THEY started out working in a garage “for fun” but now Ayrshire pair Andy Bogle and Campbell Mathieson operate a golf ball empire.

Ayrshire Discount Golf Balls was a lockdown project for the pair, from Troon, who we first spoke to in July 2020.

Back then, they had sold 15,000 golf balls and decided to donate some profits to the local Whiteleys Retreat charity.

Nearly three years on, the business, which is now based in Irvine, has sold more than 600,000 balls, has donated nearly £5,000 to the charity, has won national awards - and has even taken on a full time member of staff.

The company is managed by Prestwick man Michael Miller, as both Andy and Campbell both work full time down south, as a graduate analyst and junior doctor respectively.

But the company's success is not something the founding pair ever imagined would happen.

Andy commented: “I think we could have dreamt it – but we didn’t.

“I didn’t spend any time thinking about where it could go, it was all about just doing it.

“It was purely for fun, it wasn’t meant to be a business that earned us money.

“Luck combined with being reasonably good at what we do has made it possible.”

To take you back to the beginning, the business began in lockdown, where the pair began golfing together on a regular basis - with little else to do, as their university courses had been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Hoping to head to the driving range one night, Andy told Campbell he had about 10,000 balls in his garage which they could start using.

Then, Campbell explained: “I suddenly thought ‘oh, there must be some money stored up in that collection of balls'.

“I put that idea to Andy and within 12 days we’d launched on Facebook with a brand, slogan, all the balls washed, sorted and graded.

“Plus we had the partnership with Whiteleys Retreat – a local children’s cancer charity.”

The pair took their first orders only on Facebook, delivering them themselves all over the west coast.

When they had to return to university  later in 2020, instead of letting the idea go they hired a few part time staff to keep them going through the winter.

That winter, they also built a website, and launched their first big start of season sale.

The bought 5,000 balls from a supplier in Germany, and as this launched online, “our phones just went nuts with orders through the website”.

Andy added: “That was the first time you just think, people like us, we have something here.”

After that summer they moved the business into a near 100 square foot warehouse in Irvine - in another effort to keep it growing.

Campbell said: “I’d come home for the Christmas holidays and the stock we’d had left, which wasn’t much, we carried into this massive warehouse in eight 'bags for life'.

“The thing just looked so big, thinking 'we’ll never be able to fill this'. We bought and bought that winter – in the hope that the following spring and summer we would go on to sell.

“There were times Andy’s mum, for example, would walk into the warehouse and go ‘what the hell are you guys doing’ because there were so many balls in there.

“But I think we just had that underlying confidence, and maybe naivety, that we would shift those balls, based off the boom that we’d had the summer before.”

Ayr Advertiser: The trio behind the business strategize their next move.The trio behind the business strategize their next move. (Image: Submitted)

And sell they did - and after their biggest summer yet, they brought Michael on board in early 2022.

Later that year, they would be named as ‘Golf Retailer of the Year’ at the Prestige business awards.

Now looking to the future, the trio have aspirations for Ayrshire Discount Golf Balls to keep on getting bigger.

Ahead of the new golfing season, the company is planning to rebrand in what will be their biggest task to date.

Newest recruit Michael explained: “In the next one or two years, with the rebrand, we would like to continue the same level of connection with our customer base, even though this will increase.

“It’s very much in our intentions to maintain the same level of friendliness, warmth and connection with our audience and the charity.

“We do not want to become a big faceless, corporate company – we want to maintain the human connection.”

But their ambitions are still high.

Campbell added: “We want to be the best and biggest golf ball company in the world.

“It might be quite an ambitious statement, and sounds a bit big headed, but given our rated growth so far, and how customers have responded to the quality of our service and product, we believe it’s possible.

“We’re keeping our feet firmly on the ground, and understand how much hard work has to go into getting to that place - but so far our track record is pretty good, so there’s nothing to say that’s not possible.”