PGA Show blog: The world of fashion
Creamer makes Sundogs even more easy on the eyes
Mid-morning Saturday, the lines curved around three sides of the Sundog eyewear booth as Paula Creamer greeted fans and signed autographs. The LPGA superstar not only wears the technologically advanced sunglasses, but, together with creative director Michal Hrk, is very hands-on with the design process.
PGA Show 2012: Day 2, in pictures
Images from the second day of the PGA Merchandise Show at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
Given Creamer’s pink wardrobe, one might assume that her designs would be heavily rose-colored. Instead, her personality shows through in other ways. On the “Iconic” style, details of her life are etched into the earpieces (there is a Pink Panther, a queen of hearts design and flowers and vines).
“Kind of her own personal story,” Gary Makar, Sundog marketing director explained.
The Creamer line, which features six new models for 2012, is heavy in aviator styles that Creamer became interested in designing before she was scheduled to take a ride with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds in September 2010. It’s a style she frequently sports on the course.
Creamer has been with the company since 2006, and other Sundog players include Louis Oosthuizen, Pablo Larrazabal and Mike Weir. Sundog is notable for its Mela-lens (short for melanin lens) technology, which provides both eye protection and accurate color contrast. Makar said this type of lens is easy on the eyes, thus cutting down on eye fatigue during long days outdoors.
“Your eyes don’t have to work as hard,” he said. “Golfers love it.”
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A different breed
The fabrics included in the new Uniting Futures Legends (UFL) line include, among other things, bamboo charcoal, coffee yarn and recycled plastic bottles.
UFL, which already has become a mainstay in Asian markets with its European street style and vibrant colors, will debut in the U.S. later this fall when it launches a full line of outerwear, including the first 100-percent waterproof, microfiber polyester pullover.
Don’t believe it? To demonstrate, Tine Beez, the designer of UFL, poured a few ounces of water on the hooded sweatshirt, which was held horizontally. We watched, in amazement, as the water glided along the fabric and then fell to the floor -- completely water-repellent.
Two other items to note:
• The environmentally friendly Greenplus fabric, designed to offer greater range of motion and durability, is produced in an eight-step process from recycled plastic bottles.
• The bamboo charcoal fabric is eco-friendly and antibacterial, which offers UV protection, hides odors and allows for quick drying.
- Ryan Lavner
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Kartel to introduce G-Mac line in July
About this time a year ago, Graeme McDowell saw Padraig Harrington in the locker room at a PGA European Tour event and had a peculiar observation: “Paddy, seems we’ve got on the same jumper today.”
“No, I don’t think so, lad,” Harrington replied.
McDowell couldn’t shake the look. He wanted that style on the course. So, a few months later, McDowell began buying cashmere sweaters from Kartel himself and wearing them at events.
Now, some 12 months after McDowell’s initial run-in with Harrington, Kartel unveiled the new G-Mac line that is set to hit stores in the U.S. on July 1.
“It’s his own style, his taste, fully coordinated,” said Karl Swan, managing director at John Swan Ltd, which owns and distributes Kartel.
Naturally, McDowell was extremely active in the development process of the G-Mac line, offering input on everything from the depth of the buttons to stitching to pockets. The overall look is simple, classic, elegant.
“He was very fastidious, and he had a huge part to play in it,” Swan said. “He has a passion to do it right. He’s doing this because he loves the product.”
- Ryan Lavner
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Loosen up with Honest Gear Golf
The people at Honest Gear Golf don’t like to take the game -- or themselves -- too seriously. That’s why 11 years ago, the foursome who used to work for The Onion transitioned into the golf business and began designing golf accessories that portray the game a little differently.
The Bogey Pro line is not the kind of thing a scratch golfer will wear to the course for a Saturday morning outing. Ryan Walther, one of the four co-founders, uses the words “tongue in cheek” to describe the shirts colleague Angie Sowieja pulls off the racks at the company’s Show booth. The first pair feature intricately drawn diagrams of how to break a club and toss a bag. Then there’s the Plain White Tee, which as you can probably guess ... features a plain white tee.
It’s hard not to respect Honest Gear Golf’s mission, or at least look at it with a laugh.
“We aim to bring some levity to this ancient sport,” their pamphlet proclaims. “After all, the trials and tribulations encountered in the game of golf have reduced men to tears.”
Most of this lighthearted gear is available in pro shops, but it also is popping up in Golf Warehouses on the East Coast. The company also is pairing up with golf funny man David Feherty to shoot a series of comical commercials featuring bogus training aides.
Like the clothing lines, they’re sure to bring a smile to the long-suffering golfer’s face.
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Swiftwick achieves a whole new level of comfort
Swiftwick socks only appeared on the golf circuit about a year and a half ago, but they aren’t a new product in the running and cycling worlds. In fact, at the Swiftwick booth, sales people talk of their own escapades with ultra running and marathoning. It’s saying something that these individuals also recognize what many others won’t: Golf is an endurance sport.
“Now socks are an important piece of equipment,” Matt Hawkins says as he pulls pairs off the rack to demonstrate the elasticity of these super-fitted compression socks that discourage sock-eating-shoe syndrome. They come in long and short styles, and the second-skin quality won’t lose its shape over time.
Swiftwicks is based in Brentwood, Tenn., and their products are manufactured there. The socks are made without moisture-wicking chemicals - instead they feature a fiber called olefin, which improves breathability. A sculpted footbed helps prevent blisters.
Hawkins said more than 30 PGA Tour players now wear Swiftwick socks, and they’re also in the therapy trailors at PGA and LPGA events. I spotted former Georgia player Hudson Swafford across the racks while chatting with Hawkins. It’s not surprising that many players - and their caddies - live in Swiftwicks.
“They make their livelihood on their feet,” Hawkins reasoned.
– Julie Williams
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Butthead designs. 'Nuff said.
Chip Burley put six bunny tail head covers into an Easter basket and tried to sell them at his home club in Arizona. Nothing says Easter like the backside of a bunny, right? The head pro turned him down.
“He said ‘I won’t have the name Butthead in my pro shop,’ ” Burley said. So Burley and co-owner D.J. Langer, who purchased Butthead in March 2009, decided to change the name of their newly acquired company to AB Golf Designs.
They still sell 86 different Butthead designs (the backside of a baboon is the top-seller). But they’ve since branched out. Last November, Fred Couples chose their classic leather head cover for his Presidents Cup team. And in September, Rosie Jones outfitted Team USA with a boxing glove cover that sports the American flag. When the weather in Ireland turned especially nasty on Sunday, Jones used those head covers as hand-warmers.
On Friday at the PGA Merchandise Show, Na Yeon Choi stopped by the booth and picked up a glove with the South Korean flag as well as one shaped like a heart. She plans to use both in Thailand. Maria Hjorth, who brought her daughter by the booth, has a custom-made glove with the Swedish flag. The patriotic gloves retail for $25.
Consumers also can purchase a leather head cover that’s similar to what the U.S. team used in Australia, minus the President’s Cup logo. A set of four leather head covers runs between $199-265.
- Beth Ann Baldry
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Can’t keep your head down? Try Eagle I
Keep your head down. It’s a directive that’s easier said than done during the golf swing. Yours truly can identify with that problem, and the solution is exceptionally simple, if you don’t mind looking like Geordi La Forge for a couple of range sessions.
The Eagle I (as in, eagle eye) is a mid-iron trainer that looks like something from a science fiction movie. The large pair of wrap-around sunglasses features slim vertical cut-outs over the eyes with removable rubber plugs. Upon finding your dominant eye (form a triangle with your hands and focus on an object with both eyes open, then alternately close each eye -- the one that, when open, leaves the object unmoved is your dominant eye), remove the plug in front of that eye.
The rest of the drill is as easy as it sounds. If your head moves significantly off the ball, it will disappear from your vision. The device gives immediate feedback and build muscle memory.
Eagle I is Korean designed and engineered, and the current, ergonomically friendly design is a result of roughly 30 previous prototypes. The original design was made by a Korean engineer who placed post-its on the side of his face to achieve a similar goal. That eventually evolved into the sunglass model.
Eagle I is a tool aimed more at beginners than low handicappers, and the company has introduced the glasses, with success, to some First Tee groups.
– Julie Williams
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Crocs are more than just a walking clog
It's hard to believe, but come this July, Crocs will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. It seems like just yesterday that the funny looking rubber shoes with holes in them were the shoes that everyone had to have. Oh how the times have changed since Crocs introduced its Iconic Clog to the world.
Crocs now has over 250 styles to choose from, and one of those new styles is the Crocs Golf line with Hank Haney. The company's golf line officially launched day one of the PGA Merchandise Show, but won't be available until April 15th. A fall line will be released as well, but that date is to be determined.
Still, most people have been unaware that Crocs offers more than just the walking clog that was first introduced nearly ten years ago now.
"The success of the clog was the best thing and worst thing for us," Crocs public relations manager Shelly Weibel said. "For so long the first thing that came to mind to consumers about us was our clog, but now it's time to get consumers aware of our other styles."
Some things are still the same: each shoe weighs about seven ounces, is comfortable, and is made from the company's own Croslite material that gives each pair of shoes their soft and odor resistant qualities. The difference between the original old clog and the new lines appears to be a complete 180 degree shift. Crocs now offers boots, casual shoes, dress shoes, sandals, flip flops, loafers, sneakers and now a golf line.
"This shoe is really for a weekend warrior" Weibel said. "We want the golfer that wants to hop in their car and play a round comfortably on the course, but then have a shoe they can be comfortable in after the round and for their drive home."
The golf line is both comfortable and catchy to the eye. The shoe appears to have the same characteristics one comes to expect when wearing Crocs, but the clog look is out, and a fresh, new and modern look is in.
When asked if Crocs is going to slow down on so many different designs company CEO John McCarmel replied, "Can't do it. We want to be globally known, and to do that you have to continue to go with the trends and give people what they want."
Over the last few years several companies have tried to mimic Crocs' design and feel, but after trying them on today they are still their own unique feel that people have come to enjoy and be comfortable in.
Currently, Crocs still gets about 45% of their yearly revenue from their original "Iconic Clog". With the new Crocs Golf with Hank Haney line the company hopes to tap into a market with an appeal of light, comfortable, and familiar feel that millions of people have already come to expect from their products.
Some people may not be too familiar with several of the other Crocs lines, but this golf line looks to have the potential for success. The Crocs name has become a household name for comfort, but we'll have to wait and see if their success from a clog ten years ago can translate to a successful golf shoe for the course in 2012.
- Asher Wildman