14 Aug PeopleWise: Ray Simar
The other day, we sat down with Ray Simar, founder of Rebel Putter and OwlSpark Class 2 alum. In the year after OwlSpark, Ray has added another product to his line of putters. Drawing from his first iteration, the Jedi Putter, his new product is aptly called the Sith Putter. Ray has continued development of the Sith Putter with the help of Rice engineering students. He provides them with this new technology to use for a senior product, and, in turn, they build Rebel Putters together.
In Wise Guy terms, the Rebel Putter is basically a cyborg putter, made half of electronics and sensors and half of regular putter. These sensors provide both immediate feedback and post-swing information. The first putter, a mallet style putter called the Jedi, had most of the electronics in the head but Ray is migrating all that he can into the handle, a goal he’s had from the start. The Sith putter is the next step in this transition in which most, but not all, of the electronics moved into the handle.
Ray conceived this idea during a golf lesson with his wife. Looking around at the high speed cameras or the wearable belt that people utilize to correct their swing, being an engineer, Ray wondered if all of this useful technology could be implemented into the putter.
“Half of golf is putting,” Ray said, “and yet the putter is only one of the fourteen clubs professionals and amateurs alike, bring on the field.” Extending on that, Ray spoke to a personal relationship many golfers have with their putters. “Unlike other clubs, there are many small manufacturers that are successful because people like to be so in tune with the aspect of their putters.” Interviews with people and teams, like Rice University’s golf team, confirmed this market segment.
Today, the next step in building what is “just a complex computer with a weird case” (as Simar puts it), is getting connected with the market. When we spoke with him, he had just connected with Special Olympics Golf in Texas, a connection made during his time at OwlSpark. As Rebel Putter continues to make progress, Simar emphasizes the importance of networking. “Develop your support network and find people that can potentially help you.”