October 9 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Jeff King has a full-time job carrying Luke List's bag on the PGA TOUR, but when he's not scouting out courses or giving reads on the green, he likes to spend his down time making beef jerky.
Normally making jerky would be considered a hobby for a PGA TOUR caddie, however, over the course of the last year, King's hobby has turned into one of the hottest products on TOUR and is now being marketed to the general public.
So what makes King's jerky so popular? PGATOUR.COM's Equipment Report had the opportunity to talk to King about the jerky business, how it got into Tiger Woods' hands and which PGA TOUR player eats the most KINGMADE Jerky.
Q. How did you get started making jerky?
A. Having a lot of down time as a caddie, I went and bought a dehydrator and started messing around in my kitchen. I googled a bunch of recipes and played around with ingredients until I came up with something that was healthy and tasted good. I knew I could make something that was better for you than what you could find in stores. After several batches, I came up with a jerky that is extremely low in sodium and sugar and also tastes great.
Q. Where did the name come from?
A. After a few weeks and pages of names from our branding company, Brand Cory, we had narrowed it down to a couple that we were happy with. We chose KINGMADE because it incorporates my name and we thought it would be easy for people to connect Jeff King, the caddie that makes the jerky for the guys on the PGA TOUR.
Q. KINGMADE is pretty much a staple on the PGA TOUR now. When did you start making it for pros?
A. A little over two years ago, I began making it for Luke List, my player, and me just as a snack. Over the next couple months, several guys had tried some while we played together. In the 2012 season, while caddying for Vaughn Taylor is when I was getting requests from several guys on a weekly basis. In a little over a year, there are about 80 players on the PGA TOUR that have eaten or still eat it on TOUR.
Q. When did Tiger Woods first try KINGMADE and how often do you have to give him refills?
A. I think it was around The Memorial when he was paired with Matt Kuchar. Matt's caddie, Lance Bennett, always has some so I think he let him try some then. Since then, Lance sees if he wants some when he sees him at tournaments.
Q. Is there a particular guy on TOUR who goes through more bags than anyone else?
A. Hands down Billy Horschel. He and his caddie, Micah Fugitt, go through a pretty good amount. Matt Kuchar and Lance, Chris DiMarco, Gary Woodland and Davis Love III are not far behind Team Horschel, though.
Q. Did you ever expect KINGMADE to turn into this big of a hit?
A. Absolutely not. Considering I have never asked anyone to ever buy anything, the support the guys on TOUR have given KINGMADE is incredible. I never had any intention of starting a business with it or to have anyone else eating other than Luke and myself. Since it is so healthy, I think the guys have spread the word on their own. It is totally unexpected and a true blessing.
Q. I know you caddie for Luke List. With the success of KINGMADE, have you ever considered going into the jerky business full time?
A. At this point, no. I enjoy being around great golf and competing. All the guys on TOUR are great and it is a lifestyle that I am used to. I have a great team of people behind me that look over day-to-day operations which allows me to stay focused on caddying. It is definitely great that KINGMADE has turned into a backup plan if needed, but I caddie to help people try to achieve their dreams. There is no greater gratisfaction than seeing someone accomplish something they set out to do and know that you were a part of the team that helped achieve it.