Preppy and Traditional are still OK
They’re loud and proud, rocking the rainbow … not afraid to splash a bit of colour on the golf course, once a pasture filled with traditional starchy cotton white collared shirts and solid-colored shorts.
Loudmouth is definitely not BORING!
Golfers are now adding some vibrancy to golf courses all over the world, wearing shirts that scream happy. Companies like Puma and Loudmouth are leading the way, with clothing that’s guaranteed to get you noticed.
With Rickie Fowler as Puma’s poster boy and companies like Tommy Hilfiger making some noise, Loudmouth has plenty of star power of its own in John Daly.
Pro shops across North America are noticing a demand for colors.
“In past years, I’ve always been nervous about bringing in color,” said Derek Jones, head professional at Hillsdale Golf and Country Club in Mirabel, QC. “But we brought in some real funky stuff and it flew off the walls. People have their beige and black pants at home. They want something with colour.”
Enter Loudmouth, founded by Scott Woodworth, who patched together a pair of pants from fabric with designs of the likes of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck on golf carts with a powder blue background. After being asked over and over where people could buy a pair of pants like that, Woodworth put together a plan. And it was a good one.
“You’re still going to get those guys with their navy or black shorts and navy or white shirts. That’s never going to change,” said Loudmouth executive vice president Alan Wallace. “I said to a good friend, ‘Do you have anything other than navy shorts?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I’ve got some black ones.’
“We’re a small company, we don’t have as many skews as Nike or Puma, but we’re gaining a lot of floor space. We already have a lot of loyal customers. When I’m wearing (Loudmouth), I can turn around 10 times and seven of those times, I’ll catch somebody taking a picture of (the back of my pants).
“I’m certain others are influenced by what Loudmouth has done in the last 3 1/2 years. Nike is no dummy. They started coming out with neon and loud shirts.”
“Golf represents the ultimate prep lifestyle, and we are excited to expand our presence in the performance area,” said Tommy Hilfiger.
“Our golf collection is inspired by the integrity and tradition of the sport. We’ve added a twist to the classics through an innovative use of fabrics and details, delivering performance, comfort and style in golf sportswear that can be worn on and off the course.”
Celebrating the brand’s preppy heritage, the new collection includes four groups: Core, Cape Cod, St. Barth’s and Cape Town. The Core collection gives time-honored basics an updated look while an assortment of fits accommodates the movement required for golf. Cape Cod draws inspiration from the Eastern seaboard, in particular photographs of the Kennedys in the 60s, with exploded plaids, seersucker stripes and grosgrain details. St. Barth’s incorporates the sights and sounds of the island; bold stripes and pops of color are featured throughout. Cape Town takes cues from the brightly colored architecture of the city, offering a balance of brights and pastels to create preppy printed bottoms for women and a new colorful plaid for men.
Loudmouth existed as a web-based business, with more investors coming on board at the start of 2007. The company added a wholesale base in 2009 and it’s been an uphill ride, gaining steam and sales the whole way.
Having PGA star John Daly jump on board in 2009 was huge; so was the unlikely alliance with the silver-medal-winning Norwegian curlers at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
As it turns out, this year’s Olympic spectacle in London and Daly’s appearance in the PGA Championship early in August were great for business.
“We’re not even in 20% of the places I want to be in,” said Wallace. “We still haven’t scratched the surface. We’re constantly changing patterns. Every three months or so, we like to have another six or eight designs.”
Many of the designs have names: Captain Thunderbolt, Angry Birdies, Shagadelic and Naughty Cards are among my favourites.
Sometimes it’s a matter of changing perception.
“I was at the Reno-Tahoe Open, we were one of the co-sponsors,” said Wallace. “I got there on the Tuesday and the GM was totally against Loudmouth going in the pro shop. I gave them six dozen and told them whatever didn’t sell, we would take back. It went so well, they ordered another eight dozen. Nothing makes me happier than showing somebody they can sell something they say they can’t sell.”
It goes beyond pants, shorts, skorts and shirts. You can buy Loudmouth hats, visors, gloves, ties, belts, boxers, socks, hoodies, sport coats, blazers … and it branches out from the golf course to swimwear and snowwear. You’d better believe it’s cool … beach volleyball players are wearing Loudmouth.
“We hit it all. Twelve-year-olds are wearing them, 90-year-olds are wearing them,” said Wallace. “It’s men, women, boys and girls … all ages.
“Once we went into sizes 26 and 28 for kids, it’s like those kids stood up 12 inches taller when they wore them. There was a wedding in Cape Cod June 2 and they were all wearing the Nantucket pants with navy blazers and the father and bride wore a sportcoat with white pants. It was the cutest thing. They sent us a picture and it had the caption: Loudmouth, it’s not just for golfers anymore.’ ”
Daly brings the brand plenty of attention. While he’s no longer one of the game’s elite players, he remains a star in his own way, with a magnetic personality that makes him a Pied Piper of sorts when he’s on the golf course.
“John Daly brings great awareness to our brand,” said Wallace. “When he plays on weekends, that’s when we get the most attention.”
And that attention shifts to loyal Loudmouthers like Wallace when he’s rocking the shorts.
“It’s mind boggling to some people when they see the clothing,” said Wallace. “I get asked what I’m wearing all the time. ‘Wow, where did you get those?”
It’s time for the meek and bland to step aside. Colour is taking the golf world by storm.
By: Tim Baines