January 12, 2022 4 min read

Eden Dora Trust is a charity that primarily raises desperately needed funds to provide training for adults working with children affected by Encephalitis and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

Paul was approached by the VP of Oldham Athletic FC (Phil’s daughter Eden, at 6 years old, had suffered from encephalitis. Fortunately, she survived but has lifelong lasting complications) and asked if he would become a Patron of the Eden Dora Trust Charity.

Once hearing Eden’s story some years ago, Paul was stunned and had never heard of the illness before. This motivated him to do everything he can to raise awareness and funds for this purpose, and over the years has hosted various golf events to do just that.

When Off The Tee was born, we realised the opportunity there was to help Eden Dora Trust on their mission to defeat this illness. That’s why every year Off The Tee will donate 5% of sales profit to this charity. We also aim to host events in the near future to help spread the word, funding research into Encephalitis and ABI.

You might be thinking…But why golf? Why golf events? Why golf apparel? Well here’s a little insight into how Paul was first introduced to golf and why he thinks OTT is a suitable project for supporting Eden Dora Trust:

“I was a late starter to the game of golf being given a voucher for 6 lessons on my 50th birthday. It wasn’t that I did not want to play the game before then, but I was busy building a career and working long hours with a young family and quite frankly the facilities and the time to do so were not available.

There were occasions when work colleagues of mine would be playing golf on corporate days and I felt as if I was missing out, but my schedule was prohibitive, and time slipped by.

Fortunately, when I booked my golf lessons, I had a good introduction from a pro called Nick McNally who now owns and runs the Langley Park Studio near Maidstone. Despite the early challenges I didn’t give up and continued to practice and spend as much time on the course as I could.

Another pro Andrew Brooks knew that at the time I was General Manager Sales for Virgin Atlantic and I shall never forget the day, not long after I had finished my lessons, that he took me round Wentworth Golf Course with ex Liverpool and Republic of Ireland footballer Ray Houghton. He gave me a 4 iron and told me to tee off on the first hole. I topped my shot, it bounced on the road in front of the tee box and nestled in the long grass about 70 metres on the right-hand side. I continued to hack and grind my way round.

I heard Ray ask Andrew how much golf I played to which Andrew answered that it was my third time on a golf course. At the end of that painful round and almost in tears I asked Andrew why he put me through that experience. He said that he wanted to see how determined and resilient I was to learn the game and he was satisfied that after that round I was serious.

Despite becoming good friends and working on some business projects, that was the last time in 16 years that I used a 4 iron.

Andrew knew that I was working on an idea that was to become a successful sports strategy at Virgin Atlantic which included a unique proposition for travellers where they could take their sports equipment on a long-haul flight for free.

I wanted to work with sports associations to promote the concept and so he introduced me to the PGA. I asked the PGA what their biggest business challenges were. First was the goal of helping Golf Pros who need to earn a living from the industry and not rely on prize money and sponsorship and so help them become businesspeople.

The second challenge was that they had no problem encouraging youngsters into the game but as was the case with me, they would lose people at the age of 22 who spent time building careers and family and didn’t return to playing golf regularly until they were 45. This was a huge revenue loss for them.

Over the following years that I was at Virgin Atlantic I kept in mind what Richard Branson had said to me- “Paul, differentiation is everything, it's where the profit lies and what you need to concentrate on”.

Everything I did therefore I tried to make sure that was different to what others were doing whether that be a sales strategy or a golf event. One of the many things I noticed though was that if you put the word “golf” on any item, it was likely to be expensive and something perhaps understandably specific to that sport. I also found that the quality of the garments in question varied considerably in quality.

That’s why I believe Off The Tee is such a promising brand. The quality of the garments are exceptional, the styles are unique and importantly, they are appropriately priced. Not only that, but I’m on board with the mission of providing multi-purpose athleisure wear. Clothes that can be worn on and off the course!

This way, customers would get great value as they wouldn’t have to buy and therefore replace/recycle so many items.

One thing is certain, learning to play golf and doing so regularly has a range of benefits that include health, fun, continual learning, social and business life. We hope to play our part in encouraging that and enabling a personal clothing budget to be maximised.”

If you’d like to support Eden Dora Trust by donating, please visit https://edendoratrust.org

If you’d like to browse our first collection of athleisure wear products, please click here.