After playing Division I golf at the University of Tampa, Brixton Albert took a job selling marketing software. After a few years, though, a life event made him change course. In 2016, at age 28, he founded Performance Golf, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company that offers online golf instructions. Here, Albert, now 34, explains how he built his idea into the No. 3 fastest-growing private company in the Southeast, with $12 million in revenue in 2020, which he then more than doubled to $29 million in 2021. –As told to Kevin J. Ryan
I’d always talked about starting a business someday. Out of college, I had a really good job in sales, where I helped grow a young marketing software company. Then, when I was 27, someone in my life passed away. It made me focus on my personal “why” and realize that I wanted to live life on my terms.
I had taken hundreds of golf lessons throughout my life. In the age of Netflix, I thought there had to be a way to make it faster and easier online.
I approached a golf instructor and asked if he wanted to make some digital products in exchange for a fee and royalties. He agreed, and we filmed some instructional videos. I created a website and posted them online. This instructor was a guy no one knew, but still, they started to sell right away. I was like, Oh, my gosh, this is gonna be huge.
I put $120,000 of my own savings into the company and made some hires. What we’ve built is essentially an online portal where we offer courses to help golfers fix their slice, gain distance, improve their chipping–really, improve all aspects of their game. We offer one-off courses and monthly subscriptions. We have a $19 per month subscription through which you can access all of our videos. With our $69 per month membership, you can upload your swing to our site, and then get a personalized video back from a golf pro telling you what they notice with your swing along with a personalized plan to improve.
When it comes to instructors, we’ve gone out and gotten the best of the best. We created a golf mental game program with a top mental coach. We found one of the world’s top-ranked short-game teachers, and we’ve created a short-game course that’s very popular. We have Tiger Woods’s former coach, Hank Haney, as well as Sir Nick Faldo, six-time major champion and commentator for CBS. This year, we’re looking to get more into artificial intelligence; you’ll upload video of your swing and our platform will automatically recommend videos for you.
We’ve had more than 300,000 people buy our products already. Two hundred fifty people upload their swings every day. We’re in a pretty good niche. The reality is that golfers spend a lot of money: Many of them are over 50; they have memberships to country clubs and are buying a new driver every year. So it’s a great market to be in. But, man, I’ve worked my ass off. And I’ve found some really good people to work with.
In our team meetings, we talk about one thing we did that didn’t work this week and the lessons that came out of it. That’s something I learned from Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. Her dad used to sit her down at the dinner table every night when she was a kid and ask, “How did you fail today?” I tell my employees that I expect them to fail. When you look back in a few months, you’re going to realize how those failures helped you.