2016 was a big year for the Hedgehog Golf Company, a successful product already being used by the majority of clubs and golfers throughout the UK and beyond.
However, it was apparent that there had been a distinct lack of effort from the company which was addressed in late August early September with a total company restructure. This brought wholesale changes in the approach of the company with much more focus being placed on customers and clients; the company decided to take everything back in hand, and when I say everything I mean exactly that. All sales, stock control, distribution and customer services, to the extent of having its own warehouse and staff. Put simply it was like waking a sleeping tiger (Hedgehog doesn’t have the same affect), and since then with a little hard work and dedication there have been many new clubs come on aboard, plus a relationship with Foremost golf has been started along with a reaching out to the existing Hedgehog client base.
To be honest even in our most positive predictions we didn’t imagine the success we would have over such a short time, so the thoughts then turned to some kind of marketing, now you have to remember that the last marketing of any kind was way back in 2002 when the Hedgehog was first invented so something new was required something dynamic which would again demonstrate the benefits of the Hedgehogs to all, clubs, golfers and golf courses after all since then there is a whole new generation of golfers who demand everything at the touch of a button or swipe of a screen.
Please read on for a review of our first day filming for over a decade….
After leaving Hedgehog HQ in Sussex at 6 am (aiming to miss the usual fun and games that is the M25) we arrived at Newbury & Crookham Golf Club, which is directly opposite Greenham Common, for those of us old enough to remember that was a place that will live long in the memory and with the golf club who apparently suffered many instances of how shall I put this - “Fouling” of the course.
We met Mark from MB Golf marketing in the car park, unloaded various models of Hedgehogs and strategically placed them on one of the two golf buggies which were generously loaned to us by the club. We then met Martin Balfour of MB Golf Shops (no relation to MB Marketing) who happens to be an existing customer for his 3 golf shops and is fully behind the Hedgehog concept, then after introductions all round (and another coffee) the film crew arrived.
Quick set up in the car park, assembly of a brand-new Powerbug electric trolley and golf bag again kindly loaned to us directly from Powerbug (Thanks guys).. Then “LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!”
Martin delivered his piece to camera within 2 takes (a natural, next stop Hollywood), another piece to camera from the course manager Christopher Ball again done within 2 takes and followed by a final piece to camera from Sean Murphy once again completed within 2 takes (what’s going on - are these golfers or actors?) then off we go to the 4th hole for some of our more adventurous action shots.
After a slightly amusing buggy ride trying to maintain the balance of all the stock, trolleys and clubs etc.… (picture 1980’s Crackerjack), we finally arrived at the 4th hole. Then with one trolley fitted with Hedgehogs and one without, filming began. The great thing about Hedgehogs is that they do exactly what it says on the tin, so we didn’t have to make any special preparations, or film from certain angles - it was literally a case of fit them on and film the results! Predictably, the trolley fitted with Hedgehogs left little to no impression on the course and the trolley with standard wheels left compacted, smeared tyre marks, again this took no more than 2 takes (this filming lark is easy), over to the actors I mean golfers…
Now it looks as though we are getting serious as the film crew begin to assemble what looks like an anti-aircraft gun just off the fairway, but as it takes shape I’m told that it is a camera crane, obviously as soon as this huge piece of kit is set up we hear “Fore” and immediately begin to be peppered with golf balls. Feeling slightly sorry for Sean now as he is the golfer nominated to demonstrate the effort required in carrying a fully loaded euro tour club bag up and down the fairway, definitely no acting needed to show the effort and pain which carrying this bag caused and also the slightly smug expression on Laura’s (Laura Willoughby) face as she leisurely strolls up and down the fairway with her fully loaded bag on her Hedgehog-equipped electric trolley… Again nothing else required, the contrast is plain to see.
Now to the big one, at the beginning of this process I was asked to come up with an attention grabbing unique opening scene, something that would peak your interest, something quirky that would also demonstrate the Hedgehog quickly and effectively (not to specific then)… after much consideration I came up with an electric trolley tug of war, one with Hedgehogs and one without. From the moment I conceived the idea, a small part of me was thinking - will this work? Will the trollies just topple over? And many other reasons for it not to work.
Anyway the moment was here now so no going back…2 Trolleys, 1 rope, 1 ribbon After working out that we need to tie the rope to the trolley as low as possible we are ready to begin, trollies full power, after 3 press the go button and quickly get out of shot and see what happens (all fingers and all toes crossed)….1, 2, 3 GO! The rope tightens and then (as if by magic)…. it works perfectly, both trolleys are static but then the hedgehog trolley starts to pull the other trolley up the hill, and the no-Hedgehog contender just spins it wheels! After that huge success and couple more takes for different angles it’s done, phew!
A few more go-pro shots for close ups and then (slight buggy crash not withstanding) it was back to the car park and the long drive home. (Chris Rea driving home for Christmas over 50 times)…
Please view our videos to see the full and final results and huge thanks to Mark at MB Marketing for arranging everything and all their hard work, the film crew, the golfers/actors Martin Balfour, Laura Willoughby, Sean Murphy the course manager Christopher Ball and especially Newbury and Crookham golf Club for allowing us to destroy parts of their course and a special mention of thanks to the greenkeeper who managed to rescue and untangle my buggy after the slight argument with a fence (*blush*).