Shawn Foley interview

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CEO Rain or Shine Golf, founded to make golf accessible to anyone, anywhere and anytime.
Posted on
August 7, 2023
by
M. James Ward in ,
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

About Rain or Shine Golf

Founded in 2016, Rain or Shine Golf aims to make golf accessible to anyone, anywhere and anytime, rain or shine. The company offers the highest quality indoor golf equipment and technology as well as their golf industry expertise to help customers create their own dream indoor golf setup for any budget.

For too long, personal indoor golf has been unattainable for the vast majority of golfers due to high costs and complicated assembly requirements. That's why Rain or Shine has made it a priority to offer the finest customer experience, creating a personalized setup for players of any budget and walking them through the entire process from purchase to installation.

 

Who is Shawn Foley?

Shawn Foley has made it his mission to make golf simulator technology attainable for golfers of all skill levels. The Charlotte, NC-based company offers products and packages that allow anyone to create a dream indoor golf setup that fits their budget and available space. Foley founded the company in 2016, leaving his job as an underwriter to get back to his roots in the game of golf.

His upbringing in the northern Midwest instilled the importance of giving golfers an avenue to practice and enjoy the game even when the weather doesn’t cooperate. A longtime competitor, Foley played golf at his Wisconsin high school and at Northern Illinois University before entering the finance field out of college.

Shawn Foley interview, Rain or Shine golf simulators

The Foley Story

When I think about some key events that have shaped my life, most of them directly involve the game of golf. Golf brought me the closest friendships in my childhood. The majority of quality time spent with my dad was playing golf. The game brought me to a scholarship to get through college where I ultimately met my wife, and it has now become my career.

This game means so much more to me than I can put into words, and at this point in my life now that I have become a father, I find myself constantly thinking about how I can in a healthy way lead my son to also be impacted in positive ways by the game.

I love that I get to apply my mind and talents toward making golf more accessible to all. I love that I can share quality time with my friends and family out on the golf course. And most of all, I am really looking forward to passing down this great game to my son.

***

What was the genesis for Rain or Shine?

Rain or Shine Golf was started through a culmination of love for golf paired with a desire for something more in my career path. Growing up in the Midwest, I was always forced into finding creative ways to practice through the winter months and that is where my amazement for golf simulators and creativity of practice and play got started.

I feel very fortunate to now be able to make a career out of that.

 

How was the name of the company arrived at?

The name was just something that came to me after the decision was made to jump into the indoor golf and golf technology space.

It has become a household name and has a nice ring to it, while clearly stating what we do best.

 

What differentiates Rain or Shine from your competitors?

Rain or Shine is different down to the mission that we share: to make golf accessible in a way that makes an impact on someone's life.

This mission requires us to strive to provide better products at lower prices (accessibility), education through our team of experts on how to leverage technology to improve your scores on the course, and the commitment we have to also manufacture the highest quality equipment in the golf simulator space.

Our blend of resale partnerships, manufacturing of our own products and our consultative experience position us above the competition.

Shawn Foley interview, Rain or Shine golf simulators

Who is your customer?

Our customer is primarily the consumer that shares a love for golf. We provide a range of products that all work towards our mission to impact golf fanatics through accessibility, game improvement, growth in their relationships with friends and family and driving healthy competition in their golf game.

 

Companies routinely talk about the central importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach you follow.

Top-of-the-line customer service is essential in our business. Our products and some of our price points are very complex, leading us to need to truly understand what our customers are looking for and how to provide an unbiased solution for their needs.

Our SimSquad® is committed to providing premium services through our live customer service and sales agents in the U.S. and onsite, each of whom has used every product we are recommending, right in our office.

 

What roles does customer feedback play in your future efforts and how do you encourage customers to provide such information?

Listening to our customers is vital. If a solution is needed for our customers, we are committed to finding it, even if that solution is either unavailable on the market or is price-gouging the potential customer.

We are committed to both innovating our product line to provide competitive solutions at accessible prices as well as refining our existing product line to make prices more accessible while increasing the quality to meet our customers’ needs.

What has the market for your efforts been like -- pre-pandemic and now post-pandemic?

The market has been extremely volatile throughout the period of time right before and now shortly after the pandemic. We saw a tremendous increase in demand during COVID due to so many quarantine mandates, leading many consumers to look for things to do around their house.

We have now seen the market stabilize and are looking forward to the coming years and the expected extreme growth in the golf simulation industry.

Seeing mainstream news covering launches such as Tiger and Rory’s involvement in TMRW sports is a testament to the potential growth in this space and that only heightens our commitment and excitement to the products and services we provide to our customers.

 

If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally -- what would it be and why?

Golf, although it has made strides in the past few years, is still facing a stigma of only being for the wealthy and is not nearly as accessible as I would like it to be.

We are committed to increasing this accessibility of the game that has shaped so much of my life personally, and I just want as many people as possible to feel that same impact from such a great sport.

Best advice you ever received -- what was it and who was it from?

I am very much a self-starter.

I’m a ‘figure out the solution for myself’ type of person, which commonly is to my own detriment. Some of the best advice I have ever received has been from my Mom, who encouraged me to do just the opposite.

When I feel the urge to put my head to the grindstone and work through a problem, lift my head back up, ask questions, understand why, be curious, and lean on others for support.

 

Biggest challenges facing Rain or Shine, short and long term, and what strategies are you engaging to deal with both.

Our biggest challenge has been navigating the volatility of our market that I mentioned earlier. Like many other industries, we went from a severe imbalance of supply and demand in 2020, with the demand far outpacing what we could acquire as supply. In 2021 and most of '22, that imbalance flipped to the other side, where we saw much less demand than the supply we had reacted to try to acquire.

Now that some stabilization is taking place, we are looking to find that balance again and understand where the market will be for the next few years to come, post-pandemic.

***

For more info go to:

www.rainorshinegolf.com

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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