Inventiveness is par for the course in Colorado

Golf goods roundup

A small Centennial machine shop hit the big time at January's PGA Expo, the golf industry's annual show of the latest in gizmos, gear and garb.

Carbon Putters, baby of James Kurtenback and his twin brothers, Dan and Dave, caught the eye of Golf Digest and won its "Hot List" mention for its Project Roulette series of milled putters. A previous putter was named "Most Wanted Blade Putter" in 2015 by MyGolfSPy.com, but this new acclaim will put the Kurtenbacks' 3-year-old company on the greater golf map.

For now, Dan does all of the engineering and milling, Dave does all the finishing, pain fill and club building, James represents with marketing and branding, and mom Terri, a retired CPA, handles the finances and customer service. But they may soon need new family members.

"With our product to be ranked among the most respected brands in our category, we anticipate a level of awareness of our putters to grow exponentially overnight," James said.

Carbon Putters wasn't the only Colorado-bred exhibitor at the 2017 PGA Expo.

Here's a look at other golf products and companies that call the state home, including some you'll recognize and others new to the course.

37.5 TECHNOLOGYBoulder

If you're a devotee of Sun Mountain or Under Armour outdoor apparel, you may already be wearing the waterproof fabric technology Dr. Gregory Haggquist discovered as a polymer photo chemist with Lexmark International. The 37.5 technology uses activate carbon to keep the wearer comfortable by removing wet vapor and maintaining a core temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius. The result is rainwear that keeps golfers dry inside and out by maintaining an ideal core temperature. Sun Mountain's new top-of-the-line collection of rain gear for 2017, the Elite, uses 37.5.

ELLABELLEMilliken

Lisa Holste, co-owner of Denver's Posh salon, measures in at under 5 feet tall. When she took up golf, everything she tried on looked dowdy and matronly. Heidi Heckenlaible's family owns the Mad Russian golf course, where she's director of golf and buyer. Getting her hair done, Heckenlaible started scheming with Holste about a â€‹feminine and flattering apparel line younger women might like. Their Ellabelle sexy, flirty golf clothes for women, featuring ruffled, tiered skorts and cut-out armholes come in sizes 0 to 4 – not the traditional zero to four, but a scale from extra-small to extra-large.

GOLFTEC | Centennial

Joe Assell was an assistant golf pro at Cherry Hills Country Club when he jumped at the opportunity to mix golf instruction with the technology and the internet. Twenty-two years later, GolfTEC owns the market on lowering golfers' handicaps, with about 200 improvement centers around the world. Annual revenue has doubled since 2009, and the big question for GolfTEC might be: "When's the IPO?"

RAD ROLLER | Denver

Biomechanics expert Mike Mallory and triathlete Dan McIntosh started in Boulder to develop this series of massage tools designed to improve body awareness and movement. The patent-pending self-myofascial release line includes not only the roller, but helix, rod, rounds and blocks. Now headquartered in Denver, the Rad Roller travels easily and provides relief from the roungh without the spa.

SPORT HALEY AND BETTE & COURT | Lakewood

Founded in Denver under the name Sundaze in 1986, Sport Haley has become one of the most respected women's clothing companies in golf. Its pieces tend to be more timeless and classic than trendy and frivolous, and clothes transition easily from course to everyday life. Sport Haley's collections can be found on the racks in Colorado private clubs and more upscale public courses. With popular, more "golfy" Better & Court now a subsidiary, the company's outlook seems solid.

KBS SHAFTS | Boulder

Internet entrepreneur David Chuang and two fellow University of Colorado alums started a golf club shaft distribution company in the early 2000s that evolved into FST, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of shafts. In 2008, he and FST co-founder Rob Cheng formed a partnership with Kim Braly, who, with his father, owned patents  to new shaft technology, and KBS Shafts resulted. Today the shafts are accepted for irons by leading equipment companies and popularity is growing on the professional circuits.

SASSY CADDY |  Greeley

Former teaching pro Emily Haythorn (Pelican Lakes GC in Windsor) launched Sassy Caddy in 2010 with a series of fun, splashy golf bags designed for women. After researching her customer, she created such distinctive features as a built-in water bottle pocket, velvet valuables pouch and detachable cosmetic bag that can also be used as a purse. Fabrics are all waterproof and stain and sun resistant, and now she's added headcovers, travel bags and show bags to coordinate.

WALLAROO HAT CO. | Boulder

Business is booming for the company Stephanie Carter and Lenya Shore launched in Boulder in 1999 to replicate the sun protection of hats they found in Australia. Their hats, which come in many colors, styles and fabrics, are crushable and washable. Their signature is a hidden drawstring that personalizes fit. Today golfers can find them in many pro shops around Colorado and other sun-drenched states.

Categories: Human Resources