It’s the busiest time of year for recruiting news. Get caught up right here, right now by visiting LaxLessons.com’s groundbreaking, imitated, but never duplicated Lacrosse Insider. It’s the No. 1 source and unparalleled leader for recruiting news, analysis and information in the NY/NJ/CT tristate hotspot and the entire lax galaxy, featuring nationally respected, award-winning multimedia director, manager, producer and editor Joe Lombardi, the author of the latest edition of “Lacrosse for Dummies.” Access Insider here.
Dartmouth freshman Cortland Begor holds one of his TimberStix wood shafts with a rather picturesque backdrop.
For Cortland Begor, the genesis for what would eventually become TimberStix Lacrosse was as simple and natural as the actual ash wood shafts the company makes.
“I have been doing woodworking my entire life and learned it all from my grandfather and my father,” said Begor, the founder and CEO of TimberStix. “My brother (Chase) and I started making wooden shafts about 10 years ago just for fun.”
Then, the two brothers teamed up with oldest brother and Dartmouth grad Wills Begor and their father, Mark Begor, to get things started.
“I would make a couple a year and give them to friends and people started to like them, so we made more,” Cortland said. “We then stopped for about four years which then picked up where I started the company.”
That was late in Begor’s junior year at Proctor Academy in New Hampshire, where he graduated this past spring after a standout varsity lacrosse career (photo at left).
“I launched TimberStix Lacrosse in response to demand from fellow lacrosse players,” Begor said. “It seems there is something appealing about unique, hand crafted wooden lacrosse shafts. The company started because there was a demand, but more simply, because of my passion for lacrosse, woodworking and entrepreneurialism.”
Begor, who is a native of Wilton, Conn., describes running his own growing company as a teenager as “fun.” And yes, he did start his entrepreneurial ways as a child with his own lemonade stand. Now, years later, he said he has no intention of slowing things down even though he will be starting his freshman year at Dartmouth, where he hopes to walk on to the lacrosse team.
“I wanted to create the best possible lacrosse shaft, something that was flexible and tougher than the generic metal and composite lacrosse shafts,” Begor said. “Being a woodworker, I knew I could make a high-performance wooden shaft just the way I wanted it and with my own unique branding. That’s just what I did.”
Wood shafts are legal to use at all levels of lacrosse — boys and girls, men’s and women’s. But the percentage of wood shafts used is relatively small. Begor hopes to change that and has played the role of ambassador for the wood shaft in the process.
One of the players he introduced it to is, fittingly, a well-known Woodstick Classic participant, Garden City HS (NY) 2013 graduate Justin Guterding, who played this past spring at Salisbury School (CT) and who is now a freshman at Duke.
“Justin loved it,” Begor said. “He used it the whole summer.”
But because of an equipment sponsorship contract, Duke players are not able to use wood shafts.
“That is an issue we have encountered with college players,” Begor said, noting former Darien (CT) star and current Duke player Case Matheis also tried out the wood shaft and liked it.
For more on TimberStix, visit TimberStixLacrosse.com, and now, here’s a Q&A with Cortland.
How did the idea for TimberStix come about?
It was spring of my junior year after I had finished taking AP Economics and had finished four years of varsity lacrosse. I started to actually see the advantages to my product and have always been an entrepreneur so I just went for it. Learned along the way had tons of help form teachers and just and fun with it. I knew i wanted to start a company that was fun young and could take the market over.
I and players form all over the U.S. interested in the product and we just kept growing. It has been over a year now and we have our website steadily going and just finished a very successful summer of traveling to different lacrosse tournaments. We had almost 15 different division one players playing with our shaft this summer including teams like Syracuse, Duke, Hopkins, Georgetown, Virginia and many others. So it was a fun summer having players like that interested in the product as well as becoming a part of the company!
How did you go about putting your idea into action and forming an actual company?
I asked for help. My dad and brothers are all in business and are very knowledgeable so I learned a lot from them but also had about 5 different teachers at Proctor Academy helping em out in different aspects of the company.
My biggest help was the CFO of Proctor who I actually started a class called entrepreneurship with.
I also just called CEOs and business owners from lacrosse companies to meat packing companies just to be able to learn what ever I could about business and starting a company.
What are the day-to-day operations of the company like and how are you able to stay on top of things with the time commitments of being a student and player?
It is difficult to keep it all going especially during the school year. I would put in around three hours a day working on the company, whether that was making shafts, talking to sponsored players, working on wholesale deals or working on marketing.
There is a lot more to a company than you think there is. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it. I loved getting my other work done and having the ability to spend more time on my company because it was fun. It was calling guys at Duke or Deerfield and talking about a new product. It’s exciting when others are interested as well.
I remember the practice before our biggest game agains Phillips Exeter. I had a Duke player’s dad coming by to pick up a few shafts so they could try them out before their BU game, so I quickly ran to my dorm room, grabbed the shafts and some shirts, gave them to the dad and hopped right back into practice. It’s fun that I am technically always working and not everyone knows I was a high school student, so I just go along with it.
How challenging will it be running TimberStix and being a college student?
It will be much more difficult to run the company, but it’s good having a challenge and I will be open to a whole different community that I will find more kids and teachers willing to help.
When were you introduced to lacrosse and what is it about the game that has made you so passionate about it?
I was introduced to lacrosse when my brothers started playing lacrosse. I always looked up to my brothers and always wanted to do what they did but better. They started playing at age 4, and so did I, but I had the advantage to watch them since I was born. I was able to watch every move they did.
I was the water boy for our high school team that they played on up until my eighth-grade year when my brother graduated the year before and I made the varsity team my eighth-grade year. I loved the game because my brothers did. I enjoyed watching them and then trying to mimic what they did on the field and that is why I excelled as a young boy because I would be going up against them in the backyard.
Once I switched to playing wood my sophomore year and talked with a lot of the older players and understood the spirit of the game, lacrosse had a different place to me and I started playing a little different.
* Begor’s talents go beyond business and lacrosse. He completed the Ice Bucket Challenge while wakesurfing in a video posted on LaxLessons.com.
Get in the Zone: The HS Zone
Be a Lacrosse Insider
Apps for iPhone/iPad
Connect with us
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Be sure to sign up for our free online newsletter. Just enter your email address on the “Receive Our Newsletter” link on the homepage of LaxLessons.com.