Kronos Golf Putters on ‘Shark Tank’: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Kronos, a golf club company, entered the Shark Tank on September 26, 2014. They profess that theirs are the “most precise putters in the world.”

Heavy interviewed Phillip Lapuz, the founder and designer, who faced the sharks along with his creative director. When asked what makes his company unique, he said, “We check to make sure that all our putters balance on the sight line which means a ball struck there will have the highest chances of rolling as the user intends.”

As their episode reruns on January 2, let’s learn the company’s story.

To read all of Heavy’s Shark Tank coverage, click here.

1. Phillip Made an Emotional Pitch

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Along with his creative director Eric Williams, Lapuz explained his story to the sharks, and moved them to tears.

He had given up a well paying consulting job to start Kronos. He’s been engaged to a girl in Japan whose parents disapprove of Lapuz’s pursuit of his dream. Although they’ve been engaged for two years, she cannot come to the States unless he has success with the company.

Through tears, he said, “I want this to be stable, that’s why I’m here today…It’s like do I have to choose between my company of my dreams and my fiancee?”

Lapuz did not plan on opening up to the sharks in that way. “…I was not expecting to talk about my personal life. Actually, when the asked me the question I tried to avoid talking about my personal life, but I am a terrible liar and just ended up talking about what really drives me,” he said.

2. They’re Based in San Diego

The company got its name from Greek mythology, after a god named Kronos. “He reined during the Golden Age, a time when life was simple and pure. Golf equipment has moved away from it’s traditions, towards gimmicks and false promises,” Lapuz told Golf Juice.

The fact that he grew up surrounded by golf manufacturers affected his future career route. “My backyard was and still is Callaway, Taylormade, and Titleist’s test and manufacturing facilities,” he told PutterZone. “My best friend’s dad ran a machine shop that has milled prototype putters for some of the biggest and smallest names in golf. It was there that I learned my craft under their guidance.”

3. Robert Gave Him a Deal

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They asked for $150,000 for 15% equity in their company, and four of the sharks got out, leaving Herjavec to invest in the sporting goods.

Mark Cuban explained that he hates the sport of golf and is the first to get out. Barbara Corcoran agrees with Cuban, saying, “I couldn’t imagine supporting it.” Kevin O’Leary remains, but is skeptical, saying, “There are cases where something catches fire in golf and everybody buys it…But it’s a long shot.” He shed some tears while listening to Lapuz’s moving story, but he gets out, explaining that he doesn’t make deals based on emotions. Lori Greiner agrees that they have a niche market, and ultimately drops out because she believes Kronos should focus on its presence in Japan.

Herjavec sympathizes with Lapuz’s story, explaining his same need to “improve his parents’ life.” He shelled out $150,000 for 30 percent of the company, although his original offer was for 35 percent.

When asked how his experience was, Lapuz said he was pleasantly surprised:

The funny thing is I went in there thinking I was going to tell Kevin O’Leary off, but he was a real gentlemen in real life and all the other sharks were extremely respectful and even sensitive to my concerns.

He continued, “I had no idea that the show was that real. The sharks really don’t know anything about us or our company before we give them our pitch. And I had no idea that the pitch is 100% real. They just start the cameras and if you mess up there is no redoing anything. Sure there is editing to make it fit in the right time span, but it is all real. No rehearsals no redos!”

4. They Are Sold in Japan

In Japan, Asahi Golf distributes Kronos. Their other clients include Nike, Taylormade/Adidas and Callaway.

On Shark Tank, the pair explained that in the U.S., a company like Kronos would need celebrity endorsements to gain recognition. However, at this point in time, the company does have pros swinging with their products. “We have about four pros using our putters now that are spread out between the Champions Tour, PGA Tour, and LPGA Tour, but we are not allowed to mention their names at the moment because we are still working out those details with their agents,” Lapuz said.

5. His Idea Came About at Osaka University

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Lapuz was in graduate school at Osaka, where he was on the golf team, when he first got the idea. He had returned to San Diego for his best friend’s wedding. His friend’s father owns a machine shop. ” I had told him how I was looking for putters similar to the ones I played growing up with his son, but couldn’t find anything of that same quality and craftsmanship. He told me if I designed up some putters he would help me make them,” Lapuz said.

In an interview with PutterZone, he explained, “Before I came out with my first design, the Touch, I found myself complaining about one putter being too hard, one putter making the wrong sound, this putter having poor craftsmanship, that putter being unbalanced, and so on. Instead of complaining, I decided I should do something about it.”

On the show, they explained that their clubs are milled from a solid block of carbon steel for over two hours. According to Golf Juice, they are the only company to do that. Each one is hand crafted, to ensure your game will be more consistent.

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