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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
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- September 16, 1991
- Vol. 36
- No. 10
Call Him Mr. Tee
Casey Golden Built a Better Golf Tee by Puttering in His Kitchen
Three years ago, as a project for an afterschool class called Creative Analysis, the straight-A student set out to devise such a tee. Last month, Casey Golden's BIO-T—which when moistened melts into an organic brown goo within 36 hours—made its pro debut at the International, a PGA Tour stop in Castle Rock, Colo.
For his invention, Casey drew on ordinary household items and, perhaps, the above-ordinary tolerance of parents who were already raising three older siblings (one early experiment blew a hole in the side of the family microwave). Eventually he baked a mush of flour, water, fertilizer, peat moss, grass seed and applesauce into a dirt-colored tee sturdy enough to support a golf ball and innovative enough to win $1,000 from Invent America, a nationwide contest for K—8 students. "At the finals," says Casey, "there was a bunch of good stuff—this big machine that, like, picked up oil, a skateboard that turned into a bench, and this Oriental kid had an earthquake-proof house. I was surprised I won."
Sensing opportunity, his father, John, an insurance salesman, formed a company to make and distribute Casey's tee. Casey's original formula has been retooled to make the tees less brittle and to assuage greens-keepers, who, fearing their courses would be contaminated with alien grass, asked that seeds be omitted.
The firm has orders for 6 million tees. Even though they will retail at 3 cents each, roughly double the cost of the wooden version, that's hardly a financial hole-in-one. Yet John, 50, has quit his job to sell BIO-Ts full-time; since rain, dew or just plain sweaty hands will trigger the disintegration, Casey and the Goldens figure success is all but guaran-teed.
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