A smarter golf store solution is taking the game by storm in Australia. In a swing at traditional retailers and pro shops, Envee Golf is removing the guesswork for players of all skill levels by packaging up the right products and delivering them straight to their door.
Brisbane-based Envee Golf was borne out of one beginner golfer’s desire to simplify the shopping process for players, with an online store and monthly subscription boxes catered to different skill levels.
Founder, Nicholas Veliss, took up golf in 2019 after seeing how utterly addicted his mates had become, but he was initially deterred by the overwhelming array of product and apparel options.
“Finding the perfect ball, the right outfit, good shoes for a beginner, all of that stuff is pretty tricky and it becomes even harder when you go into a big store and see just how many options there are,” says Veliss.
Of course, it didn’t take Veliss long to realise that, as a beginner, the perfect ball doesn’t exist and the best apparel is whatever gets you out onto the green, but he still wanted to spend less time shopping and more time playing.
The issue was compounded by COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, forbidding Veliss and his buddies from visiting golf stores for in-person advice, leaving only virtual stores and the trial and error that comes with online shopping.
This product purchasing hurdle continued as Veliss and his mates became more obsessed by the day, accelerated by golf being one of the only “socially distanced” recreational activities available to Australians at the time.
“It was clear by the time lockdowns hit, that golf was not only the best social activity for us in that moment but a lifelong passion too,” says Veliss.
“But, we were accumulating way too many training aids, balls and apparel that just wasn’t right for us.”
Veliss started researching and purchasing suitable balls, clubs, training devices and apparel for the men and women he played with, putting together monthly ‘goodie boxes’ that contained everything needed to get out and play.
Demand grew quicker than he expected it would, turning his knack for product selection into a business after many of his fellow players pushed him to step things up.
“I didn’t set out to make money or start a business, I was just doing it out of a love for the game and to offer a bit of help to people that I played with,” says Veliss.
“I’d been working with suppliers and doing a lot of my own research, but there came a point where I needed to take it to the next level as demand got out of control.”
The solution was to start working with golfers of all abilities, from within his circle at local courses, to assess what they were missing in their kit, what products they liked most, and what brands offered the most value.
“I worked with complete beginners, right through to PGA professionals, so that I could build the right range of products to cover each skill level,” says Veliss.
“That was important to me because I don’t claim to be a pro, and I also wasn’t a complete beginner by that stage either, so I wanted to hear from experts and the customers I was doing this for.
“While we were initially aiming the store and subscription boxes at those new to the sport, we quickly started offering products for more advanced players who really knew what they wanted.”
Many beginners, Veliss explains, get particularly hung up on finding the ‘perfect ball’ and he and the team at Envee have taken the guesswork out by offering a mix of products for each skill level.
“You spend so much time and money trying different products, thinking each time that it will make a difference to your game,” he said. “Sometimes a different ball will improve things, other times you’ll be two steps back and slicing worse than ever, so it’s all about knowing what product characteristics suit your skill level and style.
“That’s why we worked with players of all skill levels early on, running our findings past professionals to make sure we were putting people on the right track.”
Another element of the game that can be intimidating at first is attire, which Envee well and truly nails whether you’re a new-by or a seasoned hitter.
“When I started, I’d wear a button up ‘going out’ shirt and whatever pants I had, because I just didn’t know where to start with apparel,” laughs Veliss.
“As silly as it sounds, wearing the right gear goes a long way to helping beginners feel at ease on the course. Basically, we make sure our customers turn up looking the part and feeling confident!”
Envee Golf officially launched in January this year, and Veliss says he never expected it to grow this quickly, proving he’s filled a clear gap in the market.
“It kind of just took off and we now have more than 200 happy subscribers and more than 750 orders so far,” he said.
“We’re gaining around 50 subscribers a month but, growth aside, our primary goal continues to be promoting golf and encouraging more people into the sport.”
Despite having launched so recently, the Envee team has already sponsored a range of charity golf events like a recent PCYC golf day.
“I’ve done four charity events now and for these we supply balls, apparel, tees and everything people need to get excited and feel prepared out there.
“Ultimately, if we can encourage casual players to take golf more seriously that’s a win in our eyes.”
The theme of wanting to promote the sport and encourage new players onto the course is central at Envee and the team has been hard at work putting together a range of educational posts on the website, with tips, tricks and training advice.
“A lot of our subscription boxes include training aids, so informative blog posts take that training element to the next level and we’d like to eventually include training videos for our members,” adds Veliss.
“Partnering with businesses like Australian Golf Digest takes that to the next level, too, so we are encouraging our members to subscribe and take advantage of the huge amount of quality information on their site.”
Another innovation, centred around encouraging customers to up their game, is the Envee leaderboard which uses members’ Golf Link Number to collate Golf Australia data and rank them.
“We all talk about our weekly scores and usually we’re willing to share them publicly, in the name of improving, so the leaderboard aims to keep players accountable and reward them,” says Veliss.
“We give balls and apparel to our top monthly player, and customers are just so stoked when we contact them to let them know they’ve topped the leaderboard. We have started seeing our customers stepping it up, and the huge jump in confidence and ability is clear to see – that’s what it’s all about!”
The product line so far features skill-level specific Eagle, Essentials and Birdie subscription boxes, with quarterly and monthly options depending on how frequently you hit the course. Each subscription box features brands golfers know and love, conveniently delivered to their door with the ability to customise and even return products that don’t suit someone’s needs.
“We are ultimately doing this to improve the sport and make it easier to spend more time playing, so we are happy to swap items if they don’t hit the spot,” says Veliss.
“I’ve also made sure that Envee offers more value than someone could get if they went and purchased everything themselves, through our product supply agreements and low margins – we buy in bulk and pass those savings on.
“I can’t give too much away just yet, but we’ll be offering a solution for corporate golf days as well as constantly improving our range of products. We’re also really interested in offering exclusive training videos for members, giving people the kinds of resources we wish we had when starting out.”
Eagle Box: Ideal for all levels of golfers! Each box you receive will come with one or two pieces of apparel, 2 sleeves of golf balls and 1 or two training aids or accessories.
Essentials Box: Perfect for restocking the forever required golf consumables! Each month will be a delivery of your choice of golf ball, tees and a golfing accessory.
Birdie Box: The more advanced golfer’s choice! Each box comes with one or two sleeves of your preference of golf ball, a pack of tees and a piece of apparel.