Ryan Engle's love for golf started at age 11 after watching the movie Happy Gilmore. Fast forward almost two decades later finds Ryan combining his love for computer science, writing code and golf to become the Founder and CEO of GOLF+, who are leaders in VR golf with a mission to grow the game by making it more accessible.
"My first virtual reality putt was 20-footer uphill with a left-to-right break. I hit it and put it 6 inches past the hole, burning the edge on the left. I thought, "Wow that felt exactly like hitting a putt." After that magical moment I said to the team "okay you know what, we're going to pivot 100% into VR."
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"I spent a lot of time building out this putting physics model that felt very accurate. I ended up having a 3D model of hole seven at Pebble Beach, so I took Tiger's four putts from the US Open, set them up so the flag and his starting point were in the same spots. This made you think, "I'm going to stand in the shoes of Tiger and hit his putts!" I took the handheld controller that weighs a couple of ounces and I found a bike clamp and I clamped it to my putter. I'm holding my putter in virtual reality and when I move it I see the virtual putter moving exactly the same way."
Click on the image below to watch our extended conversation with Ryan on our Youtube Channel!
"The Oculus Quest VR headset was a gamechanger as it was a standalone product that didn't need to be connected to a computer".
To learn more, check out GOLF+ for the Meta Quest. https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/2412327085529357/
[02:40] Ryan shares his first golf experience and the movie that made his fall in love with the game.
[06:20] Ryan talks about the WORST job he ever had and what he positively learned from it.
[09:00] Ryan tells us how he got into the golf business and his first golf startup venture.
[15:00] Ryan and Colin discuss the challenges that entrepreneurship presents, and the difficult decisions one has to make when deciding whether to continue grinding on what you are creating or to pivot and build something else.
[17:45] Ryan describes the Oculus Quest headset that redefined the virtual reality landscape and how it is a gamechanger for GOLF+.
[23:00] Colin and Ryan talk about the importance of timing when launching a product, along with the other factors that make for a successful startup venture.
[25:30] Ryan shares the power of partnerships and how they added value to their collaboration with Topgolf.
[31:00] Colin puts on his investor hat to ask Ryan about the GOLF+ revenue model and who their users are.
[35:40] Ryan talks about the size of the VR gaming market, the projected future growth and the demographics of their users.
[39:00] Ryan shares how GOLF+ incorporates various player modes so that the experience applies to both beginner and accomplished golfers.
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