When Christian Cavaliere put his lifelong dream of becoming a professional golfer on hold to focus on launching a golf accessories business, he knew he was taking a risk.
Now with his business, Tremont Sporting Co., thriving and a game competitive enough to qualify for the 2023 U.S. Open, he’s leaving all his options open.
“As much as I love my business, I see my friends who I grew up playing with and competing with having success out on tour and the mini tours and I’m like, maybe I could do that too,” Cavaliere said. “That desire to compete and the competitive fire is still there. I don’t want to rule out that option [of turning pro]. But I want to keep getting the business off the ground and maybe I’ll revisit it.”
Cavaliere has done more than get Tremont off the floor. He’s taken what started off as a “side hustle” selling custom hats made in his Boston College dorm and turned it into a flourishing custom golf accessories business with 10 employees, a 1,500-square-foot production studio, and nearly 100 wholesale clients.
Ironically, as he’s focused on growing Tremont, his game has taken big steps forward too. He qualified for the 2023 U.S. Open and enters the 2023 U.S. Mid-Am, which is being played this week at Sleepy Hollow and Fenway Golf Clubs, as one of the top players to watch.
“Qualifying for the U.S. Open was the best thing I could have done for the business,” Cavaliere said. “I wasn’t going to try to qualify, but watching all my friends on the leaderboards, I wanted to compete. The fact that I get to play and I can play at a decent level is huge for my business.”
Golf is invariably a networking game and Cavaliere has used his connections to exponentially grow Tremont, whose custom product line is headlined by their leather golf club headcovers and also includes alignment sticks, yardage book covers, and more.
Eighteen months ago, Tremont was fulfilling one-off orders for individual customers. Twelve months ago, it started producing wholesale creations for around eight country clubs and college teams. Now they’re in over 70 pro shops nationwide and create gear for over 25 colleges.
“It’s been such an amazing ride and we’re growing like crazy,” Cavaliere said. “I never conceived beforehand how amazing the golf community is with everyone reaching out, saying ‘how can I help?’ ‘How can we get you into our pro shop?’ But the support has been awesome.”
Cavaliere’s impressive amateur career certainly helped him get some ins. The 25-year-old won the Westchester (N.Y.) Amateur championship three times, has qualified for five U.S. Amateur Championships, and was the low amateur at the 2019 New York State Open.
He went through local and sectional qualifying to earn his spot in the 2023 U.S. Open. Now he’s preparing for the 2023 U.S. Mid Amateur, an event that would garner him a 2024 U.S. Open invite and likely Masters invite if he wins.
“This event has been on my radar for a while,” Cavaliere said of the Mid-Am. “I’m playing well right now and I’m happy with where my game is at.”
That wasn’t the case two years ago. After a successful playing career at Boston College was cut short when the 2020 spring college golf season was canceled because of COVID, Cavaliere moved to Florida in 2021 to build his business and improve his game with the goal of turning pro.
While Tremont was thriving, his game was not. He didn’t suddenly get the yips or lose his swing. He just saw what it took to compete on the pro tours and didn’t believe his skills were there at the time.
That’s when Cavaliere made the decision to focus on Tremont and not a pro career.
“It was a very tough decision, though where my head was at and where my game was at, it didn’t feel like that hard of a decision then,” Cavaliere said. “I was very bummed on golf at that point. It wasn’t as hard then as it is now.”
Cavaliere missed the cut at the U.S. Open but is optimistic about his game. He doesn’t plan on turning pro any time soon and Tremont is his top priority, but he is open to the idea if the right circumstances coincide.
“If I get crazy hot I’ll give Q-school a shot, but it’s not on my radar right now,” Cavaliere said. “I’m playing for fun and playing to network and we’ll see where it takes me.”
It’s taken him a long way already, and his pro career in golf is just getting going, possibly both on the course and off it.