By David Droschak
Growing up in Myrtle Beach three decades ago was reason enough for Martin Barrier III to get hooked on the great game of golf. More than 100 golf courses dotted the Grand Strand at the time.
What also was a huge part of the golf scene along the popular South Carolina golf destination was Martin’s Golf and Tennis, seven mega superstores that every golf lover at one time or another spent hours wandering through the maze of product lines from gloves to golf shoes to grips.
It was golf heaven for those of us who enjoyed the latest and greatest clubs or clothing styles. Barrier was in the unusual position of getting a behind-the-scenes look at the business. His father founded Martin’s.
“I guess you can I say I definitely grew up in a golf family,” Barrier says. “Golf is all I’ve ever known and done.”
That’s an understatement. At the time in his late 20s, Barrier learned just about everything there was to know about the golf business from his father. After his dad sold Martin’s in 2004, Barrier moved to Raleigh and began working for various golf entities, from Global Golf to Golfsmith to Golf Galaxy to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
But life wasn’t the same.
So last summer, Barrier, 45, began working on his own golf business concept, and this January launched Swing Right, a mobile golf club repair service.
From a working trailer, Barrier hits the road on a daily basis to meet clients at their office or golf course who are in need of regripping, loft and lie adjustments and reshaftings.
“It is such a new concept, it’s hard to grasp unless you see it,” Barrier said. “When a service like mobile detailing of cars first came out there was a learning curve for the consumer. Once people got it it sort of caught on and look at it now.”
For now, Barrier’s service includes a 25-mile radius from Raleigh, hitting as far east as Clayton in Johnston County and as far west as Chapel Hill. However, Barrier does take on special requests. For example, he recently had a few clients in need of his services in Dunn and Benson.
“I guess the biggest challenge has just been a learning curve and getting out the word,” he said. “My background hopefully speaks for itself, growing up all those years in the business and seeing everything in the golf business first hand. It takes the time and effort to build a business, and I really like to treat people like I would like to be treated — with personal service and touch. I like for them to come into the trailer and carry on a conversation while I’m working on their clubs, getting to know my clients.”
The trailer includes more than 40 different brands and sizes of grips, a grinding wheel, reshafting equipment, a loft and lie adjustment machine, heat guns – “Basically everything you are going to find in a PGA Tour van. I charge clients what you would find at any brick and mortar store. There is no surcharge to come out to their home or business.”
Barrier was given encouragement to follow his dream from his wife Stephanie.
“She said, ‘You have all of this golf equipment you should think about doing something with a golf concept. We worked on it together,” he said.
“The room for growth is to get more people thinking along the mobile concept line,” added Barrier. “When I was setting it up with the banking people they thought this could be a franchise, but that wasn’t my intent going into this whole thing. If the good Lord has me going in that direction then that’s what it will be. Remember, time is now so valuable for everything. This idea sort of solves that problem for busy golfers.”
Barrier says he knows of only one other such business in the country in Las Vegas.
“This is really so new of a concept,” he says. “I come to you so you can spend more time on the golf course.”
For more information log on to www.swingrightgolf.com