway sees that figure going to nine figures next year. To achieve this goal, Performance Golf is transforming the site into an app and expanding its product offerings to include physical products as well – proprietary training kits and two playable golf clubs. The company is also building an enhanced video capture feature due to debut in 2023 that will track 17 different components of a golfer’s swing and produce a 3D skeletal swing motion. This will make it easier for users to measure progress and for trainers to diagnose swing defects.