From Hardcore Rock to Golf: David Barrigan’s Entrepreneurial Journey

One of my favorite questions to ask in an interview is “who is your greatest inspiration?”. You can learn so much about a person. What motivates them, their aspirations, career goals, mindset, outlook on life… to name a few.

For David Barrigan, one of those inspirations is the founder of Nike, Phil Knight. Mr. Shoe Dog himself. And if you are not sure what I am referring to then I suggest you get your hands on a copy of Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. Hands down one of the most fascinating books any entreprenuer can read. But that is an article for another day.

As you read on to our Q&A below, you will see that David takes a line from the entrepreneurial legend himself. JUST DO IT.

That simple thought has been an overarching theme throughout the magazine and podcast. Taking that first step is everything. And then you can’t stop until that vision you see for your life is a reality.

With that mindset, David wrapped up his first year of his recent venture in golf, Putting Edge. And that year in itself is an inspiration to listen to that simple advice.

Putting Edge, his custom mini golf course company for corporations, has worked with the likes of Amazon, New Balance, O2, Harvas Lynx, and more. He is currently in the process of building a golf apparel company called Foreward which will be launching in 2018. And he has started a charity called Putt For Dough dedicated to helping out the homeless in Northwest England. All this just because he decided to start. He decided to do it.

Check out our interview below to learn more about David, his life with golf, and why he decided to start his own business. Enjoy!

G&E: Tell us a little about yourself?

David: I live in the North West of England in between Liverpool and Manchester and went to college in Leeds (a long time ago). I come from the DIY punk/hardcore/metal scene of the early 90’s and those values are essential to my working life. From working with merchandise and bands to 13 years as a Sociology teacher, I’ve always been someone who is quite counter-cultural. I don’t see a lot out there that I like..so I do it myself.

G&E: When did you first start playing golf, and why did you pick up the game?

David: I got into golf at a relatively late stage after injuries stopped me from playing football in my early 30’s. My Dad played golf and I took his 3 wood to the driving range one evening. He got me a lesson the week after and I was hooked from that moment on.

G&E: What made you want to start Putting Edge?

David: I’d been in a few situations where I was thinking about golf rather than where I was at the time. It made me think how I could bring a form of golf to weddings, meetings, teambuilding activities, etc. It needed to be a simple concept that could work in a wide variety of situations.

I look at things from a different perspective and wanted to use my creativity and practical skills in a different way. I wanted a more flexible working and varied environment which Putting Edge provides in abundance. Every course is modular and is designed to fit the client’s needs.

It’s almost like making a putting green out of Lego. In bringing a different form of golf to a diverse audience at events we can engage individuals and groups regardless of age, class, gender, ethnicity, and ability. I’d like to change the stigma of golf and do something that hasn’t been seen before.

G&E: Have you engaged in any other entrepreneurial ventures prior to Putting Edge?

David: Before I started Putting Edge, I was a teacher for 13 years. Going way back to my college days and early 20’s I made merchandise for hardcore/punk and metals bands. This is something I’ll be coming back to in early 2018 with an off-course golf clothing line.

G&E: What doors have opened as a result of Putting Edge?

David: I’ve got to play some of the best courses in Europe as we have provided our products for charity nights at prestigious golf clubs on England’s Golf Coast in Southport. We have managed to work with some large national and global companies such as Amazon, Havas Lynx, New Balance and O2, who we will continue to work with around the country.

G&E: What is your vision for yourself and your company in the future?

David: Putting Edge will diversify beyond mini golf over the next year. This will always be a core part of our business but we have plans within the rest of the golf industry to ‘fill in’ a few more ‘blanks’ as it were. The industry is quite a closed shop in Europe but we have plans to change it up a bit. I’d like to get to a point where I fulfill just the director role as our growth continues and play a little more ‘real golf’ (especially as I’m putting so well!)

G&E: What have you learned most from starting Putting Edge?

David: It’s essential that you value you’re product and service. When you first start out and are looking to get the first few bookings, there is a temptation to lower your price. I was reminded to stick with our tagline, Mini Golf Major Events. It’s ok to say no.

G&E: How does Putting Edge engage with the community?

David: We started a charity offshoot called Putt For Dough where we donate our courses for fundraising events associated with homelessness. It’s a huge problem in the North West of England that I feel needs attention brought to it. We were part of the Homeless Games in Liverpool which was one of the most enjoyable events we’ve done.

G&E: What kind of advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

David: Similar to a lot of startups on the podcast, it’s a risk but if you have an idea then take the chance. Too many people are flicking through their phone, hoping for a better life. JUST DO IT (to coin a phrase of one of my inspirations)

Rapid Fire Round

G&E: Who/What is your greatest inspiration?

David: Phil Knight (CEO Nike) and Jacob Bannon/Kurt Ballou (From the hardcore band Converge)

G&E: What’s in your bag?

David: Nike Vapor Driver, 3 wood, 5 wood and 23-degree hybrid. Wilson Staff D200 irons 5-PW. Nike Engage Wedges 50, 56, and 60. Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 #7 and Nike Method Blade putter (I change them about occasionally) I have a few dozen remaining Nike balls and I’m looking for a replacement at the moment.

G&E: Describe your perfect round?

David: The first time I played my local course (before I was a member at Poulton Park GC) I shot the lowest round of my life on a gorgeous sunny day. Never got close since! When I play golf, I try not to think of anything else, so anytime my mind is clear, that’s the perfect round (unless I 3 putt!)

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