I hopped a Southwest flight out of Orlando last week to visit the Acushnet corporate headquarters in Fairhaven, Mass. For a little in-flight reading I packed the latest copy of Golfweek. One of the blurbs that struck me was the equipment count at the U.S. Open.
The Golfweek research team detailed the nine equipment category leaders from Congressional. Acushnet brands won every count except three. The ones they didn’t win were driver, fairway woods, and hybrids and in all three of those categories they came in a close second. Balls, irons, wedges, putters, shoes and gloves are all owned in the numbers by Acushnet, whether under Titleist or FootJoy.
If you focus on the two categories that players physically wear on their bodies, the soft goods, FootJoy dominates. They led adidas, the next closest competitor, 91 to 27 in the footwear category at the U.S. Open. FootJoy also led with it’s other brand - Titleist - 55 to 33 in the gloves category. TaylorMade, the next closest, had a count of 20.
With numbers like these it is not beyond the realm of reason to imagine why Acushnet’s FootJoy is expanding its soft goods share of the market.
Which happened to be precisely the reason for my visit.
FootJoy’s apparel line has basically consisted of outerwear since they first began making rain gear in 1997. But they are full steam ahead into creating and manufacturing a complete range of performance clothing for men.
The all-new product line will launch January 2012 under the FJ moniker with a full offering of shirts, sweaters, vests, pants and shorts in four unique color themes. As common with fashion lines, FootJoy apparel will turn over twice a year, releasing its collection in two seasons - spring and fall.
Camera in tow, I was fortunate to get a sneak peak of the new line. It is well thought out, choreographed, and designed with both performance and fashion in mind.
Inspiration for the collection was taken from a myriad of sources, with color pops a big component. The first collection color themes are crafted around names of American locales, one of the most notable being “Savannah” which features a color combo of red, black, and white, evocative of the University of Georgia.
In addition, FootJoy footwear and gloves will also coordinate with the apparel color stories for a perfect match head-to-toe on the golf course.
Not only is Acushnet winning the equipment count, they’re winning with their new look as well.