How to Stand Out in Promotional Golf Apparel
It’s been a big year for golf apparel. Adidas launched its adicross urban-inspired golf collection, designed to seamlessly transition golf apparel into streetwear. Bill Murray launched his William Murray golf apparel collection, which became a viral sensation. And Nike released its new Air Jordan 1 Golf Premium shoe. Not only does golf continue to draw prospective players of all ages to the green, but now it’s driving change in the fashion world. For distributors looking to take advantage of trending and prosperous promotional golf apparel, we interviewed two experts on how to make a hole-in-one golf apparel promotion.
No longer are tech upgrades restricted to your iPhone’s camera. In the promotional golf apparel world, end-users continue to demand technical features to take their golf game to the next level. “Performance fabrics that are lightweight and comfortable to wear [are in demand],” said Jeff Stevens, owner of Portland-based WesCo Marketing, which represents Tri-Mountain, Irwindale, Calif. “Usually, [the performance fabrics] have features like moisture-wicking, antimicrobial treatments and solar protection.”
Brad Moxley, business development manager for Cutter & Buck, Seattle, agreed that performance features are a must for your next promotion, and revealed that all of Cutter & Buck’s top-selling apparel items are made from performance fabrics.
Swing For Style
Equally as important as your golf apparel’s technical features are the styles you present to the client. Now that end-users are looking for apparel they can sport on and off the green, it’s time to present new versatile options.
“Our fastest-growing category in the promotional channel is performance over-knits—quarter-zips and full-zips made from lightweight performance fabrics,” said Moxley. “The lines between what is acceptable to wear on the course and what is acceptable to wear in the office have blurred. And corporate America is wearing more performance over-knits, both in the office and on the course.
“This is such a versatile item—it can be worn over a nice woven shirt with slacks in the office, it can be worn over a polo and shorts on the golf course, and it can even be worn over a T-shirt with jeans on the weekend,” he continued. “The versatility has allowed our sporty over-knits to catch on strong in the promotional golf apparel segment.”
Go Beyond Green
With golf apparel drawing inspiration from retail trends, end-users are looking for their favorite golf apparel looks in fashion-forward hues and patterns, too. “Heathered colors and ombre patterns help to break up the monotony of solid colors,” suggested Stevens.
Moxley provided a few more colors trending for spring. “We are seeing a rising trend with bright/neon colors in the golf market,” he said. “Our upcoming Spring 2018 golf collection features strong neon orange and bright blue hues that pair well together and make a bold statement for the wearer. We also are seeing a trend in unique plaids and stripe patterns that are much more elaborate and challenge our perfection of ‘classic golf apparel.’”
Decorate to Accentuate
When it comes to promotional golf apparel, your product is only as good as your client’s logo. Thankfully, golf products make great canvases for all sorts of decoration options.
“Embroidery is still the most popular decoration method for our golf apparel because it looks great on any product and allows the logo to have some depth,” said Moxley. “However, now that lightweight performance fabrics are taking over, heat transfer has become a very popular decoration method, as well. Some of the most high-tech performance fabrics are incredibly thin, which can be difficult to embroider without puckering around the logo.
“Heat transfer solves this issue, while also presenting the logo in a way that allows exceptional detail,” he continued. “We have had a ton of positive feedback from a new method of displaying long text logos by heat transferring the text down the sleeve with a clear heat transfer paper, which results in a subtle tonal logo down the sleeve that really shines on the performance fabrics.”
Stevens suggested laser-etching and borderless heat transfer for their weightless decoration capabilities, but pointed out that borderless heat transfer is also full-color and detailed. He also offered a few pointers for logo placement.
“The sleeve, shoulder and yoke are great locations for more subtle logo placement, and encourage the likelihood the end-recipient will wear the garment beyond the golf course, thus gaining advertising exposure, which is the ultimate goal,” he said. “We’ve also done laser-etching on the collar of a polo. With a simple logo or branding mark, this looks really sharp.”
Make The Sale
Once you’re ready to pitch prospective clients on your on-trend, versatile golf apparel offerings, our experts provided some tips on how to close the sale.
“Instead of going right to the best-selling or most popular items from each supplier, dive deep into your supplier’s product selection and find unique items that stand out,” said Moxley. “I consistently see the same styles being promoted by distributors and I know they could get a better response by offering something different than the rest of the pack.”
For Stevens, he has opened sales doors by offering ladies’ companion styles and showing layering options, like long-sleeve shirts, pullovers, jackets and headwear, even if the client hasn’t asked to see these options.
Finally, Moxley suggested a simple tactic to ace your promotional golf apparel pitch: “Don’t focus too much on the brand—just go with the coolest styles.”
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