Friday, July 5, 2013

Fore the Kids

I am a grandparent and like most would rather buy something for the grandchild than for myself. It is typical I’m sure of most avid golfers and in particular most club members that there is a child in our life that we would love to buy for,  but the product has to be of the highest quality. I have been hanging around golf shops almost every day for 25 years and attending golf shows for the same amount of time and have not seen this product.

Enter Kelsey Abernathy McLean – the mother of the baby boy in blue to the left – whose husband is a member at Fieldstone CC in Delaware and whose locker is next to Vice President Joe Biden’s. She sees the niche, the need and the opportunity and designs product that one can be happy to have their loved ones wear and is embroiderable.  She quickly acquired placement at Merion and Medinah.  Kelsey will soon be shipping to Pinehurst, Pebble Beach and Sea Island and as they say the rest is history.

This is the type of product I most like to write about and the story that is most fun to tell. This is truly incremental business not only as the extra sale but more importantly for the customer/member who would not have been interested in shopping at all until they saw something in Pima cotton that had that “AHHH” factor going for it and now the range can wait a moment. There are shirts for juniors from major brands that look like add-ons and there are polyester lines designed for the young, but until now there has not been anything that you would want to take home to the toddler.

Kelsey, I did not want to steal any thunder, please tell us the story of how this started and define the customer that you are reaching out to and the size range that encompasses?

When I was about 8 months pregnant with my son, I went to the pro shop to purchase either a baby bodysuit (and or whatever other baby items) I could find that was embroidered with our golf club logo. I was disappointed and surprised to find there was nothing available for babies and toddlers.   Country clubs and golf clubs are places for families to gather, and not providing for the youngest members was a major gap in the market. We find that grandparents in particular are our biggest buyers. I was surprised to find that often clubs give away our products to members who are expecting babies. Our products range in size from newborn to 6T. We provide free logo embroidery up to 5,000 stitches on all our garments.

We premiered at the PGA Merchandise show in January of this year, and were thrilled with the response and orders we received.

Tell us about the quality that you are building into this product and some of the design considerations that I know to be incredibly important to you?

I wanted to provide the absolute best quality garments, timeless classic —no crazy colors or trendy styles.  30 years from now, the babies and kids won’t look goofy in photos while wearing our clothes! Our products are made of either 100% Peruvian Pima cotton or 100% Pima cotton and are the best quality textiles we can find. I wanted the products to withstand the rigors of heavy usage and still look beautiful. It has been a challenge to provide such high quality garments while still keeping an eye on cost, but we have managed to make that happen.

ForeKids Golf is less than a year old and already is in some great shops, has had some great testimonials and attracted some great reps. Other than the quality and value of the product what are you doing to partner with the shops that you are dealing with?

We strive to provide excellent customer service.  We provide child size mannequins and child size hangers to all our buyers.  The products must be seen to be sold! They need to be featured beautifully and hung on appropriate sized hangers to showcase the garments. We also advertise through Facebook and showcase some of the clubs (with their approval) where our products can be purchased.

Our sales reps have been thrilled with the product and sell-thru, they have all said this is something that has been needed in the market place for a long time. Our reps are carefully chosen and have all been in the business for a number of years and know how to help partnering shops with orders and merchandising.

Margie Kestner of Deepdale Golf Club, Manhasset  - "The quality of the fabric is what attracted me to the product. Most kids clothing is poor to mediocre quality. Fore Kids Golf uses Pima cotton and it feels like high-end clothing from Madison Avenue. The ability to logo a garment is crucial for me. Nothing is cuter than a body-suit or romper with a club logo….. The members melt when they see it."

Jay Sutherland (PGA Professional at Buffalo Country Club NY was quoted in PGA Magazine as saying -
"Since bringing children's apparel from Fore Kids Golf into the shop this spring we have been thrilled with the sell-through. We expected that they would make great gifts around the holidays. but they have been a very consistent seller the entire season. They offer the quality and classic elegance that fits with the demographic of our club."  

 I have mentioned my desire to buy for my granddaughter rather than myself but what other opportunities are there for the retailer to consider? Have any clubs instituted a Grandparent’s Day for example?

A lot of the clubs feature our items on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and events for the women golfers and special events.

I think that it is important to point out that your target customer and current distribution is “green grass only.” As the line continues to succeed what are the plans for the future?

Our most important goal is to provide and continue to provide exceptional quality and customer service. So far, we have delivered our shipments two or three weeks early. As long as we can provide that kind of service and support, the sky is the limit!

Kelsey, it has been a pleasure to spend time with you and come to know your passion for this project. Is there anything else you would like to tell the industry about Fore Kids Golf?

We have just added a few new items to our catalog, as well as the “Topher the Gopher” doll, which is 18” tall and quite a colorful little guy! He has a story that comes along with him as well—so far the kids have gone crazy over him! We  currently provide baby bodysuits, footed coveralls, Polo’s, Rompers, a hooded spa robe,  baby blankets, burp cloths, baby towel with washcloth, giggle hats  and bibs—all are designed to be logo embroidered. New items to be added soon!

Sizes: Newborn to 6T
Suggested retail price: $20 to $65

See our online catalog and more information at

We have just joined the AGM (Association of Golf Merchandisers) this month and are thrilled to be a part of their organization.

Upcoming Shows where our products can be seen:

Dawn Houze, Maryland, Virginia, W. Virginia
  • Sept 10 and 11 – The Rockville show
Debbie Forrest, South Florida
  • The President’s Country Club Golf Show July 30th thru August 2nd
  • Estero Golf Show August 13th thru August 21st
  • PGA National Golf Show August 19th thru August 21st
Kelsey Abernathy McLean,
  • Philadelphia Golf Sales Association Spring Merchandise Show, Aug 27-28
Joe Jo Gittleman, Hawaii
  • HGRA Show at Marriott Waikiki, Oahu, August 13-16

It is hard to imagine a member's club where this type of product would not be successful. It is also easy to make the case that almost every sale in this category would be incremental.This to me is a no-brainer that Kelsey and the team that she is putting together want you to succeed with and a quote like Margie's from Deepdale - "the members melt." It just doesn't get any better. 


  1. Wow, I was just googling toddler CC logo clothes and ran across this blog. I'm a grandparent too, and I'm looking forward to checking with the Army Navy CC here in VA to see if they carry this brand. Thank you for the interview; it's a brilliant idea!

  2. What a beautiful and amazing Idea. I am in love with the whole thing, its so classy, modern, elegant, cool for the kids and mostly usable!!
    I am always with my husband and kids on the Golf course, now I cant wait to show them off in the pieces we bought..
    Thank you very much and awaiting you next collection..