For Renegade Golf CEO Kenneth Duncan, growing up with parents living in different states created some challenges dividing his time between the Midwest and Southeast, but one strong perk was experiencing two of the country’s peachiest golf estates. He learned the basics at First Tee at John A. White Park Golf Course and will continue to play high school golf at Nicollet, a school in the north coast suburbs of Milwaukee whose alumni include PGA Tour pro Skip Kendall and hedge fund hitter David Einhorn.
Duncan arrived at the University of Georgia just as future tour pros Harris English and Hudson Swafford were leaving, but despite the player’s pedigree, the financial major had the nerve to reach out to Bulldogs golf coach Chris Hack about trying out with the team.
“I thought as a single-digit handicap golfer I might be able to consider the idea of a swing walk,” Duncan says.
Huck responded politely, asking if Duncan had an American Golf Association championship record which he did not. He went on to ask about the USGA event ending before recommending that he might join the varsity club team instead.
The same level of gumption and courage will serve him well in his concurrent roles as Management Consultant to Accenture
Renegade burst onto the scene in 2019, having spearheaded himself and business partner Drew McLeod, a fellow Bulldog, backed by a desire to make golf more inclusive of all demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. And stand up bags with custom colors and embroidery.
Duncan is big on buying used clubs and wouldn’t recommend new golfers shell out $600 for a new driver or $2,000 for an iron set, but bags are essential for hauling your clubs around the course while providing ample canvas to show off your personality.
“A bag can really show who you are and who you are – like a piece of art. Almost all of our bags are personalized because that’s how PGA Tour players do it. You have your name, a logo, and something that represents you.
They built a grassroots base with black Greek organizations and historically black colleges and universities, quickly embracing the ability to represent a fraternal affiliation among early adopters. Of course, no product launch is easy. The Renegade suffered an early hiccup with an expensive pre-sale for the now-best-selling black and gold trolley bags with Christmas 2020 approaching when a container ship carrying $20,000 worth of inventory (half of that pre-sold amount) would have made cash flow positive, and loses her cargo at sea in a tropical storm.
“That was awful. It was one of the biggest learning lessons we’ve learned in entrepreneurship. At the time, we weren’t familiar with or aware of freight insurance and it’s not expensive at all. We didn’t know about it,” Duncan acknowledges the huge setback. They took the hit in stride and were eventually able to accommodate that request and get back on track.
Bags and balls
After a year of design, development and compliance, the Mbu three-piece golf ball from Renegade Golf, named after the Nigerian word for “first of its line”, is now ready to enter the competition after being added to the USGA and R&A Match Ball List earlier this year. the month. Renegade is the first black-owned equipment company to manufacture equipment that complies with the strict rules of golf’s governing bodies.
The company could have forgone jumping through all the hoops required to bring a new match ball to market by white-labeling an existing ball and putting their logo on it. The Renegade considered the fast lane, making an offer from the manufacturer early on, but ultimately decided against it.
“It would have been attractive, but for us, we always tried to put quality first. We feel like you only get one chance in this game,” says Duncan, adding that they wanted to make sure they did everything right because in this Industry Second chances don’t come around often.
“It took a little longer to do that but we ended up with a golf ball that compares favorably to other 3-piece balls on the market and gives us a stamp of credibility to people who initially buy our product because of our story and who we are now they can say outside of the Renegade story it’s a good ball and it gave us That’s a lot of extra points,” he says.
Retailing at $33 a dozen, Mbu’s are intentionally priced much lower than other mid-to-high pressure spheres to give aspiring hobbyists and pros alike a compelling reason to take them out for a spin.
“The balls we compare ourselves to most of our customers are the Bridgestone Tour B RX, Callaway Chrome Soft, and Titlelist Pro V1—all premium balls produced by each of the top manufacturers, but our price is in line with Vice or Cut,” says Duncan.
While it may take years to get a toe grip on the golf ball leaderboard, they can’t wait to start giving back to the community. Philanthropy has been a part of the Renegade model from the moment the brand began. They provide portfolios of golf programs in the Atlanta public school system, and earlier this year began a junior golf scholarship program to provide promising young adults who need support, as well as provide them with quarterly coaching credits and entrance fee assistance.
Looking ahead to 2023, Renegade Golf is excited to see how brand partnerships pan out in the business with NBC Sports and Invited (formerly Clubcorp). While widespread pro shop distribution is certainly the goal, having Duncan see his balls behind the counter on a UGA golf course for the first time will be a watershed moment.
“This is a whole moment where you’re an alumnus of a school, you’ve played the course that so many PGA legends have played so many times and now you have a red and black Mbu golf ball in the pro shop sitting there for all the alumni to see, feel and play,” says Duncan.