Promo Marketing's Golf Issue is a big deal every year. Though we like to think that's because you love our endless golf puns, deep down, we know it's because golf is just a big deal in the promotional products industry. With that in mind, we won't "bogey" you down with all of the golf jargon we Googled or the top 10 golf movies we IMDBed, and instead get right down to The Greatest Apparel Ever Worn. (Like The Greatest Game Ever Played, get it?) Here is what to look for in golf apparel, where to look for clients, when to sell and how to imprint the goods.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN SHIRTS:
According to Phillip Ambros, marketing for Sierra Pacific Apparel Group, Houston, Texas, 2013 is the year of the stripe. "Striped polo's are once again making a comeback," he said. "While they never go away completely, they do go through strong periods and now is the start of a new one."
Ambros mentioned that golf apparel is following the trend of most other promotional apparel—It's getting colorful. "We also see vibrant colors like yellow, orange, fuchsia and Kelly greens becoming strong sellers and a veer away from the pastels," he said.
Polyester may be the mainstay for wicking materials, but Ambros noted many end-buyers prefer cotton. "There has also been a movement back to cotton-based shirts after a heavy polyester saturation that last couple of years," he said. Cotton is particularly popular for golf shirts worn in the office instead of on the green. "We see a lot of 100 percent cotton stripes entering the retail world again specifically in the young-men-to-men range," Ambros said.
PGA TOUR TRENDS
If you're unsure of what your clients will be interested in for golf apparel, turn to professional golfers. Even if you're not a golf fan, you can tune into the games to see what Tiger Woods and the like are wearing. "If the pros are wearing certain styles, then yes, that will carry over into the retail markets," Ambros said.
"There has also been a trend toward the SPF properties that help protect you more during long stints in the sun," Ambros mentioned. New sunscreen regulations have led to an increase in sun damage awareness so golfers want to stay protected when they are outdoors all day.
You've heard this one many times before, but it is still the moist important element of golf shirts. "Moisture wicking materials benefit the players by pulling the moisture away from the body keeping them cool and looking fresh which is a great benefit," Ambros explained. "This helps them also become less fatigued during a match," he added.
Kate Souza, public relations specialist for Charles River Apparel, Sharon, Mass., mentioned breathable fabrics are top picks for golf promotions. "Anything lightweight, breathable and with raglan sleeves (for extended range of motion) are attractive properties for golf apparel," she said. "Also, easy care is a huge plus."
If your client doesn't want to outfit a golf tour in fuchsia or wants to keep a corporate promotion toned-down on the course and in the office, go with solid colors and stripes. "The easiest transition from the golf course to the office would have to be solid colors and clean stripe designs." Ambros said. Souza added button-downs as another classic office-to-course look. "Most button-down polos with a classic collar will work well both on and off the green," she said. "It has that clean, corporate look without being too formal."