Course of Style: Callaway Back in Apparel

Callaway C Tech Polo Shirt

Callaway Golf, one of the largest equipment manufacturers, has relaunched its apparel business using Perry Ellis International as its licensed maker of golf clothing. Callaway was forced to look for an apparel partner when its supplier, Ashworth Golf, was acquired by TaylorMade-adidas last year, putting it in the hands of a direct competitor.

The new Callaway collection centers on classic golf shirts and trousers with performance-driven technical features, which the company calls “c-tech core”: golf shirts in solid pique cotton-polyester blends; cocona-textured jacquard patterns; and double-knit polyesters, with the various moisture-wicking, sun-blocking, anti-microbial properties golfers have come to expect. There are a lot of plain-front and single-pleated classic golf trousers as well as cargo shorts with a discreet zippered pocket for scorecards. There is also a full line of belts, including white dress belts and modernistic plaque belts with the Callaway “V” symbol.

One of the mysteries of the modern golf scene is why a top professional (for instance, Phil Mickelson) would wear clothes with, say, the Callaway logo on them, when the clothes themselves were not made by Callaway—and in fact have nothing to do with the company. This happens typically when the player uses and endorses that company’s clubs (or other equipment), but has no apparel deal with the company—or the company makes no apparel to speak of as in the case of Titleist (which has been discussed in previous columns). Callaway, which briefly has been without its own clothing presence, will no doubt be raising its fashion profile.

The new Callaway clothes made by Perry Ellis will be available this fall.

Mall Pro
Our interest was piqued by reports from last week’s PGA Fall Expo in Las Vegas that chain stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy were actively recruiting golf professionals for their retail operations. What exactly would they do?

Marybeth Mudrany, a regional recruiter for Dick’s, said they were interviewing golf professionals to run the stores’ golf departments, overseeing club fitting, club repair, simulators, and so on, as well as using their unique expertise to share product insights. Kind of like running a pro shop at a country club—with asphalt outside instead of green grass.

“They’re experts,” Ms. Mudrany said. “They would provide product information and drive sales. It’s an alternative to green-grass employment.” She said starting pay averages in the $40,000 to $45,000 range, with bonuses based on sales results. “If they are not on the tour, this is like running a pro shop,” she added, “but it’s a 40-hour week.”

Sounds like an idea for a movie, starring Adam Sandler or Kevin James, sort of a “Tin Cup” set in a mall. All they need is a really silly story line.