Top trends from the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show

 Julie OlschankskyJulie Olschansky is a Strategic Merchandiser in Corporate Merchandising. She loves researching product trends and sharing new finds with our merchandising teams and clients. Her favorite promotional product is a functional and stylish bag.

 

Golf is always a hot topic when it comes to merchandising. And as the old guard on the PGA tour gives way to young Turks, styles are changing dramatically. With this in mind, I had my eye out for new and innovative ideas at the recent PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.

Here are the top five trends I found:

Bold colors and patterns are making a big impact – Golf fashion used to be all about understatement. Earth tones and inoffensive plaids were the norm, mixed with an occasional red shirt from someone really daring. In today’s game being bold is no longer a faux pas. Purple was the most prominent color on the show floor and showed up in multiple booths. Neon greens and yellows paired with navy and gray, bold stripes and color blocking were everywhere. Ralph Lauren had tropical motifs and there were lots of abstract patterns in both women’s and men’s apparel.

“Casual Cool” is taking styles from the course to the office 

4.1

  • TravisMathew continues to be a very hot line. Their booth was one of the highlights on the show floor. Geared towards a hip younger golf crowd, their tour busses travel to events all over the country and are a great way to bring the party to you.
  • johnnie_O is an up-and-coming player. Its West Coast Preppy line is starting to show up everywhere.
  • Canoos introduced a classic boat shoe made for golf at the show. It combines an iconic style that looks great on and off the course. Made in the USA.
  • Mizzen+Main is a new line of sharp-looking dress shirts made from performance fabrics. Combining great look and feel, they’re perfect for getting in a quick 9 after the work. Sold primarily in the top clubs and resorts around the country, they’re taking the boring dress shirt to a new level. Made in the USA.

American-made artisan goods 4.2

The number of niche companies that are crafting high quality, very unique goods right here in the USA continues to expand. These smaller unique brands are taking over pro shops all over the country as people are looking for gifts and golf accessories that have a great story and feel truly exclusive.

  • Seamus Golf – With a wide assortment of authentic Scottish tartan head covers and accessories, Seamus Golf continues to win fans. They have strong relationships with European mills and partner with customers to develop exclusive tartan fabrics. They hosted a customization event for their hand-forged copper ball markers and the line was out the door. It was truly one of the show’s highlights!
  • Stitch Golf – With a cool retro look, these hand-cut and –stitched leather head covers, bags and golf accessories will never go out of style.
  • Jones Golf – The makers of the original carry bag are back on the scene with a new utility line and their brand is on the rise. There is just something cool about going back to the basics!
  • Iliac Golf – This distinctive golf apparel and accessories are worn by many tour professionals and celebrities. Rooted in the game’s history, this is a golf lifestyle brand that is truly special.
  • Edel Golf – Known for their awesome putters and clubs that are made from the best materials in Texas, this is a brand used by pros on the tour.

Accessories and gear with personality 4.3

  • Electric Sunglasses – A cool new eyewear line designed in California and made in Italy, the lenses contain melanin a natural blocker of harmful light (including blue light). They have a line specifically designed for golf that is super lightweight and comfortable and can do on site events.
  • Stance Socks – This hip line of fashion socks is popular with celebrities. The golf line has great performance attributes to keep your feet comfortable for a full 18 (or more.)
  • Tin Cup Ball Stencils – No more marking your balls with a Sharpie, these stencils are a super fun and cool way to personalize your balls.

Performance-enhancing devices 4.4

There were rows and rows of exhibitors with new gadgets to improve performance (range finders, swing analyzers, etc) at the show. The trend seems to be growing with wearable GPS tracking devices like:

  • Voice Caddie – A new super lightweight GPS band, it has over 30,000 available courses.
  • TomTom – Linked up to 40,000 courses, the new golf GPS watch has been really well received.