Chris Hale is a civil engineer who lost his job in the tight economy.
His wife, Ina, is an assistant teaching golf professional at the Skyline Country Club.
For years now, Ina has placed a ring on the middle knuckle of the index finger of a golf student's strong hand, forcing that individual to loosen his or her grip and more correctly swing the club.
"It's to de-emphasize the strong grip," Chris said. "Most golfers have a tendency to squeeze too hard. It causes a tendency to pick up with their dominant hand, instead of sweeping across."
Chris has been "inventing and sketching since the fourth grade." With the loss of employment, and with five children to feed, it was time to be bold.
"I like to create. She's a golfer. Boom, we melded them together."
Sketches were drawn and refined. Contact was made with manufacturers and marketers. They've dipped into savings. They've formed a company, Envisionade LLC.
From it all comes an invention and a product, Ina's Zing-Go golf grip aid, a Dynaflex rubber ring with two "wings" on either side that comfortably slides over that big knuckle. The effect is a looser grip, and a better swing.
The first 500 packaged Ina's Zing-Go golf grip aids, produced in Tucson, are now on the market. It's accompanied by two DVDs produced by Snap-It Photography, one a 15-minute piece that instructs a golfer in Ina's "cutting edge teaching method," a second, 45-minute DVD that emphasizes flexibility and muscle memory for a better golf game.
It's all available on line for $14.99.
"Ina had no idea how to produce it, but she had the concept," Chris said. "I was the perspiration, she was the inspiration.
"What you see here doesn't look like much," Chris said of the ring, but it is the result of hours of work. "It's a conglomeration of Ina and myself."
Ina Hale, who played on the LPGA Tour, "was a born golf instructor," her husband says. She's the LPGA director of girls golf in Tucson.
"I absolutely love teaching over any other aspect of golf," Ina said. "You go towards the things you love."
Ina wants players to enjoy what can be a frustrating game. "All I want to do is help that golfer have a good round of golf, and show them there's a way," Ina said.
The ring is a way, she believes.
"A lot of gripping aids have the same function, but they clip on, mechanically," Chris Hale said. Ina's Zing-Go can be worn "for the whole 18. You can throw it in the bag. It's very comfortable. And it truly does work."
Some Skyline members have tried Ina's Zing-Go, and they like it. She saw one member who finished his 18 holes, and "never took it off. It's going to lower their score, even if it's one stroke."
The Hales wanted to make their product in America, and they've found Tucson to be "very resourceful," Chris said. He located an injection mold company, Tucson Mold Inc., that was willing to "work with us."
"We wanted to stay in Tucson, maybe even create a few jobs," Ina said.
Why the name Zing-Go? "Most golfers, when the ball's struck correctly, it makes a swoosh and a crack, and it feels good," Chris said. "We asked 'how do we come up with a word?'" They arrived at "Zing-Go." "It gave it a little personality, too," he said.
Marketing is the next major challenge. "I'm not good at it," Chris allows. But he's working at it, figuring out ways to speak with retail chains and golf stores, and to get online.
The Hales and their five children, now ages 9 to 18, moved to Oro Valley from Wisconsin two years ago. "We love the sun," Chris said. "Ina said 'let's get back to the heat.'"
He had taken a job with a global transportation civil engineering firm in Tucson. Business was slow. "I knew the writing was on the wall," he said. He looked for other work, but the "market wasn't good.
"I thought 'maybe it's our destiny to go forward with something we've always wanted to do, out of the box, to be creative,'" he said. "We were brought out here for a reason, a purpose, so let's get this going and see what happens."
It has been an enlightening journey, humbling, sometimes scary, and they hope ultimately rewarding.
"We had to start with what we could afford," Ina said. "It can work unconventionally. You do with what you have. An investor would be great, but don't let that stop you. There's ways that you can do it."
If people have "an idea, a dream, take it one step at a time, and not look at the end result, because it's overwhelming," they should pursue it, Ina believes.
"We're not letting the hard times stop us from pursuing our dream," Chris said.
The website is www.zing-go.com. The phone number is 1-888-I-ZING-GO.