Interview w/ Eric Schmitt, Founder & President Dead Zero Putting

Posted in Interviews by on August 20th, 2015

e-headshotMy desire to get into the golf industry came as an opportunity that developed while working in the ad agency business.  I was introduced to a golf agent — think Jerry Maguire — who had an interesting media/advertising proposal that involved access to and sponsorship of professional golfers.  Fortunately for me and one of my clients, the deal made great business sense on multiple levels and we struck an agreement.  That led to a multi-year partnership and my initial exposure to the golf industry on a business level.

I witnessed first-hand how golf played a role in business and how it could generate greater ROIs than any basic advertising buy.  Observing the power of the partnership and the successes for my client, I made the decision that I wanted to be part of the golf industry full-time in some way.  The idea of marrying my long love for the game of golf with something that could deliver business results was very appealing.  After 4-5 years of doing business with that golf agent and his company, I joined them myself.  I’ve been directly involved with the golf industry ever since — over 15 years — in one form or another.  The most recent spent developing and marketing my Dead Zero Putting Disk.


Matt Ward: What was the impetus in creating the Dead Zero Putting  Disk (DZPD)?

Eric Schmitt: The impetus for creating the DZPD was two-fold.  First, it scratched an entrepreneurial itch to try new things.  Second, and most importantly, I recognized first-hand the importance and value that putting has on your final score and to your overall enjoyment of the game.  If you make more putts and/or three-putt less, it’s the easiest way for anyone to cut several strokes off their score.

MW: Did you review and study other training aid products that were already on the market?

ES: Yes, I spent several months researching putting aids and analyzing their strengths, weaknesses and promised benefits to make sure my concept filled a void in the market.  It seemed like a meaningless task, but it helped in many ways and further cemented I had something new to offer.

DZP-Pro_009-WebMW: What did they fail to do?

ES: One – they don’t offer real long term benefits.  Two – they’re over-complicated in their functionality.  Three, they’re impractical or inconvenient to set up and use.

MW: Where does DZPD succeed in your mind?

ES: The DZPD succeeds in its quality, simplicity and benefits all golfers.  It’s very convenient to carry and to use at any time and in any location.  It doesn’t try to change anyone’s putting stroke so any golfer can use it without fear of changing what works or feels most comfortable for them. Lastly, it’s a quality product.  It looks good and it has substance.

MW: When did the product hit the marketplace?

ES: I introduced the Original DZPD through my website, www.DeadZeroPutting.com, back in May of 2013.  I followed that up in August of last year with the Pro model that includes a bubble level on top of the disk.

MW: How many have sold to date ? Projected numbers by the end of this year?

ES: To date, we’ve sold over 2,000 units including several dozen international orders and orders to club professionals and golf event organizers. We’re gearing up in hopes for a strong Holiday season.  It’s the perfect gift for the golfer in your life who has everything else.

MW: Retail price for the product is? And where can people obtain it?

ES: The retail price for the Original model is $24.95 and the Pro model runs $29.95.  It’s currently available on our website, Amazon and GolfTrainingAids.com.

MW: I ask this of most companies in the product area — does having an endorsement from a PGA or LPGA Tour player(s) matter in terms of credibility to golf consumers?

ES: I don’t have any Tour Professional endorsements at this time, but I can tell you that there are several pros on the Web.com and PGA TOUR that have used it and continue to use it.  I should add that the Director of Golf Instruction at Oakmont CC in Pittsburgh uses the disk in his putting lessons and that Pinehurst Resort included the disks in their recent short game academies.

MW: Are you looking into creating other training aids within golf?

ES: I don’t have any other golf training aids in the works right now, but a few ideas on additional variations of the DZPD that I’m working on.  You might see one of those introduced early 2016.

MW: What was your greatest challenge in getting started and how did you overcome it?

ES: My greatest challenge in getting started was just that – getting started.  I initially created the idea and worked up drawings and a few prototypes 18-24 months before getting serious about the project.  The whole process seemed so daunting – design, sourcing, sales, websites, legal assistance, etc.  I knew if I didn’t act when I did it might never have seen the light of day.  Committing to that first step was the hardest step.

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Matt Ward

M. James Ward (Matt) 20+ year member of the following: Golf Writer's Ass'n of America (GWAA) Met Golf Writer's Ass'n (MGWA) Lives Clifton, NJ USA 17-years served as national course rating panelist / Golf Digest Served far shorter time frame in similar capacity / Golfweek Have played over 2,000 courses globally Former Editor-in-Chief / Jersey Golfer Magazine (15 years) Publications / sites contributed to include: The Met Golfer, Fairways and Greens, Links, Inside NJ, Golf & Travel, back9network, Northeast Golf, Dallas Morning News, Newark Star-Ledger, among others.

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