In February of 2021, Tom Coppola and Max Grundy approached Colligan Law about forming a virtual golf startup company.  A year and a half later, GolfDojo is open for business.  Colligan Law has walked with Tom and Max step-by-step through the startup process, from forming the LLC to drafting the company’s lease.  And we couldn’t be happier to see GolfDojo, located at 7350 Transit Road, thriving already.

Colligan Law sat down with Tom and Max to discuss their startup journey and see how business is going almost one month into their opening.

Colligan Law: How did you decide to open GolfDojo, and how did you settle on the location?

GolfDojo: During the COVID Summer of 2020, we played golf every morning to stay connected. It was a safe way to get together. As the summer ended, we looked for ways to keep that connection and found that indoor golf had not yet developed in WNY in a way that could meet to demand. And so, GolfDojo was born.

After a lengthy search, we identified a terrific home at 7350 Transit Road. It’s the exact right space in a location that is central for so many WNY golfers.

CL: There are a lot of directions you can go with in terms of virtual golf.  How did you settle on the direction you ended up taking with GolfDojo? 

GD: We want GolfDojo to be the place where you bring your outdoor game inside.  We found many indoor golf facilities focus on a prescribed version of golf. We want people to use GolfDojo and develope their own experience.

CL: Once you found a space to lease, what work needed to be done to make it conducive to virtual golf?

GD: We were lucky that the space was delivered as an empty box, which allowed our fantastic builder, Murphy Bros. Builders Inc., to build our bays.

CL: How many employees do you have, and what are their roles?

GD: We are blessed to have Jeff Mietus, PGA, as our Director of Golf. His experience in the golf industry and connections in WNY golf is second to none. As well, he is the best golf instructor in Buffalo. He has shared our vision and runs the facility like a top-notch golf club.

CL: What was your biggest fear in forming a startup, and what ended up being your biggest obstacle?

GD: The way that all of the pieces came together and the timeline unfolded, we opened as people were moving back to outdoor golf.  Acquiring new customers in May & June is a challenge, but we are thrilled that people are checking us out.  

CL: How was that fear mitigated? How did you overcome the obstacle?

GD: With respect to the business itself, nearly all of our customers have come back for a second experience and so many have joined as members.  It continues to tell us that we are on to something.

Regarding the formation and getting the business ready for golfers, we’re thankful to have such a great law firm on our side.  Colligan Law, specifically Alexander Vilardo, has been not only our legal team, but engaged and supportive partners.  Alexander cares about our business in a way that few attorneys would. His expertise and care is what helps us navigate uncharted territory in this new endeavor.

CL: What surprised you the most about forming a startup?

GD: We are both educators. Expanding our professional scope and using transferable skills to learn and grow has been an incredible part of this journey.

CL: What are GolfDojo’s plans for the future? 

GD: To continue to be the premier indoor golf space. We want people to think of GolfDojo as their home for indoor golf.

CL: What advice do you have for people who may be thinking about forming a startup?

GD: Be people of integrity and develop great partnerships like Custom Turf, Murphy Bros., Colligan Law, CBRE (specifically, Lida Eberz), Club Champion, and the WNYPGA.  It is all about developing strong relationships that allow for everyone to share in the process. We are so grateful to our partners.