Christian Rose (above right) and Colton Bollinger (above left) have been best buds for pretty much their entire lives. In fact, as the story goes, Rose was the first child to ever hold Bollinger when he was a baby.

Growing up in Fresno, Calif., they played golf together in high school at Clovis West High and in college at California State University Monterey Bay. With a passion for golf and for business, the friends shared the dream of someday starting a business together that would combine both of those interests.

That day has arrived.

Rose and Bollinger unveiled San Diego-based Swaggle, a nationwide online booking solution for golf instructors and golf courses, in the spring of 2013 shortly before graduating college. Using Swaggle, golfers can discover golf instructors in their local area and then compare them based on number of lessons taught, number of repeat students, star rating, student reviews, price, and availability. Once a golfer finds an instructor they like, they can select an available lesson time and book online right from Swaggle.

And the best part? It’s free for students and golf instructors to join. While similar platforms often charge monthly or yearly fees, Swaggle only makes money when the company brings a new student to an instructor by taking a one-time 50 percent commission from that first lesson.

As of June, Swaggle has 125 instructors on board and 3,500 student accounts – numbers that are quickly growing.

“We always loved golf and business so we knew we wanted to start a business together combining both of our biggest passions,” Rose said. “Colton and I both reached our goal of playing college golf and we attribute our success to the great golf instructors we worked with. We know it would have not been possible without all the golf lessons we took so we knew we wanted to build a business that would promote golf instruction.”

Up to now, there have really only been a couple of ways for someone to find a golf instructor – a recommendation from a friend or taking a lesson from an instructor recommended by the pro shop at their golf course.

Rose and Bollinger knew there had to be a better and easier way to find an instructor and book a lesson, while also providing golfers the ability to compare local instructors to find the one right for their game.

“The response has been very positive from our user base to date and we believe as we further our reach and notoriety within the industry, the response will become even more positive,” Rose said.

One challenge Swaggle has faced is actually getting the product in front of golf professionals who typically have very busy schedules and irregular hours. Whether it’s a 4 a.m. phone call with an instructor in Florida or staying up until 1 a.m. talking with an instructor in California, Rose and Bollinger just consider that standard operating procedure.

One thing Rose and Bollinger are in firm agreement about is the belief that the best way to grow the game is through instruction.

“Golf lessons help people play better, leading to more fun and a desire to play more golf,” Bollinger said. “Unfortunately, golfers are constantly bombarded by big equipment companies claiming their equipment will ‘add 30 yards’ or ‘make every 3-foot putt” which has led to frustration and people leaving golf. We believe those dollars would be better spent taking golf lessons from an instructor.”

“It is no secret the best way to improve at golf is through instruction and practice. That has been the formula for improving and becoming better at practically anything.”




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