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The Club Caddy: An Interview and a Short Review

May. 20, 2008     By     Comments (21)

It's been an up-and-down year for David Jones since winning Fore Inventors Only, but we think it's ended on a definite "up."

Bag DropDavid Jones' Club Caddy won the first edition of Fore Inventors Only. Unfortunately, it's taken David until this month - nearly a full year later - to put in place his business and manufacturing partners and to begin selling the Club Caddy en masse to resellers and consumers.

Other folks from the show, like Gary Sherrell and Dean Thompson, have been interviewed by this site, and this time around we're going to talk with David about the troubles he's encountered. Following the interview, we'll share our thoughts on the Club Caddy.

Read on to see how the winner - and his product - have fared in the year since Fore Inventors Only concluded.

Interview with David Jones

The Sand Trap: So a lot of people go "Oh come on, it's a big clothespin! I should have thought of that!" But they didn't, and you did. So, tell us, how DID you think of it?

Club CaddyDavid Jones: I believe I was divinely inspired to create The Club Caddy. Some would call it a gift. I certainly do. Once pointed in the right direction, I worked and worked (obsessed?) to design the Caddy for maximum efficiency and utility. It had to work on 100% of the clubs out there. It doesn't (belly, long putters and fat-shaft clubs are not very compatible) but it works on, I'd say, 98% or more of clubs, so that's pretty good. I felt it needed to be as small as possible and so user friendly that it would be a No-Brain-er!  I believe it is.

TST: You're one of the last people with success on the show to actually bring your product to market. What's taken so long? Why haven't we been using the Club Caddy for six months already? Tell us about the troubles you've had getting this thing on shelves and into the hands of golfers?

Jones: Many of the products seen on the show were already in the market. Some had been for a while. I began with homemade models and $0.00 capital. I thought that when I made it to the top five, interested parties would show up, inject cash and business expertise, and we'd be off and running in no time. We had several offers to move forward and we were diligent in our research. Having finally garnered the world's attention, we wanted to capitalize on the attention, launch with a great product and secure the best "deal" for us. We were fortunate to be introduced around mid-October to a party that we eventually aligned ourselves with to bring the product to market. Getting the final design for our first production run took some time and effort. Eight months from the Finale, but only six from our initial meeting with our manufacturer to market is not too bad, I think, when you play the cards we had.

David JonesTST: What toll has this taken on your life - financially, personally…?

Jones: You mean besides my sanity? Just kidding. We did spend some money along the way (twelve years working on this) and countless hours trying to get some one's attention that could help us get this product into the marketplace. We've made some mistakes along the way and will probably make some more. My kids, now 26-23-17-12-8 yrs old, have grown up with "Daddy's obsession". I couldn't have done it without 'em. They have all contributed to where we are now, on the verge of a great, at least for us, enterprise and the potential to change our lives for the better.

TST: Was the Club Caddy your first invention or have you had other ideas for golf equipment? What other ideas did you have that were hits or misses? Do you have anything else in the works?

Jones: The Club Caddy was the first. It led to a couple more. One is the bag clip that comes with the Caddy. Players slide it over the rim of their bag, wherever it's convenient and hang the Caddy for easy access. It enhances the user friendly part of the Caddy. My other idea has been explored and I've received feedback that it positive. I have yet to file paperwork so I won't go into exactly what it is. It is a golf based product however.

TST: What did you take out of being involved with "Fore Inventors Only"? Was it worth being on the show?

Jones: I think any inventor would love to be on a show that could not only give them valuable feedback about their idea but also the exposure for that idea. I am grateful to The Golf Channel, Golf Smith and the Golf Agency for the way "Fore Inventors Only" was put together and for the opportunities that have come our way because of the program. It was an experience of a lifetime and overall wonderful to be a part of the show. I came away with more than I expected. I honestly went to the show for the exposure in the industry and the hope of moving forward with our dream. I'd say we got that in spades. Response has been great so far. We expect good days ahead.

TST: What was your favorite part of "Fore Inventors Only"? What was your least favorite part?

Jones: I'd have to say my favorite part was seeing the look on my family's face when we won. I've never seen my wife and kids crying tears of joy. We had struggled for many, many years to "break in" to the golf world and the win was pretty overwhelming. The least favorite part was watching the eliminations of the other competitors. It hurt to see dreams and aspirations set back, because I had experienced that feeling many times before and I knew how they felt.

PackagingTST: What is your honest assessment of the other four "Final Five" contestants? Were you surprised some of the products made it as far as they did?

Jones: Smart, focused, funny and genuinely real people. Some of the finest people I've ever met were on that finale stage with me. I was blessed to be there and privileged to get to know them as well as I did. We all stayed in the same hotel when we went to Orlando for the finale and we got to spend time with all of them and their families. What a great bunch of people. I certainly was not surprised at who the five finalists turned out to be. Each one is innovative and will enhance the game.

TST: The Club Caddy excluded, what products do you think should have gone further in the competition than they did?

Jones: I think the ones chosen as the top ten, in my opinion, were the top ten products. As to the top five, I think I'll be satisfied with the judges call. I'm sure it was a tough decision with Gyroswing, PowerStance and Strike-N-Swipe in the running. I'm not going to second guess them. Let's face it. If they were after the most innovative, technological, outside the box invention there, I wouldn't have won. I believe their were many useful products in the competition and they will find a place in the market.

TST: What was your career path prior to inventing the Club Caddy? Have you always been involved in the golf industry?

Jones: My main career has always been as a Dad. I've got five kids and did whatever it took to pay the bills and provide. I've been everything from a restaurant manager to a lumberjack. I've worked as the green's keeper at two courses and they were probably my favorite jobs. You could look back at the end of the day and feel good about what you did that brought enjoyment to other people. I've loved golf since I began playing at thirteen in Southeast Texas but never worked in the industry until the mid 90s.

TST: What hobbies or interests outside of golf do you enjoy? Family?

Jones: My main interest and hobby is my kids. I try to spend as much time with them as I can and be involved in what they are doing. I enjoy reading, swimming, playing guitar and music. I grew up surfing on the Texas coast and hope to get to do that some more, though in different places. I want to travel and expose my children to places, people and things that we have never had the money to do before. Of course I want to play more golf and work with programs developed to encourage kids to get involved with the sport.

Product Review - Club Caddy

StandingThe Club Caddy is one of the simpler products a golfer might consider buying. It's one of those Why-didn't-I-think-of-that? sort of things that, upon being "thinked" of, tend to do rather well with consumers. The Club Caddy won Fore Inventors Only, after all, and despite taking a year to reach the marketplace, interest and demand for the product is still high among those who watched the show. Those who didn't, well, they'll just have to hear about the product the old-fashioned way.

The Club Caddy is a plastic, spring-loaded clip that, when attached to a golf club just above the hosel, forms a tripod. This tripod is not only easily seen - assisting forgetful golfers in remembering their clubs next to the green before driving to the next hole - but also serves to prevents the grip from getting wet or dirty.

Imagine you've got a bunker shot and your partner wants to park the cart by the next tee. No problem - you grab your Club Caddy, your putter, and your sand wedge. You clip the Club Caddy to your putter, set it beside the bunker, and play your shot. After raking, you move the Club Caddy over to your wedge, set it down, and putt out. When you're done, you walk past your wedge, pick it up, and move along. Your grips will have stayed dry, you won't have to bend down to pick up your clubs. The odds that you'll forget your sand wedge in the greenside rough are dramatically lessened.

Closeup
The Club Caddy clips to your shaft just above the hosel, forming a fairly stable tripod that keeps your grips dry.

That sounds great in theory, but fortunately it's just that simple in practice as well. The Club Caddy works as advertised, and like many slap-the-forehead, "duh" types of ideas, makes you wonder how you got along without one. Golfers have previously shoved bent pieces of metal into the ground, rested clubs on headcovers or towels, or just put up with wet grips and forgotten clubs. This $20 clip will change things.

Once the Club Caddy is clipped on a club, it forms a fairly secure base that doesn't require a careful balancing act - you can just set the club down while walking and move on. It's easier to balance the Club Caddy on flat terrain or up the slope of a hill (rather than down the slope), but I never had difficulty finding a spot where the Club Caddy easily balanced. You can even rest a second club against the first, though that requires a tad more effort. In a stiff breeze, one club remains fairly stable so long as it's angled with the wind. Two clubs in a stiff breeze… not so much.

The Club Caddy, made of high-strength plastic, withstood several of my torture tests. I threw it against the wooden structures that house my course's drinking water. I ran over it with a cart. I bent it against the ground. I dropped it onto the cart path several times. It's escaped intact.

Clip on Bag
The Club Caddy comes with a clip that attaches to your golf bag, a welcome post-show addition.

The Club Caddy now ships with a small bag clip that has a post. When not in use, clip the Club Caddy to the post and it's ready when you need it next. This bag clip is a welcome post-Fore Inventors Only addition to the product, and it makes using the product that much easier.

Though ideal for cart riders who must often carry a few clubs to their ball, the Club Caddy is lightweight and still offers enough function that it has come in handy during my walking rounds. I can set my bag beside the next tee while finishing out around the greens, or put my bag out in the fairway on a parallel hole, taking my driver, wedge, and putter with me.

With a retail price of $20, the Club Caddy is being sold both online (theclubcaddy.com) and at various retailers (online and brick-and-mortar). Though perhaps a bit steep, I've found the insurance that I'll never lose a club and the benefits of having dry grips to be more than worth the asking price.

Update: September 20, 2008 Despite never having broken a Club Caddy (still!), I received a replacement Club Caddy from David Jones today with a note that read, in part:

I am sending you a NEW & IMPROVED Club Caddy. Use it and let me know what you think. The distributor we licensed made some mistakes in manufacturing and many units failed or were inferior. I got him to do a RECALL and revamp the Caddy. It is now a product that I am very happy with. The product is as sound as the concept.

The "improved" Club Caddy appears to be made from a slightly different plastic. It's thicker, and the external "grippy" portions extend extrude through to the inside. Again, I never had any problems with the one I've used, but this version strikes me as a bit more solid and durable.

Discussion

  1. FilipFilip says:

    I dunno. Maybe for $10 I'd get it... Maaaybe $12.99 at the MOST.

    I never understood why people who are twisting and torquing their spines, shoulders and body to such extremes (mostly for fun) need such a plethora of products to assist them with bending over and picking up their balls and clubs (i guess bending over is not that fun).

    If you don't want to forget your clubs, put them by the flag when you take it out.

  2. … need such a plethora of products to assist them with bending over…

    It's about a bit more than stopping you from having to bend over. Bending over isn't going to keep your grips dry, for example.

  3. Hank says:

    I liked the idea when the show was running but now think that it might be something you would try and then forget.
    A friend made a couple of homemade jobs and we used them for about 2 weeks. The real one is smaller and the clip is a really good addition as the main pain was getting it out of the bag and on the club etc.
    I hope it goes well for him...gee 5 kids

  4. Filipfilip says:

    OK. I'm a sucker... Just two days ago I played two rounds in a day, and then for fun, with the day winding down, I hit three more holes (10th, 11th and 12th - which circled back around to the clubhouse) at dusk.

    Being the tired newbie golfer that I am, I left TWO clubs on the green at the 12th, and walked it off the course home... That's TWO new Cobra Graphite shaft clubs (9i and PW) that are going to cost me a minimum of $200 to replace.

    Now I'm sucking it up and buying a Club Caddy because I feel that even if I do forget a club again (unlikely - I hope I learned my lesson!) - if I had only had the Club Caddy that day, I think there's a better chance me or my partner would have noticed the clubs.

    I was too tired to notice the weight difference in my bag until my next day golfing... And sadly, no one returns new graphite clubs apparently (lesson #2).

    But from now on, I'm counting my clubs every three holes (lesson #3), and buying myself a C.C.... $20 vs $200... Easy choice now.

    -F

  5. Mallard says:

    I have used the Club Caddy for about 8 rounds and it is a worthwhile addition to your bag. More so if you cart it around the course. I played one round in a strong wind and the Club Caddy remained stable provided the shaft was pointed into the wind. This is actually an unintended benefit of the device. When I got to the greens, I had to pay attention to where the wind was coming from, which was useful when playing the next holes. In six rounds over Memorial Day weekend, the wind blew the Club Caddy over only twice.

    I found that if you have two clubs, it actually stabilizes the set up. The weight of the second club will push down on the first club and help ground the tripod better. Also, when I am done cleaning my ball, if I toss my towel down over the head of the wedge in the Club Caddy, that also helps stabilize the set up.

    The caddy comes with a rubber o-ring, which I almost threw away. However, the ring helps hold together the bottom of the clip so that when it stores easier in your bag without the ends spread fully apart.

    Stop moaning that it costs $20. This is a device that will last for a long while and will get a lot of use. If you amortize the cost over the time you will own a Club Caddy, it's pennies a round.

  6. Hank says:

    Wow Filip, did you not follow your own advice and leave them by the flag etc.
    Sorry, I know what a drag it is to loose anything but I really don't understand why the person who found them would not turn them in to the Pro Shop.
    May the golfing gods rain triple bogies on him forever and even worse, the word SHANK, be a regular part of his vocabulary.

  7. David Jones says:

    It is nice to see and hear that some players can think for themselves. Playing in the wind IS and ALWAYS was part of the benefits of The Club Caddy. Clip a little higher on the shaft, usually about 4-5 inches is enough, and point it into the wind. It Will Stand Up!!! I've clocked winds in excess of 30 mph and it still works. Same thing for slopes. Clip higher and point the head downhill. In twelve years I have not found a place where the Caddy won't work as intended. Players should experiment with their Caddy and find the best ways to make it work for them. The FAQ page at theclubcaddy.com will give some pointers. And I agree, $20 one time buy, versus the cost of a club, not to mention the time going back to look for one, is well worth the investment. Play well guys and gals!!

  8. Bill says:

    I bought one and returned it after one round of play.

    I felt like the base of it wasnt wide enough....and had a hard time standing it up.

    I think this product is good if you are going to place it on a green or firm fairway.....but I had one shot in a greenside bunker and tried to get my club to stand in the rough and couldn't.

    It also seemed to take some "careful" placement in order to get to stand on the green...it wasnt as stable as I would have liked.

    I hope there is a 2nd generation of the product where the clip makes a wider base.....more tripod-like.

    I was really excited about the product after seeing it on GolfChannel....and after getting it in my hands....I was disappointed. It works, but you certainly have to focus on getting the right balance point so that it stays upright. I think the design could be improved.

  9. Greg says:

    Watched the show and loved the product idea. Waited for a long time for the product to come out. Bought one. My impression is - great concept, much overpriced and inadequate construction materials. Mine broke after 16 holes of use. The handles have no reinforcement where the spring rod touches the inner handles. I imagine the repeated flexing causes the handles to weaken and break. I've read 59 reviews of this product on the Golfsmith site and 5 have mentioned broken handles. Seems like there a basic design flaw which is unacceptable given the high price being charged. Wrote to the website, but got no response.

    Am very disappointing as I had high hopes for this product.

  10. Ernie says:

    The Club Caddy is a great idea but it sure took a long time to get it in production. Plus, the quality is poor. Mine broke within two weeks. I repaired it with a very strong acrylic that is used to make dentures. That worked fine but I finally lost it when the bag clip fell off somewhere. My recommendation is: Back to the drawing board.

  11. Jim Mills says:

    David Jones - Your product was a great idea. I bought one last Friday. On the 2nd hole that I used it the clip handle broke in half when I squeezed it. I took the broken club caddy back and got a replacement on Monday. Tuesday I had my PW in the club caddy. My playing partner asked what I had, picked up the club, squeezzed the club caddy and it broke again. The product was made by JEF World of Golf and it is junk. I have told everyone I know not to by one.
    Thought you would like to know that your great idea was made with poor materials and is junk.
    I have since cut a plastic coat hanger and glued a 5 to 6 inch piece inside the broken handles on both sides to reinforce it and it worked for a whole round today.
    I would expect that a $20 product would be made a lot better.
    I am very disappointed and you should be too. It is a direct reflection on you.
    Please respond.
    Jim Mills

  12. Mike Poletysnki says:

    There is a basic design flaw because I've had 5 of these break. The pin inside the handle is not slotted but merely pressured against the handle which eventually ( and I man weeks not years) causes one of the two handles to snap right at the spring load area. I'll be stunned if there is not a product recall on this solid idea of a product with just a terrible design.

  13. Harvey Kern says:

    The Club Caddy worked great till it broke after using it for about 8 holes. There is with out a doubt a design flaw with this product. They should stop production now and recall all from the stores. The material is not strong / durable for one thing. It needs to be beefed up a bit and should be just a little bit bigger for better stability. Poor Poor quality. Great idea that does work.

  14. John says:

    I've had the club caddie for about 2 months, but kept forgeting to use it. So it's been clipped to my bag for a couple months and today I tried to use it once and it broke. Just wanted to add that I think the spring it way too strong and creates too much leverage for the weak plastic. Also the rubber grips on the handle pop off one by one. Very cheap, I feel sorry for the inventor for this company to create such a cheap piece of [product].

  15. John Heydt says:

    I also had my club caddy broken after about 5 rounds. As stated, the spring is way too strong for the thin plastic. I had no other problems with the club caddy but will not purchase a replacement until either the spring is weakened or the plastic is strengthen.

  16. See my update in the article itself, dated September 20, 2008.

  17. N. Marsiglio says:

    I got the Club Caddy as a gift at the beginning of the summer. I've used it numerous times since I've gotten it, mostly on either rainy days or dewy mornings. So far it has been quite durable. The one thing that I noticed is that it just doesn't seem to be as stable as the one that was on Fore Inventors Only. Uneven surfaces a definately a problem and even on flat surfaces I find that I have to fiddle with it a little to get it to stand and then even some times it does not. I think that this is a great concept, but I do think that something was changed from the time that it was on the TV show to the time that it came to market. The design is definately different. It seems that the one on the show was a little wider at the base and as a result was much more sturdy. I would never think of trying to rest several clubs on it like the one on the show. Good product, but I think that some changes in the design may have been less successful than the original.

  18. Hsa says:

    This club caddy looks like a pretty sweet product. Thanks for the review, it helps to have a real person give a real review every now and again.

  19. Dave says:

    Mine broke too, after just 2 days of use. Here's how I fixed it:
    - Wood is the ideal material for lightness and strength.
    - Need 2 struts thin enough to fit inside the handles.
    - Go to the grocery store's fresh meat department and buy a fish or beef brocade. These come on round staves of wood that are just the right thickness.
    - Enjoy your fish or beef brocade but save those wooden staves!
    - Insert one end of a stave into the inside of the Club Caddy handle and push it up to the apex until it stops.
    - Mark the place on the stave where the Club Caddy handle begins to curve away from it.
    - Use a steak knife to cut the stave at the mark.
    - Repeat for the other handle. Now you have two struts.
    - Glue the wooden struts into the curve of the Club Caddy handles. Make sure you can still open the Caddy all the way, but test this by gripping near the apex so you wont break your Club Caddy, especially if you've already broken and glued it.
    - Wait 1-2 days for the stave glue to dry good and strong.
    - While waiting, get a pack of assorted plastic zip ties like those used for packing or securing things together.
    - Use 8-10 of the smallest size zip ties to lash the wooden staves securely against the inside of the Club Caddy handles.
    - When you're satisfied the glue has had a chance to set to its maximum strength, give your modified Club Caddy a try.
    - Now you're relying on wood rather than plastic for strength.
    - Wood is strong, light and resilient, while plastic tends to fatigue and break, while metal tends to bend (if too soft) or fatigue and break (if too brittle). Wood is decidedly best for this purpose.
    - The product is best manufactured using wood from the outset. Before saying this is not "green", check and compare the carbon footprints of the manufacturing process from end to end for each material.
    - Carbon footprints aside, wood is simply the best material for this purpose, and arguably the only material worth using.

  20. Sandy Kelley says:

    I bought my Club Caddy 2 years ago at the Golf Show in Tampa and love it. Got it 2 for $20, show special. Bought the 2nd one for a birthday gift. We are the talk of the course, everybody wants one!!! On a dewey morning, they are awesome, the grips are dry!!! Where can I buy in the Tampa area?????

  21. Sandy Kelley says:

    I bought the Club Caddy at the golf show 2 years ago in Tampa, FL. All of my friends want one, where can I find them in the Tampa area?????

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