Richard Crouse – inventor of the Brush-T – has died in Johannesburg of a suspected heart attack, he shot to fame in his native South Africa in the late 1960s as lead guitarist in one of the country’s most productive and chart-topping bands The Staccatos. Drawing on the inspiration of rock giants such as Chicken Shack and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, the band blazed a trail that was later used by the likes of Clout, Ladysmith Black Mambaso, Trevor Rabin of Yes and Johnny Clegg.
After marrying singer Wanda Arletti in 1971 he emigrated to London and established Trax Studios in west London, a studio where he worked with Paul McCartney, the Eurythmics, Randy Crawford, Sham 69, Peter Gabriel and others.
With a family of two children he and Wanda returned to South Africa where he founded an industrial galvanizing concern and increased the family with four further children. He joked that, had he retained the west London property he would have earned £2 million by doing absolutely nothing.
The golf bug hit him in the ‘70s and as Richard’s passion for the game took a hold he scribbled the first Brush-T prototype on the back of a cigarette packet, based on the principle of how great the feeling was of hitting golf balls off kikuyu grass – the most commonplace kind of lawn found in South Africa.
Years later, his eldest son Jason found the scribblings while reading Design at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). So taken with the idea, Jason left university to make the bristled tee a reality.
In 2000 the first products were manufactured, and Richard and Jason took it around the world… literally. Five days after exhibiting at the PGA Golf Show in Orlando 2002, Brush-T had inked distribution deals on all five continents and Brush-T went global.
Father and son saw true success in the most perverse fashion, when – within the first 6 months of Brush-T being made available – illegal copies began appearing all over the world. Seeing this as ‘the sincerest form of flattery’, the Crouses knew they had a winning product on their hands.
In 2006, via Brush-T’s North American subsidiary, the product is steadily becoming one of the most desirable and important golf accessories in the USA, taking the country by storm – state by state.
Richard is survived by his widow Wanda and children Jacqui, Jason, Raffi, Nicholas, Phillip and Andrew. In his life, his greatest loves were his family, golf and the Blues.