In what could a a rocky year ahead in the golf business we look to identify a few brands that we expect to stay strong. Watch for upcoming stories in this series as we prepare to cover the 2009 PGA Merchandise Show at the end of January.
A couple years back, in 2006 I happened to be watching the U.S Open when a female friend with some golf knowledge wandered by the television. As Aussie Geoff Ogilvy raised the trophy I asked her “so what do you think of that?”. Her response? Not “that is great for Ogilvy” or even “what a win”, no – she simply said “finally, a guy that can pull off those smaller shirts and skinny pants!”
I laughed so hard I just about fell on the floor.
Really, though, she is bang on.
The world of golf fashion has changed dramatically through the years and the latest move to what has been titled “a more European styling” is just not for everyone. I can cite plenty of “just wrong” examples on the professional tours but I will save those golfers the embarrassment. You know who they are if you follow golf at all with your eyes open.
The other funny part about this has been the move by amateur golfers to emulate the stars of the game and their new approach to fashion. It seems the more outlandish the better. My only comment is that to really pull off the wild stuff (e.g. bright plaid pants or neon colored belts) you better have the game to back it up. Why draw attention to yourself as you hack your way to a big number? Your call, as always. Only you know what your level of comfort with critical attention is.
Which brings us back to Ogilvy. My friend was right – he CAN pull it off and I expect to see his clothing partner, PUMA, to ride his narrow shoulders to more golf market success.
While up and coming brands try to establish themselves in the competitive golf market, PUMA has a big advantage. People already like the brand and its products, simple as that. In an era when many stocks are plummeting, check PUMA’s listing on the German Stock exchange…nothing but rising.
It is for good reason. People adore the brand…they lap up their new offerings in a flurry. And with availability in more than 130 countries it spans the globe in a way new, young pretender brands can only aspire to.
That makes Geoff Ogilvy a great choice as an ambassador. A world-wide player, the Aussie recently picked up a win at the Australian PGA (in full PUMA gear including Swing GTX shoes) and it follows massive trophy captures in the 2006 US Open and two World Golf Championships. He is also well-liked, well-spoken and dammit, he can flat out play.
As 2009 rises and the economy threatens to doom some golf companies, look for PUMA’s golf market share to grow. Their 2008 line proved they can compete and I expect their booth at the 2009 PGA Merchandise Show to be even busier than last years.
Congrats to Ogilvy on the recent win and I can’t wait to see what PUMA will have to offer all golfers in the days to come…