COMMENT: Does golf need to take a look at the colour chart?
Ben Evans believes golf clubs need to look at the colour chart to offer something new and enticing for golfers everywhere.
Rickie Fowler wins in orange, his signature colour sets him apart and catches the eye
So, the shoes in that PUMA story, would you wear them? Do you prefer to stand out on the course or blend in?
Designers throwing pink, yellow or red at something is a little like the golfer who takes out the 3-wood for the long second shot over the lake on the par-5. It’s a big decision, risk and reward!
However, in this most conservative of sports, the risk takers are certain to be the ones who elevate the industry to the next level. On tour we probably have the answer in Rory, Jordan, Jason & Co, but do our individual golf clubs need to add colour to their canvasses, use imagination to turn golfers on, rather than off, which is too often the case at present and which is creating a slow golf market all-round.
Colour then is being used here as a metaphor for imagination and progress, but colour in design and fashion is often the evidence of that very thing.
We probably need a bit more colour across the board in golf fashion, fair enough, but we do need a lot more flair, imagination, something in the sport itself.
Colour needs a context. Not everything should be red or pink. Consider the modern cricketer in his ‘pyjama-like’ kit. The 13 cricketers on the field look so much better in white, just as the pulse races when you see the All-Blacks power onto the green of the stadium grass. For different reasons, they look right.
Gary Player, 'the man in black', looked right. When Rickie Fowler wins in orange, in his case, that fits nicely too. Like the golf swing, for each player, it's about timing.
A common-held view in the industry at present is that the sport itself isn’t what the consumer really wants. They say, “Golf is too long, the formats too restrictive, the hole is too small, we need to spice it up for a modern audience, like twenty20 cricket etc”.
But any golf club is really like a restaurant. A good product, a nice atmosphere, superb customer service, it works. Anything less, it fails (unless wealthy members prop it up).
Some golf clubs have a number of rooms in the building that they don’t use, not thinking for a moment that the local community could use them, linking new people, new families to the club. Some clubs make lousy coffee you wouldn’t let a bad dog drink and some members and staff stare at ‘someone from town’ as if they were from Saturn.
No wonder that some potential customers – people – view treading over that white line of the golf club driveway entrance with the same trepidation as Arsenal players stepping onto the turf at the Camp Nou.
It tends to be those clubs who value their dress code on the same level as the spirit in which the game should be played, who create this atmosphere. However, everything needs a context. While dress rules are arguably silly they are an attempt to foster respect for the game.
That is why golf fashion designers usually reference the past in collections. Tradition is important. But quiet tradition has led to golf quietly seizing up, in need of an oil change.
Golf clubs need to be engaged with their towns and demystify themselves. Good coffee, a place to look-into, a place to take the kids, a visitor attraction, a venue. Garden centres have re-invented themselves to find customers, they are now ‘destinations’. Interesting?
And a bit more colour, that’s what we’re hoping for this season. These top players like Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Danny Willett are teeing it up for the industry in some style, so let’s match their imagination. However we do it, as a certain new shoe advert says, let’s ‘Play Loud’.