A Lehigh Acres man has come up with an invention that he claims all those who play golf will want to own. The patent is pending and a firm in Miami has told him they will help him find a manufacturer to make the product and distribute it locally and hopefully even nationally.
You would find it in the sports aisles and in pro shops.
Verzel Kelly of Brian Ave. in Lehigh loves to play golf and has been playing the game for several years, ever since he lived in Oklahoma and his son, who had been a golf caddie, showed him how to play.
Verzel Kelly has invented a new product for golfers. Photo by Mel Toadvine
Not only does Kelly's son play golf, but so does another son and a daughter. All are golfers in the family except for his wife who is hoping Verzel's invention will turn out to be a money maker.
But before the product can be shown, a final patent has to be issued, and then a company in Miami has promised to help find a manufacturer and Kelly says they will work to come up with ways to distribute the product.
In the family room on Brian Street are dozens of trophies lining the walls and several neck medals all presented for winning golf tourneys. But Kelley says they are mostly for his daughter who is what he calls a very good player. His children are in college and have continued to play golf.
Verzel Kelly is 58 and drives a school bus for the Lee County School Board. He came to Lee County with much experience, having been a transit driver in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and his wife had purchased a lot in Lehigh and decided to come here and build or buy a home. They did buy a home on another lot instead of the one they had purchased.
But all that Kelly is thinking about these days is getting his invention off of the ground and into the hands of golfers.
NewProductHelp.com, the firm in Miami that he says is handling publicity and helping to find a manufacturer said the invention's unique design provides is users with a reliable and an easy-to-use method of controlling a golf club when it is wet.
New Product Help. Com has sent out an unsigned press release announcing the product. It refers readers to contact them at 877-0494, Ext. 2700 if they know of a company or organization that will manufacture the new "Wet Grip."
It claims the new product that Kelly has invented "will be very elementary to implement and begin using, and will be cost-effective to purchase. It will also prevent the hassle and frustration inherent in trying to swing with a slippery club, and will eliminate the need to carry a towel while out on the course.
Kelley said that on very warm days, golfers often have sweaty palms and that will have an effect on holding the golf club and can cause the golfer to not be able to put the ball where he wants it. But also on rainy days when avid golfers still play, this new product, Kelly says, will really be something they will need and hopefully want.
However, he does not have a prototype of the "Wet Grip" at his home to show.
"They have told me that until the patent and everything goes through, I should not be showing it," he said.
A letter from the Miami firm said there will be no product photos, prototypes or graphic Illustrations of the design made available to the media until a licensing agreement and/or patent protection has been secured.
Kelly's wife is Iona Kelle a certified nursing assistant at Gulf Coast Hospital.
Kelley said the idea for his invention came to him five months ago while playing at Mirror Lakes in Lehigh.
"It was raining and I was watching and others and myself were having problems really swinging the golf clubs. A lot of golfers carry towels around with them when they are playing in case of rain and when their palms are wet from perspiration.
"I got this idea in my mind and when I got home, I started working on something that could be used. I had stopped at Walmart to look at materials. I can sew and I can say this, I have three kinds of materials in my product.
Kelly could say no more without divulging additional information about the product. "I don't want someone to see it and get a patent over me," he laughed.
If all goes well and a manufacturer can be found to make the product in large amounts, it could be on the shelves within a few months," Kelly said.
"Of course, after being marketed and with the sale of the product, I would receive royalties which would be great," he said.
Kelly plays at the Fort Myers County Club, the Eastwood County Club in Fort Myers and locally, he plays at Westminster, and Mirror Lakes.
"I play every weekend when I have the opportunity and enjoy it. My handicap is seven which is not bad," he said.