Matchstick celebrates its two-year anniversary

matchstick golf owner dane delgado mount hood three nines golf course

At the end of a marathon day of golfing out at Mt. Hood Resort, which has three nine-hole golf courses that we stupidly played all in one day.

Well, another year has turned for us here at Matchstick Golf. Tuesday, July 18 was the second anniversary of our release to the public, something that still doesn't seem quite tangible. But perhaps that's what it's like when your mind is able to wander amongst its greatest machinations of possibility? Oh look, I'm getting too baroque already.

There's no doubt that Matchstick has far surpassed what I, even with my best intentions, thought would be possible at this juncture. Yes, Matchstick is a business in the sense that we have a written plan; a mission statement, demographic outlines, differentiation analysis, competitor analysis, and core values. All that is what anyone needs to start a business in earnest. And in truth, when I compare our business plan to the story of these past 24 months, there's so little deviation I'm unsure it's even mathematically possible that we've strayed this little and thus, been so successful.

That's where you come in.

Like anyone else with a group of golf-obsessed weirdos as friends, I expected some level of external support when Matchstick launched on a sweaty 88° Saturday in 2021. People around you are always excited when you follow your dreams, and whether they're 100% as locked in as you are doesn't matter. Anything they can give, you're grateful for. But the response Matchstick received within weeks of its launch was not only shocking at the time, but staggering a handful of years later.

By its third calendar month of operation, Matchstick sales were well beyond viable, particularly as a business then run as a nighttime operation crammed into the front room of a small apartment with another person doing the same in the opposite corner. Since then, all we've done is feel the support and love of you, the Matchstick diehard, and that's reflected in our sales, our growth, and our collaborations. It's afforded us the ability to be able to continue to do the things we love and what you love us for: bring better artwork to the course for the regular golfer. 

For those of us who trudged through business school, you know that much of what you learn in courses like economics or finance are simply models. They're ideal conditions for which we could strive for, less any real world context. As much as there are smart people out there in business, and financial analysis to be done, there's still the fact that businesses are run by people — actual human beings who give texture and fallibility to what actually happens from day-to-day, and year-to-year. 

So when I wrote Matchstick's business plan, I knew it was a passionate response to my own experience as a customer, as one of you. It's several pages, as any plan is, but the whole thing boils down to this: "How does this not already exist?"

When I lost my Jones Birdie marker in the summer of 2020, the replacements I found for it were unimpressive. I couldn't find artwork I liked, they were too expensive, and the presentation of packaging and consumer accoutrement didn't seem to match what was received. Was it really so hard to give me something that I felt was worth buying? But this story has been told before, so I won't re-hash it. More to the point, I knew my business plan had some good ideas because they were ripped straight from Business 201 textbooks. But other golf accessories companies didn't seem to be following that guidance, and it's perhaps why so much of what we buy today as consumers in general leaves us wanting. 

And that, my friends, is where you can start to build doubt. I was keenly aware that creating a company that made exactly what I wanted as a consumer was based off anecdotal evidence, and that my own thinking may not be that of the general golfing public. In fact, I started to think that so many companies were doing the opposite of what I wanted that maybe I was wrong and people didn't want this stuff. Anecdotal evidence works both ways, I guess.

So back to you, and what you've meant to me and to Matchstick.

By the third month — September 2021 — Matchstick had been proven as a concept. After launching the website to just a few visits per day and with a handful of followers on Instagram, the product and the aesthetic hit home with you in a way that floored me. And month after month, you guys prove to me that this is worth doing. That providing real value to people, and making artwork into things people cherish is something you love, too.

Over the past year we've done so much that it's hard to even keep track of. We've released collaborations, introduced new packaging, new product lines, and reworked our brand identity. Shit, I got a tattoo of our logo on my arm for everyone to see. Guess there's no turning back now. None of that is possible without you guys, whose importance is beyond that you're other people who also like dope golf accessories. If I can get weird with it for a minute, it's also a validation of my own creativity. 

At our core, Matchstick is an art company. We make drawings into physical art that are useable every day on the golf course, whether it's ball markers, towels, or ferrules. That art brings joy, or reminds someone of a memory in their life, or canonizes a lost loved one. It also connects me directly to you, and in the way that this world has gone — and as I've gotten older — that's more important now than ever.

There are some big things coming up before next July. Some sooner than you may think. And all that is because you guys have believed in us, and in me, and in what we represent. It's beyond golf, and long-winded missives about how business plans can be passionate, or whatever the fuck I was talking about six minutes ago. All that's coming is possible because of what we've done together over the past year, and the year before. So when you see us make something new, or add to our sphere, or grow beyond when you followed us and placed one of the first 500 orders, just know that you have ownership of this, too.

Thank you. Thank you again and again, from the bottom of my heart. Can't wait to show you what's next. Here's to what's beyond the horizon

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