The "aha" moment: While serving as a caddie on the PGA Tour in 2002, Jim Hackenberg was amazed by the effortlessness of the pros' swings. It looked as if they were swinging a ball on the end of a chain, he observed. He set out to make a club that would help amateurs mimic the fluid movement.

R&D: In 2003, Hackenberg started developing a prototype in a shed at a driving range in Martha's Vineyard, where he was working as a golf instructor. Three years and 10 iterations later, his students began testing the creation: a flexible fiberglass shaft with a lead-filled ball on one end and a steel counterweight on the other.

Hitting the market: In 2008, Hackenberg started selling the device, which he named the Orange Whip, to students and on his company's website,, for $109. Since then, his company has generated $1.7 million in sales online and in golf shops and country clubs nationwide. Hackenberg, who no longer caddies or teaches, has five employees, an office in Easley, South Carolina, and a production facility in Phoenix.

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