Investing in the Future of Golf: An Interview with Matt Erley of Old Tom Venture Club
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Investing in the Future of Golf: An Interview with Matt Erley of Old Tom Venture Club

S3 E116 • Apr 24, 2024 • 57 mins

In this episode, Matt Cook and Matt Erley discuss Erley's journey into golf investment, the impact of technology on golf, and his transition to investing in golf with Old Tom Venture Club. They also explore potential risks and tips for investing in startups, innovative golf concepts like Drivebox and Fair Game, trends in the golf industry, and new directions for the PGA Tour.

Key Points

  • Matt Early shares his journey from building startups like Drizly to creating an investment group solely focused on the golf industry, driven by his strong belief in entrepreneurship within the golf space.
  • The future of golf is expanding beyond traditional courses, with technology, software, and entertainment shaping the industry and creating opportunities for new types of golf experiences and investments.
  • Strategic investing in golf businesses requires focusing on exceptional founders, market size potential, and companies with some traction, rather than merely innovative ideas, to ensure scalability and significant returns.

In this episode of the Pull Hook Golf podcast, host Matt Cook delves into the dynamic intersection of golf and entrepreneurship with guest Matt Erley of Old Tom Venture Club. As we dive into the world of venture capital within the golf industry, listeners are privy to groundbreaking insights on what it takes to invest in the sport's future.

Matt Erley shares his journey from building startups like Drizzly and Havenly to channeling his investment acumen into Old Tom Ventures. He discusses how traditional golf is blending with new market segments, and the significance of supporting ventures that are innovative yet resonate with the core values of golf. Matt emphasizes looking beyond golf-themed concepts to substantive businesses capable of flourishing within the golf ecosystem, all the while sustaining a broader market appeal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Preeminent aspect for investment is identifying compelling founders who can demonstrate grit and adaptability.

  • It's crucial for startups to have not just a great idea, but a calculated growth model showing momentum before seeking investment.

  • Founders should develop businesses with a sound structure and sizable market instead of relying solely on their passion for golf.

  • Old Tom Venture Club invests in diverse golf-related ventures, from tech startups like Drivebox and Fair Game to innovative products like Putter, and even extends to niche areas like Sweden's Cove Spirits.

  • Future of golf is represented by a fusion of traditional, simulator-based, and digital experiences that expand the sport's reach and inclusivity.

Notable Quotes:

  • "It's about survival, right? Like, when you're an entrepreneur, your spirit animal is a cockroach because it's the last to die."

  • "Focus on building a good business that just happens to be in the golf space, not building a golf business."

  • "Golf is going to be whatever somebody wants golf to be for them, and it's going to be a much less confined or defined sport."

  • "Don't qualify your opportunities with your group of friends... Go talk to people who don't even like golf."


  • Old Tom Venture Club: Old Tom VC - Website for syndicate investments and inquiries for interested accredited investors or golf startups.

  • Listener Rewards: Go to and use promo code PullHookGolf25 at checkout for 25% off your entire order.

About the Guest(s): Matt Erley is an entrepreneur and investor with a significant background in company building and startups. As an early team member at Drizly, he played a crucial role in scaling the alcohol delivery business. He also contributed to the development of Havenly, an online interior design service, and has been involved in other startups. Most recently, Matt Erley is known for his venture into the golf industry as the co-founder of Old Tom Venture Club, a strategic investment group entirely focused on golf innovation and entrepreneurship. His passion for golf and expertise in venture capital makes him a pivotal figure in shaping the future of golf ventures.

For an inside look at the transformative wave of golf entrepreneurship and strategic investment, listen to the full episode, where Matt Erley shares deeper insights and the comprehensive outlook on golf's growth trajectory. Stay tuned for more enlightening content from the Pull Hook Golf podcast.

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