SUNAPEE — Cortland Begor and his brothers grew up with two family hobbies: playing lacrosse and making all kinds of things at their father's wood shop.
Last year, he decided to mix the two hobbies, making his own wooden lacrosse shafts for the sticks he plays with.
"My brothers and I started making them. We were good in my father's wood shop, and we were good at lacrosse, and we figured combining the two would be fun," said Begor, 19.
The senior at Proctor Academy in Andover, where he plays lacrosse, is about to become a freshman at Dartmouth College in Hanover, and he is looking at business as a major.
Begor enters college with a thriving business in hand. Last fall, he launched TimberStix Lacrosse, a small company manufacturing NCAA-approved wooden lacrosse stick shafts, made of ash from local trees.
He has sold about 600 of the sticks to lacrosse players at college and pro levels, and he plans to keep his business going.
"My goal is to actually make a mark in the lacrosse world with wooden shafts," he said. "It seems there is something appealing about unique, hand-crafted wooden lacrosse shafts, and I've found a demand for it."
Before the 1970s, lacrosse sticks were made of wood, but they have been replaced by plastic-shaft sticks, the favorite of most college and professional lacrosse players.
Wooden shafts provide a different feel, and some say they provide more torque when throwing or shooting the ball.
"They provide a different feel, a more traditional feel. They're very good shafts that make very good sticks," said Kodiak "Grizzly" Adams of Carmel, Calif., the owner of a Timberstix Lacrosse stick.
"It's like with a hockey stick. It's a matter of preference, but I really like the wooden shafts. It's a better feel," said Adams, a varsity lacrosse player at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro who will be playing Division 1 lacrosse at Towson State next fall.
There are several lacrosse stick manufacturers who offer wooden shaft sticks. Begor knows that, as the manufacturers started calling him last fall about purchasing his shafts, which cost $37.99 each.
"While I was in my classes this year, I've been taking business calls from manufacturers, product ambassadors, and other clients," he said. "Business has been very good."
He hopes to continue his business while studying at Dartmouth.
"The majority of sticks out there have metal shafts, but my goal is to change that," he said.