Tempe Based Golf Company Dufl Expands to Japan

(Source: PhoenixBusinessJournal): Hayley Ringle

Tempe-based business travel luggage service Dufl Inc. has launched a new golf service in Japan and opened its first international location in the country.

Dufl Golf has launched in partnership with Golf Digest Online Japan, a golfer services organization with over 3 million members. The golf mobile and web app service offers exclusive travel benefits for golfers in Japan, including securely storing and maintaining golf equipment, like clubs, bags and shoes, and delivering golf gear to golf courses so members don’t have to travel with their equipment. The service also picks up the equipment after the golf outing and prepares the items for the next golf event.

Dufl Golf also sells golf items, such as tees, gloves and balls, through the Dufl online store.

Dufl founder and CEO Bill Rinehart said the partnership and expansion is a “very meaningful step forward” for the company.

“One of our co-founders (and president of Dufl International), Shinji Tsukamoto, resides in Japan so it was always our intent that Japan would be our first international location,” Rinehart said in an email. “The partnership with Golf Digest Online made the move even more attractive. The leader in golf in Japan, GDO’s name and reputation are valuable to us as we enter the golf market there.”

Dufl Golf will service the entire region, with plans to expand beyond golf to Dufl closet service so that the company can store, clean and ship luggage from Japan, Rinehart said.

“Dufl has made life easier for business travelers around the world. Now we’re collaborating to make life easier for golfers,” said Golf Digest Online CEO Shinya Ishizaka. “Dufl Golf with GDO gives customers the ability to manage their golf equipment with just a few clicks, gain more storage space at home and ensure that their clubs and shoes are waiting for them at the golf course, clean and ready to play. We’re excited about expanding our partnership in the coming months to offer even more services.”

While Dufl began expanding its luggage service internationally in August 2015, Japan is the first of many international expansion locations for the company, Rinehart said.

“The launch of Dufl Golf is a clear signal to our customers that we are expanding our services internationally,” he said. “Japan is our first international location, but we plan to be in the UK later this year and expect to have a second location in Europe in early 2018. Additionally, we are looking to open facilities in Singapore and Hong Kong in 2018.”

Dufl stores and ships frequent business travelers’ luggage, clothing and accessories in its warehouses, taking the hassle out of dealing with luggage at the airport for regular travelers. Customers choose items from their virtual closet for each trip, which are laundered, packed and delivered to their hotel.

Dufl Business, which launched in beta last year, offers services for event materials, including booths and trade show banners.

Dufl also began offering its sports tier in February 2016 for any oversized sports equipment, including bicycles, skis, golf clubs and scuba gear.

Dufl raised $5.3 million in a Series A round in August to continue to expand, hire and build out its Tempe warehouse.

The 35-employee private company does not share revenue or customer numbers, but Rinehart said Dufl continues to “experience double digit growth month-on-month.”