It's Easy Being Green
Vantage Apparel began incorporating the garments into its line in 1977. “The company’s first product offering had golf-appropriate knit placket shirts. The offering was somewhat limited, but included a basic pique and a basic interlock style,” explained Gina Barreca, director of marketing.
Basic golf shirts are still a stable promotional category, but those stocked with performance features make the items more attractive to end-users, and can imply the luxury generally associated with a golfing lifestyle. Barreca stated, “Performance fabrics are still the biggest story in apparel and make for some of the most interesting and value-added garments.” Anderson also contended that industry growth is in performance shirts. Both River’s End Trading and Vantage Apparel have added performance features to their apparel offerings. “We added an entire line of UV-protective sportswear last spring called SOLAR Shield,” said Anderson. “This line offers several golf shirts for both men and women with UPF sun protection, moisture-wicking and easy-care fabric.”
Vantage Apparel recently added moisture management technology to its Vansport line. “The performance line consists of basic and luxury knits, windshirts, jackets and even headwear,” explained Barreca. “We also introduced a convertible wind jacket/vest for ladies that has received excellent market reviews. It features a zip-off cape back, water- and wind-resistant fabric, a mesh lining and sporty side blocking.”
Bells and whistles aside, the sport’s association with business certainly contributes to the apparel’s continued success as a promotional product. “Golf tournaments are still one of the biggest events in corporate America,” said Anderson, “whether it be for an employee event, a customer appreciation event or a sales meeting. Golf is one of America’s favorite pastimes and everyone can participate. It’s great for groups, and for both men and women.”
Even as its popularity increases, golf is vastly more popular with men than it is with women. Of the NGF’s estimated 12.5 million golfers, 2.3 million are female. How does a company keep its female clients happy with golf gear if the number of women picking up the game is dramatically lower than that of their male counterparts? Both Anderson and Barreca stressed the apparel’s shift from merely athletic function to a lifestyle and fashion trend as the factor keeping most female end-users satisfied.