A Guide to Selling Custom Golf Apparel
While the 2016 Summer Olympics, which returned golf to the international competition after a 112-year hiatus, helped to give the sport global acclaim, Americans have long loved the game. Though a 2015 National Golf Foundation report showed that the number of courses in this country has declined to 15,372 from a peak of 16,052, the Land of the Free still inspires many citizens to go clubbing. With 45 percent of the world’s total courses, the U.S. will never disappoint those looking to make business links when hitting the links.
Displaying skill certainly plays a part in the overall enjoyment of a round or a tournament, but looking dapper or dazzling also will help end-users to stitch together an amazing experience. Whether clients want their wardrobe to take on a life of its own—like the attire donned over the years by professionals such as Paula Creamer, Minjee Lee, Chi Chi Rodriguez or Payne Stewart—or they prefer appealing apparel to reflect their vibrant personalities, distributors should get into, and remain in, the swing of evolving constantly. Promo Marketing felt joy akin to hitting a hole-in-one after connecting with Eric Rubin, president of Blue Generation, Long Island City, N.Y.; and Jamie Allen, marketing director for HTT Apparel, Murrieta, Calif., for their thoughts on selling custom golf apparel for promotions.
People perpetually proclaim that children are impressionable, but adults, especially with regards to golf, regularly reveal how receptive they are to recreational opportunities, too. Though Scotland can claim credit for modernizing the pastime, the U.S. has become the major player in promoting its prowess.
“It is a wonderful way to enjoy a day outside in a social situation with friends, and, of course, there’s the challenge of the sport,” Rubin said of enjoying the diversion that his third-generation, family-owned business has saluted since the early 1960s.
With about 24 million golfers throughout the country, per a National Golf Foundation study, suppliers and distributors have ample opportunities to lure birdie seekers and camaraderie coveters to their products, especially custom golf apparel. Despite dips in the amount of club-happy individuals, with 6 million fewer people playing now than in the peak year of 2003, consumers have not strayed from stoking their curiosity over how to better their strokes and appearance when among colleagues and/or relatives.
“Consumers are much more equipped nowadays,” Allen said of looking the part when experiencing an exciting excursion. “They expect and desire a lower cost and flexibility in design and quality and a fast turnaround time, and that is something we took into account when we started our FSP brand, which has semi-custom and complete custom options with apparel and headwear that offer unique pieces that fit our customers’ needs and wants.”
Since its 1991 inception, HTT Apparel has valued the sport as not only a boost to one’s confidence through the accumulation of low scores, but also as a keen means to gauge practitioners’ preferences.
Blue Generation and HTT Apparel, owing to their industry distinction, have tracked trends throughout the years, with Rubin and Allen eager to reflect on changes and the inspirations behind them. While the technology surrounding equipment deserves discussion, how weekend warriors and more engrossed club-wielders adorn themselves in custom golf apparel makes for a fascinating look at media’s far-ranging reach.
“Golf fashion has changed dramatically through the years,” Rubin said. “Most recently, with the advances in textile technology, we have seen a shift from cotton to moisture-wicking polyester fabrics that whisk away moisture, keeping you cool and comfortable all through the day.” That deepened appreciation for the composition of clothing, he added, comes directly through observations of professional golfers’ wardrobe choices, with Allen allowing that the allure of tour members’ choices has kept peddling golf apparel a lucrative endeavor.
“The golf industry used to be fairly conservative, and now you see some pretty wild colors and patterns on the course,” she said. “[Going forward,] I would say that you shouldn’t be afraid to show your customer something out of the ordinary. Go crazy with color.”
Allen stressed, though, that end-users’ diversity means that nobody should apply sweeping generalizations over how to approach successful custom golf apparel sales. Therefore, flexibility and an inquisitive nature will benefit those who wish to avoid receiving subpar responses to product lines.
Due to the global popularity of the game, golf promises to enjoy great standing among its fans for generations to come. The media’s treatment of particular players as ever-engaging stars drives home the point that attention to their attire will put distributors in a position to have end-users wearing their products as they drive toward the cup.
Donning duds that show their business also has room for pleasure, the aforesaid LPGA standouts and men’s tour champions Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson are fashionable successors to the likes of Stewart and Rodriguez, the former known for his knickers and the latter for Panama hats.
“It’s like a runway on the greens,” Allen quipped. “Everyone wants to see the next outfit or style that the leaders in golf are wearing on the courses.”
Golf is always a big seller, but suppliers, manufacturers and distributors should take nothing for granted. In other words, though the game features “gimme” shots, when players presume close putts are givens, marketing custom golf apparel does not always have such ease to it. While people can wax philosophical about how to dress golfers, Rubin, reverent of the game’s longstanding reputation, said nothing beats observation when plotting how to stay relevant.
“Simply stated, people love to play golf,” he said. “… Being that it is such a huge sport, our industry caters to it quite thoroughly.”
“Suppliers should be always looking for new techniques, fabrics and up-to-date styles for both headwear and apparel,” Allen advised. “Everyone involved in selling apparel in this industry should always pay attention to what is happening on the course.”
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