Nelson New Zealand (PRWEB) December 03, 2014
Pat Maguire was on the golf course one day when he decided there ''had to be a better way'' when it came to golf bags.
With golf balls and tees, drinks and a jacket stuffed into a fabric bag, it got the designer thinking that while there had been incremental developments, the bag itself had not been reinvented in 100 years.
He saw an opportunity to come up with a new product.
It was the sort of sporting-related design project that he enjoyed doing in an industry he found exciting.
Mr Maguire was the founder of Freeload, a design innovation company he set up to design and commercialise his invention of a fully adjustable, self-securing bicycle carrier rack.
Freeload then signed an intellectual property (IP) deal with Swedish-based global brand Thule, alongside a contract to design further load-carrying products for bikes.
Now he is behind Aeroe, a new Dunedin-based sports start-up company spun out of Freeload, specialising in new golf products, particularly a hard-shell golf bag and travel bag combination.
He has been joined by his son Mike as a co-director in Aeroe, along with designer and engineer Campbell Booth, who had extensive product development experience through his work at Fisher and Paykel and involvement in other new product development ventures.
Mr Maguire first had the golf bag idea in 2004 and started developing the product. He later shifted his focus from golf, concentrating instead on cycling.
His experience with Freeload and working with Thule opened his eyes to ''other things'' and he got back on to golf in 2012.
He had pondered what the golf bag would look like, using current knowledge and technology, saying it would be a ''different animal''.
When he started his research, he realised the advantages of a hard-shell were distinct, in terms of being highly protective and waterproof, yet there were only fabric bags on the market.
The first Aeroe hard-shell golf bag prototype was developed in 2013.
The concept was redeveloped this year, with a specific focus on the growing golf travel and tourism market.
The Aeroe GolfPod was essentially two bags in one hard-shell pod, with no need for a separate travel bag as, with the simple addition of a lid, it instantly became a travel pod.
It provided protection for clubs and was waterproof.
There were no pockets or zips, but internal compartments that folded out and presented balls and tees, drinks and other items.
It was also smaller and more compact than current travel options and it had wheels on the bag.
The bag could be easily attached to a vehicle, in the same way as other sports equipment, such as kayaks, skis and cycles.
That approach, when it came to golf bags, was also ''completely new'', Mr Maguire said.
It was a shift in perception for a golfer used to using a fabric bag, but if they could get past that barrier, and look at the increased benefits of organised presentation of balls, tees and clubs as well as the added travel convenience and club protection, then he believed the GolfPod is addressing a large opportunity.
Aeroe launched globally, using the United States-based crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, this week.
The aim was to raise awareness of the new brand, test the market and raise pledged funds for tooling the product for mass production.
The Kickstarter campaign will run for 60 days, concluding live at the PGA merchandise show in Orlando in January - the biggest of its kind in the world - where the GolfPod will be launched on the US market.
Mr Maguire believed the potential of the product was significant, particularly if it tapped into the niche market of golf tourists.
He also believed there was potential among women golfers.
There was also an ability to customise the GolfPod, enabling it to be personalised, which was proving to be very popular as people liked to be individual, he said.
Mr Maguire recently returned from Portland, Oregon, following meetings with interested partners, including a nationwide US golf distributor who was teaming up with Aeroe for the on-ground US launch.
The objective of the Orlando launch was to forge the relationship with the Portland-based distributor, gain US sales and connect with international distributors in other key markets in Asia and Europe.
The GolfPods would be manufactured in Taiwan and would be on the market mid next year.
Aeroe was being built as a sports brand, not just golf, and there was no reason why it could not be producing other sports products, Mr Maguire said.