Q&A: Buff designer Vaughn Cochrane

Martin Kaymer of Germany pulls his buff over his face as snow falls while playing Luke Donald of England in the finals of the Match Play Championship golf tournament Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, in Marana, Ariz.

We’re most likely to comment on the typical items of golf wear on this blog – pants, polos, skirts, gloves. But Martin Kaymer caught our eye during the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tuscon, Ariz., with something different – neckwear.

No, not a tie. Kaymer played wearing a Buff around his neck.

The man behind the Buff is artist and avid fly fisherman Vaughn Cochran. We flooded him with emails, phone calls and Facebook messages – and finally got a chance to chat with the man who could be behind the next big trend in golf – the Buff.

Tell us about yourself, the company and how overwhelming it has been to see the Buff burst on the golf scene.

I’m an artist, fly fisherman, designer and entrepreneur. My company is Black Fly Outfitter.

I’m also an owner of the Black Fly Bonefish Club in Abaco, Bahamas, and I’m a fly fishing consultant for the Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts in Bimini, Bahamas. I am a designer for the Buff company and the Buff that Martin Kaymer wore was my Black Fly Buff.

Buff was invented more than 20 years ago in Spain and the product has been in the fly-fishing market for a little more than 5 years. I saw an opportunity to merge my artwork with the Buff and it has been very successful. Black Fly represents the adventurous lifestyle of fly fishing and the Black Fly Buff is just one of the quality products that we license.

Have you been bombarded with orders? How many have you sold since the golf debut?

Our website started taking orders on Saturday afternoon during the Accenture Match Play Tournament and they continued through the night and through the next day’s match. At one point we were receiving an order every 30 seconds and the volume nearly crashed our site. Fortunately, we have a good team and we made changes to accommodate the traffic.

Our company has been overwhelmed with orders because we do not usually keep 500 Black Fly Buffs in stock. Mostly the surprise has been all of the nice people we have met through the process of filling orders. Everyone has congratulated us on our success.

How has this changed the business or your life?

The introduction of the Black Fly Buff into the golf world has been incredible exposure for the Black Fly company and has given us the chance to tell the story of Vaughn Cochran the artist, fishing conservation and how fly fishing and golf are so similar in concept.

Have you been in touch with Kaymer yet?

I have spoken with Martin’s manager, Jens Beck, and had a good laugh about all of the attention the Black Fly Buff has gotten. They are very gracious and I look forward to meeting them on a golf course pond for fly casting lessons.

Do you plan on launching a golf collection now that you are famous on the fairways?

The Buff company has already begun to ramp up designs for the golf community.

Did you hear from the store where Kaymer purchased the Buff? How did you thank them?

Actually, Martin’s coach, Fanny Sunesson, was the person responsible for encouraging him to try a Buff. She is already a Buff fan and has used them for many years. Women love them as they are so practical and there are so many ways to wear them.

Tell us about the Buff itself. What is it made of to keep you warm and why do fly fisherman use them?

The Buff is a seamless 20-inch tube of patented polyester CoolMax Fabric, that is woven to protect you from UVA and UVB rays. The high-tech fabric wicks away moisture from your skin to the outer layer of the fabric and keeps your skin cool and dry during the hottest days. It also is a great neck warmer, as we have all seen, and Buff makes several models of the Polar Tech Buff. There are several Black Fly Polar Tech Buffs as well.

In fly fishing, Buffs are worn to protect the anglers from the sun. The Buff is pulled down over your head and then pulled back up to cover your neck and ears. When facing the sun you would pull the Buff up over your nose to completely cover your face except for your sunglasses.

In your current stock what sort of patterns and styles do you carry?

Currently there are 10 Vaughn Cochran designs that make up the Black Fly Angler Series. There are two Black Fly Polartec Buffs. The Buff company has an extensive catalog of designs and designers.

What’s next for Vaughn Cochran?

I will continue to paint and work in my studio and fly fish as much as possible. I am always looking for exciting new things to be involved in and I continually pursue new ideas in art. My wife, Jean, and I will continue to contribute to the community and our favorite charities through donations of our time and art.

How do we get our hands on a Buff?

Our Web site is www.blackflyoutfitter.com. Our company is Vaughn Cochran’s Black Fly Outfitter in Jacksonville, Fla., and our phone number is (904) 997-2220.

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