Golf magazine editor

A golf club and ball

Tim Southwell, the founder of 'Golf Punk' magazine proved that perseverance pays off.

Raise Your Game: You founded your own publishing company, KYM Publishing Limited, and 'Golf Punk' magazine. What was the inspiration behind it?

Tim Southwell: I've been playing golf for about 25 years and realised that I hadn't bought a golf magazine for about 24 years! Most of the magazines represent middle-aged, boring, upper-class attitudes. They are tuition and instruction obsessed rather than being about the enjoyment of the game.

Everyone who plays wants to improve but those magazines were obsessed with self-improvement and ignored, even denied, the fact that golf is good fun. They were never a rallying point for people like me who love the game so basically 'Golf Punk' was born out of frustration.

RYG: Where do you even begin!?

TS: I worked for 'Loaded' magazine before this one, but I wasn't happy with the way it ended up so I left to set up on my own. I had to raise £1.5million to launch 'Golf Punk', which is challenging for someone who hasn't done anything like that before! I'm not a fundraiser, I was an entrepreneur wannabe!

I teamed up with someone who knows about business plans and we had to convince people to invest. We got very close, but after 9/11 the deal collapsed and we ran out of money. We had to knock it on its head for a while and get jobs.

The following year I met a friend and we re-investigated the idea of setting up a publishing company. In January 2003, a friend of mine, Phil Babb, got a group of his fellow footballers together and they provided the capital to produce a dummy issue of the magazine. Michael Gray, Tommy Sorenson, Stephen Wright, Jason Mcateer and Phil Babb were the founding fathers if you like.

For anyone who is thinking of starting their own business, it's a good idea to approach people who you think will be excited by your idea. And these all play a lot of golf in their down time. We got a fundraising expert on board, and using that dummy copy we managed to convince people to invest.

RYG: There must have been a steep learning curve?

TS: Having a brilliant idea isn't enough. You need to be able to communicate, and to develop a business plan with details of how much money you need, cash flows etc. I had to learn about all this even though it's not really my thing. I'm more creative.

It's not for the faint-hearted. It took 2.5 years from start to launch and was a lot of work. Anyone can do this though. You've got to be passionate and committed. There are business angels who invest in ideas and people and they will afford you respect because of the strength of your convictions.


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