As the co-founder of a SME business, the newly appointed Icehouse Auckland and Northland client lead “understands business ownership”

Posted by Kate De Lautour on 12/06/2024 4:09:41 PM

David Thompson started Snag Golf in 2011. A keen golfer (he has an 11 handicap!) David came up with the idea for the business when he was travelling in the States.

“It happened by accident. I turned up at a trade show in Orlando and saw the golfing gear for kids and thought it would go well in NZ. I set about getting the license to sell the products and the programmes, although this was changed later to our own programmes, which were more suited to Kiwi kids.

David Thompson

Starting up, we knew we had to gain the support of the golf industry, so it was a matter of connecting with NZ Golf and selling them the concept. When we had that buy-in we worked closely with Sport NZ and regional sports trusts to deliver the programme to schools and the community.”

David gave up a role at healthcare business Enigma moving into Snag Golf full-time to get it up and running - it grew fast with the help of an Icehouse coach to guide them, keep them accountable and build momentum.

“I used Icehouse coach Wayne Tollemache and then Wayne came onto our advisory board. Having a board not only gave us more credibility in the sector’s eyes but by having a board we were able to develop structure and with partners like NZ Golf we were taken more seriously, and it was clear that we were a sustainable business. We introduced new ways to connect with kids and their families to promote the growth of junior golf. At the time we were the only golf business that had the approval to play golf in public parks.”

Owning a business came with plenty of challenges including how to keep multiple shareholders on the same page.

“Getting a coach built a bridge between the owners, we made the changes that were needed to be cohesive, and the business started to take off.”

When Sport NZ stopped funding coaching in the schools then the team had to rethink the business model, eventuating with an online business selling golf gear to schools in New Zealand and Australia.

Outside of his own business, David has had a career focused on healthcare with ten years plus experience in the sector including embracing new technology to improve patient care as General Manager of Rauland, where he had a team of eight staff working to build innovation into New Zealand’s health system.

“The technology allowed clinicians to talk to patients away from a physical setting which came into its own during Covid!”

At Enigma, David was involved in business development for potentially life-saving software that gauged the likelihood of cardiovascular risk and heart disease. Most recently David has had a successful career at Green Cross Health where he managed the acquisitions of New Zealand General Practices. The role involved engaging with the business owners and guiding them through the process including shareholders agreements, sales and purchase agreements, lease agreements, and what life would look like for them as an employee.

“I tried to make the process as simple as possible and forming strong, trusted relationships was absolutely key.”

David is looking forward to connecting with business owners and leaders throughout Auckland and Northland and welcomes calls from anyone wanting to know more about the Icehouse services and how he can support their growth.

“I fully understand the challenges of business ownership, the importance of partnerships, and setting your business up for succession or sale.”


Keen to connect with David? You can email him here:


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