Charlie Golf Co. rides social media wave to success

Growing Golf
Charlie Golf Co. bag

An entrepreneur from Iowa is helping families bond through golf by designing colourful bags, especially for toddlers.

Tyler Johnson, 35, a general manager at a software company and father of two children under five, launched Charlie Golf Co. last October.

The brand is named after his eldest son and sells fun-sized single-strap waxed canvas golf bags for two to five-year-olds.

In just four months, Johnson has sold over 1100 bags and amassed a waiting list of more than 3000, after his story went viral on social media.

“The one thing I have learned from this little business is the impact a golf bag can have on a kid's desire to play golf. It's really incredible to witness,” said Johnson.

“The golf bag gives them something they can take ownership of every time they go to the golf course and they can be just like Mom or Dad, which is the best feeling in the world.”

The bags, which are inspired by traditional Sunday and pencil-bag styles, are hand-packed in Johnson’s garage at home in Mason City, Iowa, and mailed by UPS with a handmade tag that says: ‘Fostering a Love of the Game. From Iowa.’

Tyler Johnson of Charlie Golf Co.

Johnson played college golf at the University of Northern Iowa and says he came up with the idea after taking a trip to the driving range with three-year-old Charlie.

Charlie kept dropping his clubs and later he found the balls and tees rolling around under the seats of his car. That’s when he realised Charlie, and other toddlers, needed a bag.

He funded the development of a prototype and an initial order of 150 units using bonds left to him by his grandfather.

“All of this is completely bootstrapped. That's the way we are going to keep it. Sustainable growth is key. The mission behind it all is to introduce kids to the game of golf with their families,” said Johnson.

The bags have one pocket, an adjustable strap, a single divider, hold up to four clubs and retail for $88.

Johnson says they improve motor skills, promote independence and patience but most importantly encourage bonding time for families and help children foster a love for golf.

The breakout success of Charlie Golf Co. has already led to new partnerships, specifically with Nor'Easter Sticks, which has designed 23" hickory wood alignment sticks that help toddlers learn to aim.

Developing a line of toddler clubs is the next phase of expansion at Charlie Golf Co. and Johnson has already commissioned prototypes of a 7-iron, driver and putter, with plans to release clubs to market in Spring 2024.

The waiting list for toddler clubs already has more than 200 names on it.