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How a clever golf startup is hitting the perfect round

Business · 6 min read

Ship Sticks: company profile

You’re on a golfing holiday. Disaster strikes: the airline has lost your golf clubs, your holiday is ruined. Enter Ship Sticks, with a business proposition that can’t stop winning.

It even happens to top tour pros, as Rory McIlroy found out in 2011 (and again in 2014) when his clubs were lost in transit en route to a tournament. They were eventually found, but the damage had been done. He missed the cut. It was his worst performance of the year. 

It’s a nightmare scenario for golfers. But Ship Sticks1, with a little help from courier partners like DHL, has found a reliable, hassle-free way to get a set of golf clubs from A to B without breaking the bank.

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It's not just golf clubs that are at risk

Of all baggage carried in 2016, airlines mishandled more than 20 million items. There are even well-known ‘baggage Bermuda Triangles’. At London’s Heathrow Airport, for example, there’s a 30% chance your luggage will miss its connecting flight.

Is there a better way of shipping valuable items?

Man putting golf ball next to flag and hole

Ship Sticks started in Florida with one simple idea: make it easy for golfers to courier their golf clubs directly to their holiday destination, with prices as much as 60% cheaper than airline baggage fees.

“Think of the hassle of transporting your clubs,” says Ship Sticks founder and CEO Nick Coleman. 

“Dragging them through the airport. The worry of them getting damaged. And of course the chance that your expensive, customized golf clubs won’t turn up at all.”  

For fast growth, choose the right partners

Ship Sticks is every holidaying golfer’s knight in shining armor. “By partnering with companies like DHL, we’ve been able to offer a product that’s cheaper, more efficient, and, crucially, more reliable than any airline. All wrapped up in a simple and reliable customer experience.”

“Our customers find it liberating. They no longer have to travel with their clubs, saving time at both ends of the trip.”

White golf balls on grass

What can your business learn from the masters?

Ship Sticks has partnership agreements with more than 4,000 golf clubs, resorts, hotels and golf shops around the world. This means Ship Sticks customers can touch down at the airport to find their clubs safely at their destination – no hassle, no damage, no worries. 

The results speak for themselves. Ship Sticks has already served over 200,000 customers and shipped 3.5 million sets of clubs. This small Palm Beach-based business has exceeded a 100% growth rate every year since it began. 

Can you do it by yourself?

Ship Sticks puts its success down to two things: the simplicity of its service, and the support and easy working relationship with its courier partners, such as DHL. 

Nick Coleman says, “We’re in contact with DHL 50-60 times a day, coordinating deliveries around the world and working to get each customer’s golf clubs to their destination on time and in perfect condition.”

“We couldn’t offer our service without partners like DHL. DHL brings the expertise and reliable performance that helps us do what we do.”

By negotiating bulk discounts with its carriers, Ship Sticks is up to 60% cheaper than shipping golf clubs with some courier services.

Automation is the name of the game

Ship Sticks golf bags with clubs inside

“Our customers trust us to collect and deliver their golf clubs,” continues Coleman. “And we trust DHL to supply the underlying service.”

“We also trust DHL’s backend monitoring and tracking technology. It helps us tell our clients exactly where their clubs are. Regular and detailed notifications are a core part of our customer service package.”

Ship Sticks own backend systems are plugged-in to DHL’s systems. The whole process is fully automated, from the customer entering their details and hitting ‘Ship Now’ to confirmation of delivery.

How DHL is helping Ship Sticks grow

Today, Ship Sticks customers are primarily American and Canadian residents traveling to golf resorts in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. 

But Ship Sticks has big plans. It will be expanding its services throughout 2018, offering internal shipments both within the USA and European countries. 

Nick's essential tip for a successful business

“I think simplicity is essential: you need to offer a simple easy-to-use service that has a very clear value proposition.” 

“Make sure you have a laser-focus on what you’re offering and how you’re going to deliver it. 

“That’s the only way to have a chance of being successful.”

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