In Part 2 of our 2-part series on MyGolfSpy owner, founder, and guiding spirit Adam Beach, MGS Staff Writers Dan Mann and John Barba examine how MGS got its start, the inner-workings of the unique partnership between Adam Beach and Editor, Tony Covey, and a preview of what Adam thinks will be the next big thing.
If you want to have a little fun sometime, click on the little magnifying glass icon in the upper right-hand corner of the MyGolfSpy.com home page and check out the archives. If you want to see how this whole thing started, type 2007 in the Search bar, and then go to Page 4 of the results. There you’ll find the very first story ever posted by MyGolfSpy, on December 1.
Your Secret Agent For Everything Golf, reads the headline. The story promises Spy Photos of unreleased clubs, golf stories that have never been told, insider interviews and close up looks at under the radar products.
“We will literally be everywhere to get the best pictures and stories for you,” the story promises. “There is nothing that will stop us from getting you what no one else has seen before.” Humble beginnings to be sure, but as the song says, From small things, Mama...
...Big Things One Day Come
“I knew I always wanted to become the Consumer Reports of Golf,” says Adam. “I did a focus group study before launching MyGolfSpy, and the message was ‘just tell me the truth, man. We just want someone to not bullshit us about all this equipment.’ There was no go-to place for that at the time.”
It took a while for that go-to place to actually develop. You don't start a website and have the golf manufacturers work with you from day-1, especially when you don’t allow them any avenue from which to control or manipulate content. Credibility, trust, and legitimacy are earned traits.
“A year-and-a-half before I started MGS, I knew exactly what I wanted,” says Adam. “I saw it all, but I thought it would happen quicker than it did. It was slow play, man.”
“If you guys knew the evolution of how this happened, and how we had to do things differently all the time, it would blow your mind. But there was no way we could have started out day-one saying I want to test the way we’re testing now and have the golf companies buy into it. You had to build influence and build readership. You had to keep asking for another club because we knew doing six testers wasn’t enough. We had to get to 20.” – Adam Beach, MyGolfSpy
MyGolfSpy’s equipment testing protocol has evolved over the past 10 years, but always with the goal of giving the customer what that original focus group asked for.
“Every year we’re working to get better and smarter for the consumer,” says Adam. “There are always people trying to copy you or bash you. But hey man, you can come meet me and see how we do things.”
For years the Golf Digest “Hot List” had been the highest profile club “test” in the industry, but MyGolfSpy's Most Wanted is hoping to change that.
“I had a talent agent call today to discuss a potential project,” says Adam. “He says no one wants to spend money on ads in the Hot List anymore because none of the companies – not just the golf companies, but the ancillary companies, too – trust what they’re saying anymore.”
Adam & Tony
If you want to know what it’s like to hang around with Woodward or Bernstein (millennials, ask your parents), walk a PGA Show with Tony Covey.
“He’s one of the smartest guys you’ll ever meet, and that’s no bullshit,” says Adam of Tony. “If I know something about technology, golf club design, etc. – and in the beginning, I am way ahead of Tony on all of that – he will eventually surpass me in all of that.”
Tony has been with Adam almost from the beginning. There are plenty of similarities between the two, but also enough differences to keep it interesting.
“He’s black and white, and I love black and white. It’s simple, it’s clean, it’s easy,” says Adam. “We’re both on the same path, but we’re riding in different lanes, you know? He’s so detail-oriented at his core that he won’t let me get away with not getting the details right, which is what I need.”
“I like to move fast , and I like people to get shit done fast. Tony does both. He’s a hard working son of a bitch and he never complains. We push each other hard, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner.” – Adam Beach on Tony Covey
Tony was an IT guy who had his own golf website before hooking up with Adam. He didn’t go full-time with MGS, however, until the IT gig dried up.
“He called me and told me he’d been let go from his job,” remembers Adam. “I didn’t have enough money, or a pot to piss in, for that matter. He told me how much he needed to make and I swore to his wife that within 12 months he’d make that kind of money. She thought I was crazy, but I busted my ass to make it happen because I had to have that guy.”
“We don’t hang out that much in person – we’re both kind of introverted and odd. He has some things he doesn’t like about me, and the way I do business chaps his ass a little, but I love Tony to death. He’s one of the best human beings I've ever meet. I thought I was a straight shooter- but that son-of-a-bitch is a straight shooter.”
The Next Big Thing
Milestones are often cause for reflection, and this December MyGolfSpy will reach its 10th anniversary. Adam’s decade-long mission of #PowerToThePlayer brand-building has carved out a unique niche - that of truly untainted, unbiased and unapologetic equipment reviews and honest profiles of the people and companies making that equipment.
Will the next 10 years bring more of the same?
Well, if you know Adam, you know the answer is an emphatic yes.
And also a definite no.
To longtime readers, that seemingly paradoxical statement shouldn’t come as a surprise. The MGS you know will continue on, better and bigger than ever. But there will be something new coming, something Adam calls the next big thing that will, in his words, “blow the f***ing industry’s mind.”
“It’s called TrueGolfFit.com,” says Adam. “And the best way I can put it to you is imagine being fit without ever swinging a club. Now imagine it being guaranteed to outperform everything you currently own.”
"We have cracked the golf fitting code, mapped the golf fitting genome. Every single golfer in the world will now be able to buy with more confidence. It is a TRUE Fit to YOU and every individual golfer in the world. It eliminates the guesswork for consumers and matches clubs to their unique swings. And it will all be guaranteed. Longer, Straighter, Lower. Or your money back." says Adam.
No more guesswork. All major brands tested. Matched to your swing.
TrueGolfFit.com is the culmination of 10 years of product testing, recording hundreds of thousands of swings and millions of data points from every variety of golfer you can imagine.
TrueGolfFit.com will be "The World's First Personalized Golf Fitting Engine."
“95% of the golfers are not properly fit for their equipment. That means 95% of golfers are not reaching their full potential. We will solve one of the golf industries biggest problems, one golfer at a time by using the largest set of connected golfer swing data ever collected," says Beach. “You will no longer have to physically walk into a store to get a good fitting.”
"We are going to put the power back in the player's hand and make everything about one thing: performance. The days of marketing being more important than the actual performance of the clubs these consumers are buying, is over. Golf consumers have become tired of the same old stale marketing ideas and claims made by golf companies. So were we. So we are going to change that, forever." says Adam.
Adams says the inspiration came from an episode of Shark Tank, featuring a Mom who couldn’t find her daughter a pair of shoes that fit her unique foot.
“She created an app where the kid would put their foot down on an iPad, and it would instantaneously measure their foot,” says Adam. “Based on those measurements, the app would pull up shoe recommendations from retail partners that would best fit the child. In that one instant, all the ideas I ever had came together. All the technologies weren’t there yet, but right when I saw it, my entire career, my entire purpose for what I have been doing clicked.”
"Ideas are interesting; they're both everything and nothing at the same time. Almost all of us have big ideas, execution, however, is the tough part. Tony Covey not only makes many of my crazy ideas come to fruition he makes them better."
Adam still remembers the email Tony sent, "Don't call, don't want to talk about it yet...I think I've cracked it...it's the holy grail." And he was right. He had developed the formula for how we were going to make this thing become a reality. He turned the idea and millions of data points in to something that was going to solve one of the golf industries biggest problems.
Speaking of data, are you ready for this? Hope you’ve been paying attention up until now because Adam has been waving his master plan in our faces all along. You can see it in one simple hashtag.
Pretty bold, huh?
Well, that’s Adam.
“At the very first golf shop I ever worked in - they weren’t hiring at the time,” explains Adam. “I walked in and told them I’d work for free. They said ‘why would you do that?’ I said give me two weeks, if you don't like me, get rid of me.”
So far, so good, but craving an opportunity and toeing the company line do not co-exist in Adam Beach’s world, and he never forgot the lessons his grandmother taught him.
“I don’t like seeing people get taken advantage of. Never have,” says Adam. “Back in the mid-90's there was a set of Wilson clubs selling for $400 that were really good, but there was also a set of Callaways that was $1,500.00. The first guy through the door was an Asian guy, and the owner had said never let an Asian guy see anything but the Callways because of the higher price tag and the spiffs they got. I thought that was wrong.”
Needless to say, Adam didn’t last long there.
“It was unfortunate, you know? When African-American people would walk in the store, they’d tell me not to even bother with them. I got to see behind the curtain a little bit at what white, upper- class business shit looks like. Remember, I grew up on both sides of the railroad tracks.”
“That’s not me, man. That’s not how I roll.”
What MyGolfSpy is today is very much a reflection of Adam’s life story. He’s no-nonsense, direct and honest, sometimes brutally so, but always with a heart as big as the Ritz. He will call it like he sees it, he’ll tell you the truth as he sees it, and he always, always, always puts the consumer first.
Because that’s how he rolls.