Umbrellas are good for three reasons: Massive. Advertising. Area. "The best part of the big umbrella is that it's an outdoor billboard," said Jeffrey Nanus, president of Northvale, New Jersey-based Rainmen USA/AAA Umbrella/Satchels. "So if you watch a golf event on television, you'll notice that the golf companies, when they put their logo on, they print their logo across multiple panels. Instead of having a 9" logo they'll have a 29" logo going across, like a big billboard."
But what if your client wants something without flashy colors or a huge company logo, for a corporate incentive program? No problem: Umbrellas offer a number of subtle customization options as well. "I've seen plenty of investment bankers who don't want to have their name flashy on the outside of the umbrella, they'll find very unique ways, subtle ways of branding," explained Nanus. "They'll put their logo on the Velcro closure on the outside. Or they'll put their logo as a medallion in the handle. Or they'll print their logo as a tonal print on the outside. Or in some cases they'll print their logo on the inside."
Pro Tips: Nanus noted that golf umbrellas have several features that set them apart from standard umbrellas, including a larger arc size (typically 62"), a more robust construction (fiberglass shafts, rubberized grips) and wind-venting technology. But he also explained that not all umbrellas marketed as golf umbrellas are created equal. "There's a huge difference between a true golf umbrella and what we'll call 'golf style'—so, something that might [just] look like a golf umbrella," Nanus said. "We sell golf-style umbrellas for a third of the price, that have steel shafts and much-less expensive components, that a real golfer probably wouldn't find acceptable."
If your client asks for a tournament-ready, tough-as-nails golf umbrella and you provide one that snaps in half at the first gust of wind, that's a problem. Know why your client needs the umbrella and plan accordingly. "I think it's very important for the distributor to know from their client how the end-user is going to use the product," Nanus advised. "If it's just an inexpensive giveaway then golf-style is the way to go. If it's something that will see the golf course, then you need a different type of product."