If you look at an On the Level golf tee you can instantly see the genius in its simple design. A golf tee is married with a mini water level, similar to that of a construction worker’s level, and viola: up to 34 yards gained on your drive.
Longtime Brookfield resident Vince Lupo, who now lives in Branford, doesn’t golf but he knows when to take a shot with a good idea.
About one year ago Lupo and three friends, Gary Parenti, Carlo Costantini and Joe Beltrami – all from Wolcott– set out to develop On the Level golf tees, an idea that had been lying dormant for 10 years, detailed Lupo. Parenti is the founder of the unique golf tee, said Lupo, and a decade ago he cobbled together a wooden version of the tee and pitched it to an invention company. “Gary said, ‘I can’t believe this isn’t out there,’” detailed Lupo of the water-based bubble-level golf tee.
But when Parenti shopped his crude prototype around, Lupo said his idea fell into the wrong hands. The invention company, Lupo said, “took all his money and went out of business.”
Ten years later, Parenti decided to give the tee another shot and with help of engineer Beltrami who works for Hartford Technologies, the four businessmen were able to create the plastic On the Level golf tee and have been running with it ever since.
First introduced at the Connecticut Golf Show in March, Lupo said the group has been taking feedback and modifying the tee for golfers. Originally manufactured in green – 20,000 tees to be exact – Lupo said golfers asked for the product to be offered in a variety of colors to offset it from the putting green. On the Level tees can now be purchased in white and pink in addition to their signature green.
The product will continue to evolve, said Lupo and is now being manufactured in longer lengths per golfers’ request.
Manufactured in China, Lupo said they company did try to shop the golf tees locally in Connecticut but found the production in the states to be too cost prohibitive.
Promised to improve a golfer’s game, On the Level claims to add up to 34 yards to a drive and the company has backed their assertion with hard data. According to their website, a San Diego-based “independent testing facility was hired by On The Level to produce a trial... The study looked at the distance and accuracy of a ball struck when the tee was perfectly erect or slightly bent toe or heel. The study also covered potential trajectory difference variables in the height and level of the tee.”
The study revealed that tee placement does impact drive distance and accuracy On the Level details. “When a traditional tee is placed in the ground, even the slightest deviation from straight and level correlated to shorter drives under every single measurement. On The Level will make a difference in your game,” the company states.
Currently the tees can be purchased in packs of three for $15.99 and are available online only. Lupo details that the company is working with area golf centers to carry the tees in their shops. They are also in talks with Brookstone stores who are interested in purchasing the tees as well, said Lupo. The hope is to get the tees into a national sporting goods store as well as become a staple corporate gift item that can be personalized for clients.
Next up, the crew will be headed to the ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic to promote their product.
Will On the Level golf tees become another Connecticut invention that has the same success as the WIFFLE ball, the Frisbee or ? You be the judge!