Backswing golf events co-founders McKenzie Lyng and Amanda Robertson have almost identical backgrounds. The two entrepreneurs traded softball bats for sets of golf clubs midway through high school, found success in the sport, and pursued professional golfing careers, spending years traveling and working on the tour. mini-tours.
Future business partners met while playing in Arizona Cacti tour where the check for dominating the leaderboard can range from $ 1,400 to $ 4,000. To keep expenses down, they became travel companions, going to events together and doubling down in hotel rooms.
“Amanda and I hit it off. I said ‘Hey you sound funny let’s travel together.’ When you play on the mini tours you need someone to travel with because it costs a lot of money to play and travel, ”says Lyng.
The idea for BackSwing came after Lyng appeared on a Golf Channel season Big cut reality show in 2013. Following the TV show, she began answering calls to appear at pro-ams and other golf events. Amanda also made come-hitting appearances at local charity golf tournaments due to her reputation as a professional golfer.
“Amanda and I thought ‘that’s pretty cool, we just showed up, had fun, just been ourselves and got paid,” ”Lyng said. While it was a blast to be the talent, they felt the real opportunity was to move on to the management side of the plate and form an agency providing professionals to improve charity golf tournaments.
“We haven’t seen anyone else do this,” adds Robertson.
To do business, the duo took to seriously delegating tournament organizers to sell them on their fledgling service. When their persistence paid off and they had the chance to prove themselves, they didn’t waste the opportunity.
“It was really hard trying to make these events trust us and understand that we are professional golfers, that we are very good at what we do and that we are very friendly. We let them know. that it will be a great experience, that it will be fun and that your players will have a good time, ”said Lyng.
Corporate and charity golf events are often held closest to the pin and disc contests the longest in a tournament. But just placing a tape measure and clipboard on a green or placing a marker on the fairway is a trivial way to build up excitement.
BackSwing raises the heat of those staid contest holes by spinning them like pro challenges, adding spice to the experience while increasing the fundraising stake. While they have many other service options they sell to customers, from pros playing with bands to handing out pre-tournament practice tips, their “Joe vs Pro” setups are their daily bread. The holes that Backswing’s touring pros hold court over have cumulatively raised more than $ 2 million for charity.
The value proposition of BackSwing is that they will increase fundraising at an event and this will be achieved while simultaneously supporting aspiring athletes as they pursue their golf dreams. The company provides a lucrative side business for a growing list of LPGA hopefuls. Currently, BackSwing has 75 professional women who they send to events across the country. Pros earn anywhere from $ 400 to $ 700 for small to mid-size charity tournaments, depending on how much they end up raising, and up to $ 1,300 for big corporate gigs. BackSwing makes five Southwest Airlines
“When you hire us, you provide an opportunity for a professional golfer – the girls who attend and work at these events. You are creating a path for them to pursue their dream of pursuing professional golf and that is the other benefit of the business, ”said Robertson.
“It’s very gratifying to be able to help because we were there and we didn’t have something like that to be able to propel us financially,” she adds.
In 2018, BackSwing hosted 185 events and grew to 430 events in 2019. While the pandemic put a damper on the 2020 tally, in the second half of the year they still managed to book 300 events and they are on the right track. for 800 events by the end of 2021. With around 850,000 golf tournaments held across the country each year, they believe their niche in the market can continue to grow rapidly.
With NCAA athletes now able to take advantage of their likeness and be paid for their appearances, tapping into tournaments in college towns could offer a new avenue for growth.
“It’s something great that we haven’t really exploited yet and it could be a really big draw,” Lyng said.