We caught up with Stephanie Zinser, owner and CFO of Lynx Golf, on how they have dealt with the bad hand 2020 has dealt everyone.
How has Covid-19 changed Lynx’s year?
Gosh – Covid has certainly affected everyone, hasn’t it? For us it’s been rather personal as my mother contracted covid when she went to hospital with something entirely unrelated; she caught covid after two weeks in the hospital, and we watched her slowly disappear over video calls over the two weeks following that. She already had Alzheimer’s, and she was lonely, scared, and kept forgetting why nobody was with her, despite the fact that we and the lovely staff were constantly explaining. It was heart-wrenching to watch. I will never forget the fact that she had possibly the worst death one can imagine. I also don’t believe you cannot take covid seriously enough, so we are all over social distancing, PPE and safety in both the workplace and at leisure.
How have Lynx adapted and helped their retailers throughout lockdown and beyond?
We locked down before the country was told to; we asked as many staff who could remote work, to do so, and of course it affected everyone very badly. It was nobody’s fault. Golf was a lucky beneficiary, it turns out, in being a sport that lends itself easily to social distancing, and it seems that a fair few people have taken up the sport as lockdown has eased; Pros and retailers could and should take full advantage of this as it plays into their strengths, with novice golfers wanting advice on not just their game, but their choices of equipment, too. We realise that the financial hardship has been felt by many, many Pros, and we have already offered very extended dating (from invoices in June being given dating until November) because trading one’s way out of the chaos that lockdown has caused is not going to be easy for anyone. We only win if everyone wins in this scenario.
Have you had to make many changes to your HQ?
We are lucky to have several adjoining premises and therefore spacing people out has been easy for us. There is no substitute for common sense and realising that when you play fast-and-loose with distancing and PPE, the greatest risk is not to yourself, but to the others around you. We have a very sensible and selfless team who all look out for each other, and hand sanitisers, gloves and thermometers are now an integral part of the office culture.
Which products have proven to be popular this year and why?
Junior Ai, which has been completely reimagined and was launched this January, has literally flown off the shelves; so much so that the factory cannot keep up with demand, even with covid. It’s terrific equipment and because the key premise behind it (proportionalising every element of the club for the junior golfer, including the ball with its reduced weights) stands up, people who buy it are now realising why it’s so good. And of course, with budgets being tight among consumers, it gives them unbeatable value as well. We keep saying that just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean it is necessarily better. The more people see Lynx product, the more they realise how true this is. We keep innovating at every turn, yet our prices are not gouging people’s pockets. There is a sensitivity to this now, quite rightly, in the market. We have never and will never rip our customers off. Of course, the other new product which is worth a long, hard look is the Prowler VT Switch Face Driver – again, launched at this years’ show – the face of the driver is removable and can be switched for a different face in a different loft altogether. I think people need to hit it to realise just how incredible it is, and of course the interchangeable nature of having different lofted faces means that you don’t have to keep buying a whole new driver – with this, all you do is buy a new face. Economical, brilliant, technologically superb. I won’t say any more. Just try it!
Are there any new products launching soon?
As you can imagine, covid has put the brakes on a lot of innovation (and everything else) this year, but yes we are innovating. The concept of the Junior Ai being reimagined for younger players with slower swing speeds has given us food for thought, and we are at the moment seeing how we can apply that same principle to the senior golf market. Watch this space! Golf is a great game, and we want to make sure that old or young, everyone can play it. We will never ignore the edges of our market, and to us, the Junior and Senior players are just as important. Lynx aims to be the go-to choice for anyone who loves golf – old or young, high or low handicap. It’s possible to please everyone.
How is the US expansion going?
Again, in a disrupted year, it’s been better than we might have expected. Always heartening! I think the same issues are being faced across the Pond, but golf has definitely seen an uptick in interest. Of course, Lynx was an even bigger name in the USA than it was here in the UK, so we remain cautiously optimistic about what the future holds.
What positives can you take from the challenges this year has put in your way, and will they shape the company moving forward?
Having lost someone very close, obviously the biggest lesson that 2020 has reinforced on us all is to cherish those close to you. One never knows what may happen, or when. But I was originally taught this same lesson in my early 30’s when I was given three weeks to live unless I had an operation that at the time carried a 30% mortality rate. It made me focus my mind on what was important, and not to waste my life pottering about, achieving nothing. This year has reinforced those feelings. I believe the fragility of life has affected everyone; it certainly has in the Lynx Family, and we all stand here now more determined than ever to make this work – for ourselves, the retailers who choose to support us, and the players who choose our products. We won’t stop trying to do our very best and we want to make sure we continue to support our retailers who have had a dreadful year. Come to us, talk to us, let us see how we can help and work together. It’s a good journey when you connect with the right people. Stay safe, everyone x