B. R. businessman Robert Nelson
attracting attention with product to keep golfers' hands dry
By Scott Levine
Robert Nelson, President of Nelson Sports Products Inc., faces an uphill battle. He's
trying to introduce a new product for golfers. Each step is a new adventure and each day a
What keeps him going is his firm belief that he is marketing what Partners magazine,
the official magazine of PGA Tour, calls a "revolutionary" product.
The product is known simply as DRY HANDS, and it offers a simple solution to a
universal problem: maintaining a dry grip under wet and humid conditions.
The product was originally developed as a liquid chalk substitute for weight lifters
"What makes this product so unique and different from any other product in the
world is that it is a water repellent, " says Nelson, meaning it will keep a golfer's
hands dry when he or she sweats, and it is also effective in the rain.
Nelson did not invent DRY HANDS. In fact, he stumbled upon the product by accident
during a round of golf several years ago. It started to rain, and Nelson was ready to
quit. But a playing partner reached into his bag and took out a small unmarked plastic
bottle and squirted a few drops of liquid on his hands. He said it would help keep his
When Nelson first tried it, he said it felt OK, but by the end of the round he knew he
was onto something. He kept the bottle and continued to use it as "his secret
It was not until he made a trip to Orlando, Fla., for sales meeting that he was sure
what he had. He timed the trip to coincide with the PGA Merchandise trade show. He brought
his bottle with him and got into the show with a friend from one of the local golf
courses. He actually went to the show "hoping to find a similar product out there so
I could go on my merry way." Instead, everyone was amazed. He couldn't walk away, and
the rest, as they say, is history.
The response was so great that Nelson contacted the company that manufactured the
substance and inquired about purchasing the rights to market the product in a five-state
area. Instead, he was offered the worldwide rights, and he has not looked back.
Even though Nelson Sports Products Inc. is locally owned and operated, DRY HANDS is
getting known nationally as well as internationally.
Nelson has gone back to the PGA Merchandise trade show, where his product was picked
from among hundreds to be highlighted by The Golf Channel.
The product was also chosen by QVC to be spotlighted on its tour of the United States.
Nelson appeared on the show and sold 2,000 bottles in six minutes Internationally, he has
recently picked up a distributor in the United Kingdom, and DRY HANDS has also sold in
Germany and Japan.
In addition to golfers, Nelson has found that other people also value dry hands. Even
without being marketed to other fields, DRY HANDS has been discovered by musicians, weight
lifters, rock climbers and surgeons. Nelson said that even the Louisiana State University
swim team is looking into the effectiveness of the product to see whether it might help
the swimmers slide through the water with less drag.
For right now, however, Nelson has decided to focus his marketing efforts on the golf
and tennis industries. That is why he has attended several golf tournaments to personally
demonstrate his product. The response has been better than he thought. Several well-known
professionals have tried the product, among them Gary Player, who has recommended the
product to others.
DRY HANDS has also received a number of positive reviews from national golf magazines.
Golf Magazine tested the product and stated, "Everyone fears losing hold of
the club in humid or rainy conditions. Help may be on the way... Even when wet numerous
times, one application helps hands dry quickly and maintain a secure grip." It gave
DRY HANDS a 4-star rating.
Golf Illustrated said, "Dampness no longer needs to affect grip potential.
A few drops of DRY HANDS completely dries the skin surface without leaving hands sticky or
DRY HANDS is sold locally in golf and tennis pro shops in 2-ounce bottles for $7.99.
Each bottle contains enough for about 100 applications.