Join the Indoor Putting League Now
With their first business established only nine months ago, Grip N Rip Disc Golf owners, Kayleen Moffitt and Tyler Martinsen, are counting their blessings. The Ludington store has been flourishing during its first season, and the young entrepreneurs recently won a regional pitch competition for outdoor recreation small businesses.
The pitch contest netted $5,000 worth of business support services for their company — and Moffitt and Martinsen hope their branding and marketing efforts will pay off by advancing their business and making Grip N Rip a well-known resource for disc golf supplies in West Michigan.
“The pitch contest was something we discovered by accident honestly,” Moffitt said. “I applied and got the email that we were a finalist. I prepped the pitch and presented, and we won!”
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), The Right Place, Inc. and The Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office partnered on this first-of-its-kind pitch competition focusing on providing growth opportunities to outdoor recreation small businesses. Entrepreneurs from Oceana, Newaygo, Lake and Mason counties were invited to submit their ideas for consideration. Grip N Rip was one of five small businesses chosen to receive the support services.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us as we received $2,500 in geo-targeted advertising and $2,500 in branding merchandise,” Moffitt said. “Those are two things we haven’t been able to put money toward since we opened, so being provided with them is a game changer and a really humbling and blessed experience.”
As disc golfers themselves, Moffitt and Martinsen had experienced the need for a supply store due to the growing popularity of the sport.
“Tyler and I both have a passion for disc golf and felt the need to have a shop in the local area with how many courses there are,” Moffitt said. “I have always wanted to own my own business, and this was a great opportunity!”
Grip N Rip opened its store at 5770 West US-10 in March, and an e-commerce store has been added to support sales of popular brands including the popular Fairway drivers and the Michigan-made MVP line.
“We add personal touches to all our online orders to help build a relationship with each customer: hand-written notes on the boxes along with a discount code for future purchases,” Moffitt explained.
Gift certificates are also currently available for the holidays both in store and online.
Grip N Rip has become a local hub for disc golfers to ask questions, share ideas, and get tips and tricks. In addition to merchandise, Grip N Rip provides disc golf lessons, tournaments and youth programming.
So why is disc golf so enticing? Martinsen says it’s an opportunity to be active and spend time alone or with friends and family.
“You can compete with yourself and really see the progress you make,” he said. “All ages and skill levels can play! The atmosphere of the sport is upbeat, and everyone wants you to succeed. You don’t have to be good to have fun. There are competitions for all ages, and it’s just a great way to be active and outdoors.
“It’s also a great way to meet new people. By either doing competitive tournaments and/or joining the local disc golf league.”
The area is home to many disc golf courses, including those located at the Ludington School Forest, Mason County Park, Scottville Riverside Park and West Shore Community College.
New this year, Tinderbox was created at the Mason County Campground, which is a smaller course designed with the family in mind. It’s a less-technical course that serves as a warmup for larger courses.
Now in the “off-season,” Grip N Rip is offering an indoor putting league for disc golf enthusiasts. For just $5 a session, participants can keep their skills sharp all winter long with no worries about the weather. Putting happens at the store on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.
“Technically, disc golf is played all year-round. We have, in our store, discs specifically made for winter play,” Moffitt said, “but most people start playing again at the end of March.
“We have received great local support and are thankful to be in an area where the community shops small,” she added. “We just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us. We can’t wait for what the future has in store, and we’re excited to help build the disc golf community in our own unique way!”
Tournaments slated for 2022
January 16 – Ice Bowl, raising money for Lakeshore Food Club REGISTER
March 19 – Grip N Rip’s 1st-year anniversary tournament – a “FAV 5” in which each player will only be able to play with five discs of their choice
April 16 – Annual Ace Run, raising funds for Grip N Rip’s summer youth programs
June 11 – a feature event with details to be announced
October 29 – Halloween Glow doubles tournament on a “spiced-up” haunted course
Registration for tournaments will be available on Discgolfscene, Grip N Rip’s Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as in the store.