Retail Opportunities:
Athletic Wear – A Natural Extension of Golf

Donna Molinaro is the buyer/merchandiser for Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton, Florida.

Golf apparel brands have come a long way in a relatively short time. COVID-19 fast-forwarded where golf fashion was headed and a demand for comfortable, yet stylish clothing arose. Since that time, brands have introduced vibrant colors and fabrics that have elevated comfort and lightened moods. With that, golf apparel began its new take on function and comfort.

It is a fact that athletic wear has become a natural extension of the lifestyle we lead. Golf shops that want to fatten their bottom line must incorporate athletic items into their product mix. As a buyer, merchandiser and stylist, I look for brands that combine great fabric, fit and design, and are popular among my members and clients. For men, these include some names you may have heard of, and others that just might be new to you.

REDVANLY is a standout in the men’s golf and athletic wear segment. This modern New York brand defines the concept that golf, athletics and comfort go hand in hand. Andrew Redvanly, the brand’s founder and designer, has curated a collection of hybrid pieces in functional, yet luxurious performance fabrics.

Galvin Green, a Swedish company designed by golfers for golfers, provides protection from the elements. For over 30 years, they’ve been known for their weatherproof golf apparel. Galvin Green has propelled into the sports segment with ergonomically designed garments and performance fabrics with high breathability, and they have achieved this while offering a high level of design for men, women and juniors.

Another golf brand that excels with a more casual, comfortable Peruvian Pima cotton/spandex stretch fabric is B. Draddy. They reinvented old school panache with pieces such as the Russ Crewneck, Say Hey Willie Tee, Free Bird Short and Proctor Hoodie. Their innovative, sweatshirt-style fabrics can be found in pieces that can be layered with golf apparel, worn for any sport or to just relax at home.

Golf has enjoyed a significant increase in popularity worldwide, and women golfers have joined in the participation. There is a plethora of new athletic fashion-inspired brands that have entered the market.

G/Fore, a youthful, energy-driven brand, launched a “Girls Golf Too” collection, showing support for gender equality in sport. These off-course styles in comfy fabrics promote a “love of golf.” Their tees, sweatshirts and hoodies are easily merchandised with their fantastic skirts, pants and lightweight fabric tops.

Foray Golf, a woman’s brand, meets a woman’s golf apparel needs both on and off the course. Founder Megan LaMothe knows their “golf girl” lives an active lifestyle, and has optimized the product line to meet her needs. They have filled the growing gap in athletic wear beautifully. Check their great fitting fitness leggings with pockets so they can be worn for golf, as well as sports bras that do not feel constricting. The brand plans to expand its presence in the golf and athletic wear spaces.

GOLFABELLA is a new athletic-inspired line of sporty golf dresses that can easily be worn on the course and around town. Founder Alexandra Efimova launches her first collection this fall. She designed the line to meet the growing need for comfort and performance in the golf dress arena. The vibrant colors and flattering styles offer something for all body types. I plan to merchandise the dresses with other collections, adding a pop of color and unique flair to any active woman’s wardrobe.

Merchandising these brands provides an opportunity to educate the consumer on how to wear and layer these athletic-inspired, less-structured items with traditional garb. How you display will allow for add-ons, a healthier sale and a more confident, well-dressed golfer. As comfort is No. 1 across the board, it’s good to display a mix of athletic-inspired items ranging from cotton performance blends to cashmere. You can fold softer pieces with less structure on a nesting table.

A few more of my guidelines are to mix the fall and spring collections, showcasing bold color, cheerful designs and nature-inspired patterns in a way that “pop” your display. Also, hang items in an “outfitted” manner, rather than by categories or by color. Add golf accessories to the displays, but in a clean, modern manner, as you visually stir their senses to want more. Finally, allow the shopper to explore the many possibilities of today’s golf-appropriate, on- and off-course merchandise.