DUFF Interview: Powerbilt Golf's President Ross Kvinge
Powerbilt Golf has been in the clubmaking business for years, and the release of their new Air Force One DFX driver in 2014 brings them very much into the market spotlight. I recently reviewed the AFO DFX driver for the Back9Network, but was also invited to interview company President Ross Kvinge to learn more about this exciting new product. Chicagoduffer.com: Powerbilt has been around the golf industry for many years, but younger golfers might not be as familiar with the brand. What separates Powerbilt from other big-name golf club brands on the market today?
Ross Kvinge: PowerBilt is in a unique position to separate itself with the Patented Nitrogen Charged Technology. Even though we are a small company, the technology has proven it can compete and in most cases beat the majors in performance and overall distance. Over the years through independent testing we continue to come out near the top. That said we are working on getting the message out and bring awareness to our success. One area we definitely need to bring awareness to is the younger demographics under 40. As the trend in the younger market is following extreme sports, we are separating our self and working with extreme sport athletes with the emphasis on MMA athletes to help us develop and extreme fitness program specifically for Golf.
The golf driver market is quickly becoming saturated with options as bigger companies release new clubs more often. Why should customers test out a Powerbilt driver when shopping for clubs this off-season?
The market is saturated, over saturated. That said we have always had to deal with the intense branding of the major manufactures, tour presence and the consumer perception. We are starting to see the consumer taking a step back from all the hype. When a consumer is interested in the numbers and performance when testing equipment we win. The performance speaks for itself. If you are looking for more distance and accuracy over a fashionable club, we recommend the Air Force One.
Powerbilt has received a lot of press lately about signing MMA fighters to sponsorship deals. Can you expand on this marketing approach and why golfers can relate to these athletes?
H&B has always been a sports related company and we have now developed a comprehensive program to cross market extreme sports with golf. We have reached out to baseball players, MMA fighters, BMX, Motocross, surfers and snowboarders and developed a fitness program to enhance and improve the quality and participation in golf. We have discovered and developed a huge demographic of athletes and fans that golf but haven’t really connected fully to the sport since it is not extreme enough. Through our program tying our technology and extreme fitness program together we are reaching a large demographic that want more distance, less fatigue and to see golf as a bit more edgy and more sports-oriented. Through this program we have developed a successful ambassador program with these athletes supporting and promoting our cause.
What are some of the exciting new features in the Air Force One driver that you'd like our readers to know?
Our Patented “Nitrogen Charged Technology” enables us to do a few things that other manufactures are unable to do. First we have the thinnest driver face in golf that does not have any internal bracing. The nitrogen supports the face. Therefore the face is one thickness from toe to heel, crown to sole. What this does is create consistency from anywhere off the face, no dead spots, no hot spots. The Second the Nitrogen pressure rebounds the face faster to increase ball speed, which increases distance, while still staying in the USGA guidelines for trampoline effect. Third, the support of the nitrogen reduces spin which creates more carry and roll. Tie this in with the top branded shafts we offer and you will see a winning combination.
At the end of the day, where do you envision Powerbilt to rank among more common golf company brands?
We have a ways to go but can see we are headed in the right direction. Emphasis for the past few years has been on product development and performance. We now are developing our marketing to get out and tell the story. The final piece we will need is tour presence. This year we started working on the Web.com and Champions Tour and will expand that out more next year. These 3 pieces put together should put us up there where we need to be.
Finally, what new products does Powerbilt have in store for golfers in the coming months?
We have some exciting products coming out shortly in other categories. We found in our current models of fairway woods, hybrids and Irons that nitrogen increases performance, however not to the degree we have had with the driver. Due to the smaller faces we don’t see as much benefit from the nitrogen as we would like. That said we have been working with different materials and designs that will give us the pop off the face we now see with the driver. Keep an eye out this fall as we begin to roll out the new product.