Dear, who played for Scotland and on the Challenge Tour at the height of his career, retired from golf in 2013 to pursue a career in business but less than two years later found himself tempted back to the industry when he was appointed chief commercial officer at Edinburgh-based performance tracking brand Shot Scope.
Dear had turned professional in 2009 following victories at the Walker Cup and the Irish Open Amateur in the same year.
“In 2008 we went down to Australia and we won the World Amateur Team Championship and then in 2009 I won the Dixie Championship against guys like Rickie Fowler and then I won the Irish Amateur,” says Dear. “I got up to tenth in the Amateur World Rankings.”
The former pro is modest about his performance at the World Cup where, alongside Wallace Booth and Callum Macaulay, the Scotland team took its first amateur world title, finishing nine shots ahead of an American team which included Fowler.
Dear’s career plateaued when he reached the Challenge Tour and, unable to take it to the level required for success on the European Tour, he made the decision to retire from competitive golf.
Keen to pursue a career outside the game, Dear enrolled as a Saltire Foundation fellow and took part in an intensive business and entrepreneurship programme which saw him travel to Babson College in Boston for experiential learning.
It was while he was in the United States that he was contacted by Shot Scope chief executive David Hunter, who had heard about Dear’s pursuit of a business role and who offered him the opportunity to join the now 19-strong team behind the automatic performance tracking system.
Since launching to the public in September, following a sell-out pre-order period, the product has been sold in 27 countries with over 2,000 users now improving their game with Shot Scope.
It is the first fully-automated performance tracking system for the industry and comprises 20 tags and a wristband. The tags are inserted into the top of the grips and the wristband is worn by the golfer.
The data is collected automatically and so doesn’t interrupt the golfer’s game, while the technology fully conforms to the Rules of Golf and has been used on the European and Ladies’ European Tours.
Shot Scope comes into its own post-round when golfers are provided with over 100 tour-level statistics, a detailed overview of their game and a breakdown of every shot.
“Coming back to golf was, in the end, an easy decision – if one I didn’t think I’d ever be in the position to make,” says Dear.
“I could see from the outset the potential that Shot Scope could have for all golfers. The product does it all for you without any input – that for me was the clinching point.
“Not having to disrupt your game and still getting all of that data is exactly what golfers want and to have the potential to be involved in developing this for the market was a no-brainer.” n
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