G&E Magazine aims to deconstruct the journey that golfers and entrepreneurs alike take on their road to success in the world.  Their achievements, as well as their trials and tribulations, serve to inspire us.  Our goal is to pass that inspiration along to our readers.

This week, we have the pleasure of introducing Brendan McAuley and Matt Moss of Chippo Golf. And they were nice enough to offer our readers 15% off with the code GANDE15!

Thanks for joining us today, guys.  So before we get into Chippo, tell me about yourselves… where did you grow up?

Brendan McAuley:  Happy to… we were both born and raised on the “mean streets” of Hicksville, NY.  We were actually friends growing up and throughout high school.  I went to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.  I played lacrosse there and studied English.  After college, I spent one glorious year bar tending, working at a golf course and coaching High School lacrosse. But, I eventually succumbed to societal and parental pressures and got a “real job” at an investment company. I also went on to get my MBA from UNC Chapel Hill.

Matt Moss:  
I was always into sales and marketing – even at a young age – so I went to a Graphic/Web Design Technical School after High School.  I attended a Gary Vaynerchuk keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York in 2008…  that really got me interested in social media and entrepreneurship.

Brendan and I are now brothers-in-law as we ended up dating sisters and then marrying sisters… the same sisters.  Not a different set of sisters.  That would be weird.  [Laughter]  So we started spending a lot of time together.  We were always talking about business ideas, and we both always wanted to do something entrepreneurial, so when Brendan came up with the idea for Chippo, we decided to man-up and run with it.

That’s fantastic, thanks for the background.  So, how’d you guys get into golf?

Brendan:  We both started playing golf at a cheap, little, unkempt 9 hole municipal golf course in our hometown of Hicksville called Cantiague Golf Course, which we now affectionately call Cantiague Country Club, or “CCC.”  I think it costs like $8 to play… You can pay $2 extra dollars to take a rusted old pull cart out with one functioning wheel.  Or you can just take the pull cart when the guy at the register looks away or falls asleep.

Matt M:  That’s right… I didn’t start playing golf until after high school, so my memories of CCC involve smashing the ball around with buddies, adult beverages and other shenanigans.  From there, I fell in love with the game and have played regularly ever since.

Brendan:  Yeah, I guess I started playing at CCC when I was like 10 years old.  There was nothing like an ice cold Dr. Pepper and a bag of Dipsy Doodles at the turn.  The “turn” at CCC – which was between holes 4 and 5 – had all the amenities.  A park bench and a vending machine.  I’d play with my dad and brothers – sometimes some other friends or my grandfather. 

Occasionally, a group of us would go out for a “quick 9” that would turn into 13 or 14 on slow days when the course was empty or the guy at the turn was napping.  Always fun and casual, but we got competitive.  CCC, like most most municipal courses that get young golfers hooked on the game, holds a special place in both of our hearts.  But, in our opinion, it was missing one little thing:  a game that combined golf and cornhole.  And that’s because we hadn’t invented it yet – we’re talking past tense here…

Perfect, let’s talk about that a little more.  What made you want to start Chippo Golf?

Brendan:  We knew we wanted to start a business, so we conducted a large survey using “science” and learned that 98% of the population was comprised of washed up athletes.  A second study, which was conducted using even more science, found that the two things that washed up athletes love more than any other things in this world are golf and backyard games.  So, we decided to combine those two things – that’s how Chippo was born.

People always say to us:  “Man, I wish I came up with this idea.”  The simplicity of the idea for Chippo and the fact that it combines two things about which we are both passionate, are what initially led us to want to pursue the idea.  We built prototypes and started playing and quickly realized that it was an amazing game.  Like… really amazing.  More fun than regular golf and more fun than cornhole – or any other sport we ever played or any activity we ever did.

We also felt that the timing was great because it seemed like the tides were finally turning in the golf world where young stud pro golfers were bringing some fun back into the sport and attracting younger fans.  More importantly, we realized we had a once in a lifetime opportunity to create and launch a product that we loved and a brand that was fun, authentic and unique.  A good little story… Early on, we brought a prototype to the beach and started playing.  Within minutes, there was crowd gathered around us.  I remember looking around and seeing dads grabbing other dads from their beach chairs to come look.  Moms grabbing their kids.  Kids grabbing their buddies. A dolphin even emerged from the ocean and walked up onto the beach to take a look.  [Laughter]  We just knew we were onto something.  We also decided to never bring Chippo out in public again until we launched the Kickstarter.

That’s awesome!  Love those little anecdotes from the early stages… So, how did you guys land on the name “Chippo Golf?”

Brendan:  Lots and lots of science and math and equations and even some quantum physics were used in developing the name Chippo Golf.  We consulted Stephen Hawking, RIP.  It was a rigorous and difficult process. There was a long list of names, including one name which we won’t reveal here that we really loved, but the web domain was taken by an adult entertainment site… which would likely have caused some serious confusion.

Haha!  We appreciate your discretion… So prior to Chippo, do either of you have any entrepreneurial experience?

Brendan:  Nope, this has been our first attempt.

And do you think any doors have opened for you as a result of starting Chippo?

Brendan:  Well, we’ve been to the Masters, the PGA Championship, the Genesis Open.  We’re also attending Tiger Jam later this year, the PGA Merchandise Show and Demo Day.  We won Best New Product at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show! 

Let’s see… We’ve been to the Golf Digest office as well as the Barstool Sports office.  We even met John Daly! We’ve had the opportunity to speak with some amazing people in the golf industry.  People are serious, as are we, about the idea that Chippo – the game and the brand – can actually help grow the game of golf, and so many people have been willing to talk to us.  Even the females!  Which is weird because, before we started Chippo, females usually wouldn’t speak to us.  [Laugher] 

We hear a lot:  “We love what you guys are doing.”  Little do they know, we have no idea what we’re doing.  But really, the most important and humbling and amazing part of all of this has been the incredible group of partners and customers we’ve managed to assemble around Chippo in just one year.  We like to think of #ChippoNation as a stampeding herd of Chippopotamuses, somewhat determined to change the worlds of golf and games forever, but more so just here to hang out, chip some golf balls and perhaps enjoy a casual adult beverage or two.

That’s amazing… you guys seem to know how to have a good time!  So, what’s your vision for Chippo?

Brendan:  Anything short of total and utter world domination is unacceptable.  Dr. Evil and Mini Me are our role models.  Kidding… We do truly believe that Chippo Golf can be a central player in the long-term turnaround story that is currently unfolding in golf.  We could tell you all our plans, but we’d have to kill you.  And we don’t want to kill you because we really like your publication.

Haha well, in that case, thanks for keeping is out of the loop. So what have you learned most since starting Chippo?

Brendan:  I’ve historically been a misanthropic loser.  But through Chippo, I’ve come to learn that people can be pretty amazing.  It has been unreal to see how positive people can be when they recognize and support a unique idea.  Did Chippo save my soul?  I’ll let you be the judge…

Great answer.  Can’t wait for everyone reading this to look up “misanthropic.”  So, how does Chippo engage with the community?

Glad you asked… This is actually a key part of who we are as a company.  Chippo lends itself naturally to Charity Golf events.  Both as a cool new replacement for the putting contest fundraiser, a way to engage participants and also as a unique silent auction item. 

Helping others has always been important to us personally.  Brendan has run charity events centered around backyard game competitions for the last ten years.  So since we started Chippo, we’ve been very involved with many charitable organizations including the Tiger Woods Foundation, PGA Hope, the Toby Keith Foundation, the LA Kings Care Foundation & Children’s Hospital, The Anaheim Ducks Foundation, Smile Farms, The Boulder Crest Foundation and the Michael Magro Foundation, to name a few. We are also launching an initiative in 2018 called “Chippo for Charity” where we will be supporting 75+ charity golf events throughout the course of the year.

We are also big supporters of the military and have sent a bunch of Chippo sets overseas for members of the military to play during downtime.  We have a good time and don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we do take seriously the fact that maybe our little game, through these great charitable organizations, can improve lives and help to make people happy.  That is pretty cool stuff!

That is really cool.  Glad you guys are keeping the right perspective.  Before I jump into some rapid-fire questions, is there anything else you’d like to mention about Chippo Golf?

Matt M:  We’ve launched Chippo Custom and have had crazy success with it so far.  Customers are obsessed with their customized Chippo sets.  So, if you’re reading this and have a massive custom order, email us.  

Awesome.  So let’s hit some rapid fire questions.  Who or what is your greatest inspiration?

Brendan:  My kids.

Matt M:  Same here – my son, Dax.

Nice – what’s your favorite time of year and time of day to play a round?

Brendan:  Real golf?  Or as we like to call it, non-Chippo golf?  Fall, early morning.  Please note that Chippo Golf is fun all day, every day.

Good call.  If you could play 18 with anyone, who would it be?

Brendan:  My dad and my two brothers.

Favorite course beverage?

Brendan:  Ice cold beer.  Jameson when its cold out.  Tito’s and almost anything when it’s hot out.

I can get on board with that.  Have you made any golf-related purchases lately – other than Chippo Golf products – that you’re particularly excited about?

Brendan:  Man, there are so many cool golf brands out there… Cobra Puma has been awesome to us, and we’ve been using their King Wedges and just breaking world records in Chippo.  Although our chipping has become so deadly and efficient, and we never really even need a putter anymore, we just picked up a couple of custom Bradley Putters which are works of art.  We spend way too much money on gear from Linksoul, Travis Mathew and William Murray Golf, to name a few others…

That’s great.  Do you guys use any tools to stay focused when running Chippo?

Brendan:  Slap boxing.  It doesn’t work and it’s also not very fun.  We’re going to stop using slap boxing. #smart #entrepreneurship #learning

Probably not sustainable.  Well, this has been great, guys.  Thanks for the time!