By David Gould, Staff Editor
Watching “alternative golf” venues and technology become so integral to people’s ideas about learning, practice and virtual play, it only makes sense that a skilled coach might be well suited for business entrepreneurship with a strong digital angle. Earlier this month, Dryvebox announced that it had extended its business model to include a new franchise program. The company originally focused heavily on programming around special events, and still works that side of the business, but the Dryvebox “immersive mobile golf experience” now includes a coaching-learning component said to hold high earnings potential.
Steve Patterson, during his time at Park Meadows Country Club in Park City, Utah, played an important role in the company’s strategic expansion into serving coaches and students. “They’d been around for just a couple of years when I came to them talking about a new application,” says Patterson, a longtime Proponent Group member. “My concept was to have a Dryvebox in the parking lot all winter at our club, to offset the lack of an indoor studio.” As that snowy winter stretched on, use of “the box” remained steady and Dryvebox took notice, eventually revising its business model to include usage of this type. The new franchising option is partly driven by that Park Meadows experiment.
“They want PGA pros as partners and clients,” Patterson says flatly. “They’ve got the PGA of America as an investor so they’ll be all-in on coaching and game improvement in their units, not just entertainment and party-type events.” He has reservations about the idea of being able to “power it up and walk away for the day,” as golfers who want unsupervised practice or sim-golf enjoyment punch in codes on the keypad. “There’s cleanup, there’s moving things around for lefty golfers, issues like that,” says Steve. “Some degree of monitoring and maintenance is part of the operation, in my experience.”
Brandon Roy is such a fan of Dryvebox that he’s taken on a role within the company, meanwhile continuing his full-time coaching role at Patriot’s Point in Charleston, South Carolina. “I’ve managed a Dryvebox since March of 2023,” says Roy. “I’ve taught lessons in it while it was parked at Patriot’s Point, while it was parked in my own driveway and then at breweries and other corporate settings.” Solar panels power the unit, when it’s parked and only drawing what’s needed to handle the sim, diagnostics and climate control.
Brandon talks about a Dryvebox weekend during the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow in 2022 in which customers got to (virtually) play the same course the Cup was being contested on.
“The corporate stuff is the best,” Roy asserts. “One big event can ‘make your month,’ in terms of covering costs.”
With further permutations to its business model and the variety of arrangements open to a golf professional seeking opportunity, Dryvebox is working to make the financial commitment as manageable as possible, according to what might best accommodate the individual coach. It’s looking more and more like an entrepreneurial path golf professionals could thrive on by going down.