When it comes to the unpredictable world of business, you can never be too sure if you’ve hit a master stroke.  

For John Colquhoun last week, he had his own Masters moments while watching from home. 

The former footballer turned entrepreneur was astounded to see his first-ever retail product being used by two golf legends at Augusta National on Sky Sports. 

The former Hearts and Celtic attacker is the co-owner of the GEM golf aid. And it was this product that was highlighted on TV.  

Green jacket holders Ian Woosnam and Larry Mize could be seen discussing the use of the tool, which is designed to help golfers with their swing through essential movements. The cameras caught Woosie demonstrating to his old friend. 

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The GEM aid has only been on the market for a little over 12 months. Amazingly, it was an idea born out of Colquhoun’s own poor play on the fairways during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We knew Woosnam liked it as he’d used before it at Archerfield,” the investor explained. “Seeing him taking it on the range because he likes swinging it when he had no reason to do it. The two of them chatted about it and it just so happens they were on TV, it was beyond thrilling.  

“To be involved in getting that to market was great. It was Fraser Mann, the PGA professional from Banchory, who’s lived in North Berwick for ages and has been a member at Archerfield. We were playing during one of the Covid lockdowns when it was permitted to play golf.  

“I had this mad slice. He said he’d have something to sort it out. ‘I’ll get rid of that in under five minutes’, he said to me. I told him David Blaine couldn’t get rid of this in five minutes.  

“He took me on the range to show it to me, then rather than hitting a big slice I was hitting a nice shot. 

“Then we worked together for about two years roughly to get various prototypes done with various manufacturers.  

“Everything was done in Scotland. We manufacture in Livingston and Dalkeith. Everything we’ve made is from the home of golf, which we feel is appropriate.  

“So, it was born off of a round of gold and half an hour on the range at Archerfield Links, although Fraser had invented it over the course of 15 years.  

“All of a sudden, around 18 months later, because it’s only been on sale for just over a year now, we’re getting some great sales from ordinary golfers but also from lower-end handicappers. They’re finding a difference. Woosnam loves it too, so it’s just amazing. 

“A lot of hard work has gone into it with concepts, manufacturers, prototypes and what have you. For any start-up, it’s hard work.  

“But those moments make it absolutely worthwhile. As well as Woosie, I know Sandy Lyle is a big fan of it too. It’s been brilliant. I’m made up.” 

He continued: “We haven’t really pushed it to the pros. They’ve all got their own coaches. Hopefully, we can get something to them in the future.  

“We’ve not really spent any money on advertising at all. We’ve done it through influencers, social media, and word of mouth, which I think for the first year to 18 months of a start-up business is the best way. The growth has been manageable.  

“The majority of our sales are actually in the United States - 61 percent. At the last count, we sold the product in 35 countries. Sometimes I look at it and it puggles my brain to think it was born out of a short session on the range and now we’ve got this. 

“I knew I was never going to be good enough to be on the range at Augusta. So, getting something I’m the co-founder of onto it is the next best thing. It’s also great because it’s the most exciting golf event of the year for me.” 

He and Mann are hopeful of expanding their product range in the near future. Work is already underway with designing a putting aid. 

Colquhoun will be better prepared for the grit and grind that comes with operating in the retail industry, though.  

He said: “You’re ploughing through it. You’ve got emails early in the morning and late at night, trying to get it going, trying to grow it, wondering if you’ve got it right.  

“We’re still messing about with the product and we’re hoping to get a putting version of it out into the marketplace. We’re working with engineers at the moment on that. It’s all fascinating stuff.  

“I’ve never been involved in a retail product at any point. It’s always been services. As a player on my own, or as a player’s agent. A lot of promotion. 

“To be involved in a physical product is such an eye-opener. It’s such a different thing to sell a product and deal with members of the public and try to get through the basics of shipping, returns, or whenever some things go wrong.  

“If there are any more sightings of it, I’ll be on cloud nine. The blood, sweat, and tears of it. Wondering whether you’re going to get your investment returned? All of these things when you are an investor are a concern.” 

From hanging up his boots to this venture, it’s quite the change of scenery for Colquhoun.  

Although, the ex-Scotland international admits he’s still very much involved with the game. He’s been a football agent and contracts advisor for numerous years. 

“I’ve still got some players I represent," he explained. "I took my grandson to his very first game on Sunday which was Newcastle vs Manchester United. The only thing is, we’re United fans. The good thing is he’s only six, so he’s not got enough emotionally invested enough to let it disappoint him. 

“I’m still very much in touch. It never leaves you. I love golf and it’s amazing that I’ve got myself involved in something like this, but football is what I am.”