RAD Golf: A Golf Ecosystem Unlike Any Other
To hear RAD Golf CEO and co-founder Peter Johnson tell it, there is no such thing as an overnight success.
“You rise from the ashes, fail forward, dream bigger, and learn from the last go-around.”
That’s just an excerpt from an all-encompassing discussion about what inspired this entrepreneur to assemble another business “from the ground up” —a phrase uttered several times when sharing the two-year journey with RAD Golf — which he believes is set to revolutionize the industry with the perfect blend of sleek technology, innovation, wow-factor, and an engaged community.
In An Earlier Lifetime
Johnson was formerly CEO and co-founder for another upstart brand, launching PhatScooters with two buddies in 2017—with the simple goal of sustainable travel to each other’s homes— before launching their two-wheeled revolution.
The Phat Experience saw Johnson and friends building the best possible scooter, doing all necessary homework to get this soon-to-be popular brand off the ground—and eventually onto golf courses—while realizing there was more to these vehicles than cruising the neighborhood.
While the scooter market was relatively wide open upon the launch of PhatScooters, creating an integrated ecosystem of products providing insight into one’s golf game, it could easily have a been there, done that brand narrative if not implemented correctly—and to borrow a phrase from Johnson, built strategically from the ground up.
“I’ve always been somewhat of a disruptor who was fascinated by disruptive technologies— especially stuff that I enjoy using,” Johnson shared with a smile.
Back to the Laboratory
To properly launch RAD Golf, Johnson and co-founder Drew McFarland knew they needed an equally yoked technological partner to ensure the delivery of their vision of a game-changing product line that would be ready to hit the market by summer this year.
Seen as “technological pioneers for the golf industry,” iGolf has spent the past 20-plus years working behind the scenes with some of the golf’s biggest names—which is precisely what an upstart like RAD Golf needed as they embarked on what the company is calling an “all-in-one, groundbreaking, golf ecosystem.”
Johnson explained the working dynamic with iGolf, not just implementing the company’s mapping abilities but leveraging their decades of product development expertise and overall innovation in setting a very high bar in product development.
“Our initial idea had us asking ourselves what it would look like if a brand like Apple chose to get into the golf space,” Johnson wondered. “All of these different technologies existed on their own—launch monitors, lasers, watches, speakers and game-improving mobile apps—but there didn’t seem to be anything cohesive that brought it all together, an ecosystem that could enhance not just your game, but your overall experience.”
As for the often-referenced ecosystem, RAD rolled out its mobile app in February during the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, and they’re set to release their SOUND+ and SOUND speakers in Q2 of this year—determined to come out the gate with products that are timely, exciting and anything but ordinary.
Johnson and the team are proud of the design path RAD’s research and development team has taken from the original concept to completion with both new speakers.
“When designing SOUND in the iGolf lab, we started with the mantra that this was a speaker first—and worked things backward from there—because if the sound quality was not exceptional, nothing else would matter to the consumer,” Johnson shared.
“We could’ve taken some off-the-shelf speaker and thrown some cool golf technology into it, but we didn’t—we started from scratch with the end goal of creating the best-sounding golf speaker possible.”
The Perfect Blend of Technology, Sophistication & Functionality
Some added features include a visual yardage display, a removable magnet for different accessories, and the ability to heckle playing partners audibly—as well as pairing two speakers together for stereo sound, or at minimum, to keep everybody in the group playing the same music and not trying to drown out one another’s competing speakers.
Hearing all about sound quality, top-notch craftsmanship, and so many features and benefits— Johnson insisted on clearing up any possible misconception about pricing.
“We’re always excited to walk somebody through our product line, right up to that moment where you can read them, ‘This is so going to be out of my price range’ energy—only to get the complete opposite reaction when we tell them how competitively priced the products actually are,” Johnson explained.
“The conversation immediately shifts when they see the quality and affordability of the RAD product line—and they respect the fact we’re driven to build top-notch, high-quality devices while remaining price-conscious when it comes to them fitting into the average golfer’s budget.”
Another big reason RAD Golf landed in that mid-to-high price range; is owning the fact they’re new in the space and understanding that it’s all about building and earning consumer trust while walking that careful line of being affordable without being cheaply made.
While RAD fully expects their SOUND line to make a strong impression on consumers, there’s also great excitement hovering around what comes next: WATCH and HAND+ this summer, with LAZER PRO and WATCH+ for the start of Q3—the LAZER PRO release is something Johnson and the rest of the RAD team eagerly anticipates.
“Out of the entire ecosystem, the LAZER is the one we’re most excited about as it’s the true disruptor of the bunch,” Johnson explained. “Wireless and featuring GPS connectivity, as well as the ability to sync with SOUND+ and our mobile app—we think this is the biggest disruptor and game-changer of all.”
RAD is now a handful of months away from having an array of new items in the marketplace— including a revolutionary launch monitor with so many features, benefits, and a gamification angle that it’s going to have a separate rollout of its own—underscoring RAD’s guiding philosophy about being Apple-minded.
For starters, it’d require more than just building a brand around sleek, cutting-edge hardware— the brand would also need to focus on data, analytics, and constant software updates that refresh old hardware to make seasoned devices feel brand-new again.
“Outside of the mobile app, we’ve also built a web portal for people to view their round history —with some really cool shot animation—working in tandem with devices that are all part of an expandable data and analytics-driven platform,” Johnson explained.
Assembling the On-Brand Dream Team
What RAD found in iGolf as a technology partner is the same attention was paid to putting together an ideal board full of visionaries, success stories, and like-minded individuals who wanted to be a part of this revolutionary movement in the sport.
A few of the corporate heavy-hitters backing RAD are Todd Davis (former CEO of Lifelock), Kevin Kunkel (former president of Sprint / T-Mobile), and Tom McDonald (former president of Yamaha Golf)—as well as a few individuals who have helped with both the product, design and branding—Brian Verdugo (CEO of iGolf) and Scott Harkey (CEO of The Harkey Group), whose Phoenix-based creative agency is handling all of RAD’s storytelling and narrative-shaping.
The brand also relied on McFarland’s deep list of trusted contacts, as RAD’s Chief Strategy Officer was responsible for adding JJ Dudum to the board. Dudum is a partner the Discovery Land Co—a real estate company that owns several high-end golf properties loaded with celebrities, influencers and A-list talent—as well as a stake in Casamigos Tequila, of which DLC founder Mike Meldman launched, built, and sold with partners George Clooney and Rande Gerber.
“Assembling a dynamic board was something Drew and I see as foundational,” Johnson shared, with yet one more nod to that RAD mantra. We know how important it is to have the experience and wisdom of such a vast group of professionals—people who not only keep us focused on the mission but each do so by bringing something unique to the table. These people believe in what we’re setting out to accomplish in the world of golf—which is a priceless contribution to an upstart brand like RAD.”
Built from the ground up and ready to make its mark, the RAD Golf revolution is officially underway.
Learn more at RADGolf.com.