Interview with TourQuest
A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon a video about a group of guys who were planning to travel the country trying to qualify for every PGA event. While attempting to Monday Qualify is not particularly unique, the fact that they were going on this adventure as a team rather than individuals was something I had never heard of. Sure, equipment and apparel companies have “teams”, but Team TourQuest seemed more genuine. So, I tracked down Sam Goulden, the guy who put this whole idea together, to get the scoop on just who and what TourQuest is.
From left (Paul, Sam & KC)
Adam: So what’s the story behind #TourQuest? Where did you get the idea and how did you put it together?
TourQuest: Initially, #TourQuest was born out of necessity. I had a few friends who needed to test their games at the highest level possible. Playing mini-tour events all year killing time before web.com Q-school was getting them nowhere. I shared my experience of traveling the country playing Monday Qualifiers… letting them see how beneficial it could be to go head to head each week with the players they would face in Q-school. Everyone agreed that it was a good idea to use Monday qualifiers as preparation for Q-school and also, if they had a good week, the payout could be huge!
I thought of ways to fund the journey and came up with a simple solution: find a few companies who are willing to share our story and help us with the things we need on the road in trade for a weekly web series highlighting their product and the team.
It was a lot of phone calls and a lot of rejection for the first month or so but slowly we were able to find a few companies who believed in our pursuit enough to sign on. Specifically, I would like to thank QED Style for our apparel, True Linkswear for our footwear, Francis Edward for yardage books, G Fore for gloves, Vega for wedges and a ton of friends and family for moral support.
We are still seeking financial support from a title sponsor but at this time we have everything we need to be successful on the course.
Adam: In one words describe each guy on the team
Paul Imondi – Player
Mark Baker – Technician
KC Lim – Determination
Chris Gilman – Winner
Sam Goulden – Believer
Adam: I assume you have met a ton of people, who are some of the most interesting folks you have gotten to know?
TourQuest: On the road we meet great people every day. Most notably we have been fortunate to rub shoulders with guys like David Duval, Paul Stankowski, Esteban Toledo, Chris Smith, Frank Lickliter, Chad Campbell, and many others.
Adam: Obviously, it can’t be cheap to play qualifiers every week and live on tour, how have you been able to finance the team?
TourQuest: To be honest, financing the team is a struggle. The cost of each tournament is about $4,000. We’ve played 11 events so far. Since March, I have earned $30,500. I’ve spent every penny. In my bank account sits a meager $298. Luckily, I have been able to fund much of #TourQuest with lessons and clinics taught on the road. My instructional books also help out. KC Lim has a little help from a sponsor. Mark Baker has a small group of investors who help with entry fees and travel costs. Chris Gilman has been playing well enough in Latin America PGA Tour events to fund his own play. But, I’d have to say, at this point, I don’t know how we are making it. I look at my bank statement each week and just can’t believe we come up with the money to keep pressing on. But, we do.
Our sponsors are helping with opportunities as well. Though it’s not a major chunk of the team’s income, QED’s offer to sell “Team #TourQuest” golf shirts and give the team 100% of the profit has been extremely beneficial. Francis Edward (Paul Stankowski’s company) also helps by letting the team sell custom yardage books. Again, the team gets 100% of the profit from sales generated through #TourQuest.
Adam: Has there been a time when you wanted to just pack up and go home?
TourQuest: I can’t quit. Eight years ago I set out on a journey and I am determined to never give up. There are hard times. I have had moments . . . in the end still believe I can win the US Open.
My personal journey began as a way to prove to my students, friends, everyone really . . . to prove that anything is possible. That if you want something, the only thing stopping you is you.
Adam: How would you judge TourQuest’s success this year?
TourQuest: Our success can be measured on many levels. One success is that we made it. We did it and continue to do it. Week after week we press on. Another victory comes in the growth of our following, proving to sponsors that they made the right decision when they took a chance on us. Finally, we would love to see a few players “graduate” from the team. To get the guys through Q-school in the fall, after all of this preparation, would be amazing.
Adam: What has the reaction been to TourQuest?
TourQuest: I am happy to say that we get a ton of support from fans, club members, friends and family. It’s kind of funny now when we all are on the range and guys will come up to say “hi”. I think it is because we are truly the only team of players like this. If feels good that TourQuest is catching on both for fans and Pros.
Adam: What are your plans for the future of the team?
TourQuest: At some point we will have qualifying events for players hoping to join the team. I see a team of eight players in a #TourQuest tour van, traveling the country playing monday qualifiers. I see a Junior team that is fully sponsored by #TourQuest to play in mini tour events throughout the season with the opportunity to play their way on to the traveling team. I see a successful business which can support all of this through goods sold online and potentially in golf shops. It is my goal to one day see multiple players on the PGA Tour with the #TourQuest logo on their backs.
Adam: How can folks follow you guys and is there a way for people to support you?
TourQuest: Anyone can follow our YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook by typing TOURQUEST in the search bar. You can support us by picking up #TourQuest merchandise on our website www.teamtourquest.com or by donating directly.
Adam: Thanks for your time and I will be rooting for you guys!