Monday, February 8, 2016

Orlando 2016

 In 2012 I described the golf show in Orlando as a fast moving Mecca as important to me as a place to meet with old friends as it is a great venue to network with unfamiliar exhibitors. Becoming acquainted with the new and in many cases unheralded lines and services and catching up with the news on the well-known is all part of the excitement.

I was particularly impressed this year with some of the new apparel lines and their principals that I visited with and will comment on some of those in this entry, but first I want to mention how great it was to spend time with the friends I bunk with every year Mike Pifer, Doug MacKenzie and John Brisbane. Walking the show floor is an opportunity to stop and talk with Bob Ford, Cary Sciorra, Cary Cozby, Tony Pancake and Nancy Maunder all of which I only typically see once a year but whose association and benevolence I greatly value.

Not new but impressive –                                                                                     

Donald Ross Sportswear – Incredible booth and sales team. In January of 2010 I wrote of Rob Stein’s efforts as MVP and (Rookie of the Year). Walking by their booth and talking to their team in 2016 it is clear that DR is one of the true leaders in the industry.

Turtleson – It has been great to get know Chet Sokorski over the years and watch the development of the product and marketing that is the Turtleson line. Also a great and altruistic team. So much of success in golf is about the people.

Winston Collection – The Andys are always a delight to see and their booth this year reflected the addition of great new product and ideas. Andy Renshaw has become a friend whose conversation I relish because he stays outside the box.

Imperial Headwear – Another cool booth that was both contemporary and homey but functional. David Shaffer, Mike Wrightson and the entire team are seriously good at what they do and the new Coolcore R towel should be one of the easier sales and best stories to tell at the counter this season.

New and impressive:

Lyla Renai – “Sophisticated and Sexy” and not afraid to say it. Luxurious quality and styling for the confident woman on and off the course. Lyla Altevers is the founder and designer and I hope to be interviewing her in this space soon.

Duffield Lane – As fun as it sounds. Classic and comfortable at the cook-out, on the yacht or first date. Sundress to seersucker. This line will create cult customers in the shop because it will take them anywhere.

Holderness & Bourne – Classic styling with a tailored fit and made in America apparel and accessories. Alex Holderness and John Bourne share a true passion for the game and what they refer to as a “relentless focus” on quality. Keep an eye on these guys.

 Greyson – Cool and busy booth. Charlie Schaefer’s booth and all the subsequent word of mouth were the talk of the show. Technical fabrication with classic Maserati styling.

Some news of note.

The new owners of SportHaley and Bette and Court seemed enthusiastic about working with Cathy Blair and Joe Westby to do some important new things in golf.

Decayeux Golf is a major luxury French brand dealing with leather goods, jewelry and couture and is looking to get into the golf market. They did not have a booth in Orlando but I met with them and they presented to me (with white gloves) some pieces I thought would be outstanding customized tournament favors for high-end clubs.

Spanner Active was a presenting sponsor at the PGA Merchandiser of the Year Conference and is an exciting ladies line based on collections. Jim Dougherty is the North America General Manager.

Carnoustie has collaborated with Aristo Eighteen to be their exclusive agent in the golf market. Aristo's quality is second to none. The selection will include basics (prefinished) as well as seasonal fancies that co-ordinate with the Carnoustie collection.                     

Carnoustie has also hooked up with Nexbelt to offer a line of upscale belts to the golf market. Tumbled leather with an ingenious one size fits all ratcheting system and designed to complement the line.

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