Matt Vance, President of Castaway Golf Technologies was an avid sports fan and athlete growing up, but like many families, it was hard to find the funds to put him into all of them. Golf was of particular interest to Matt, so he found an innovative way to make money that would help him pay for clubs, memberships and for his friends to come golfing with him. Amazed by golfers hitting their golf balls into the woods and not even bothering to look for them, Matt started collecting these balls and selling them to members to help fuel his own passion for golf.
While out golfing one day, he had his “ah-ha” moment on how to turn his side business that was helping him play golf, into a bigger concept. He hit his ball beside a pond on the course, only to notice something that looked like a turtle in the pond. He took a second look only to realize that it was actually a man with a green helmet submerged in the pond feeling for golf balls with his feet. This sparked an idea; Matt marched home and told his father that he wanted to build a device that could get the balls out of the pond without going in. Intrigued by Matt’s idea, his father built their first prototype to retrieve balls from the safety and comfort of shore.
With this newfound idea, Matt wasn’t ready to jump headfirst into entrepreneurship yet as he was well on his way to having a successful career as an engineer. It wasn’t until his technology management and entrepreneurship program when his idea for this device and his business came back into his life. With the support of his chair of the department at the university he was studying at, upon graduation he was torn between accepting a job offer as an engineer or to pursue this company he was building that was showing huge potential.
Matt decided to try and do both, he moved to Toronto and worked full-time as an engineer while he was also helping work with his team to build out Castaway Golf Technologies, a golf ball retrieval technology company that offers professional golf ball retrieval services and great quality experience golf ball product offerings. But eventually he realized where his passion really was, and moved back to New Brunswick to pursue his business full-time.
With an engineering background, the adjustment to becoming an entrepreneur had many learning curves. One in particular that Matt explained took some getting used to was that there is not a correct answer. “As an engineer by background, there is typically a right answer. When going through university with so many math and science courses there was always a right answer,” Matt explained.” I felt that with entrepreneurship there are a thousand right answers, but being able to sift through and pick the one that matches the company’s core values and focus is the one that matters most.”
But since deciding to pursue his business full time, being an entrepreneur comes with a series of rewarding moments big and small. Matt described that being able to give back to a sport that has given him so much through a partnership with the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada and the Boys & Girls Club of Canada has been one of the most rewarding parts of entrepreneurship. This partnership will help give over 200,000 kids across Canada the chance to be introduced to the game of golf over the next three years. “Golf has personally given me so much, and the thought of helping so many kids get the opportunity to be introduced to the game of golf keeps me burning the midnight oil,” Matt explained.
With a passion for the game of golf, Matt stressed how important it is to never lose sight of the end goal as this is what will help you stay on track and get you through the tough times (which you will likely have). “When times are great it is easy to lose track of the why, as there is typically so many great opportunities to take advantage of, but it is important to make sure the decisions match the end result of your WHY and you stay on track,” Matt advised.
You can learn more about Castaway Golf Technologies and their products here.
Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada