The direct-to-consumer trend in golf equipment, apparel and accessories is showing no signs of slowing down. All sorts of digitally-native, small-batch, finely-targeted "disruptor" brands continue to spring up in the hopes of carving out a profitable niche for themselves in an $80 billion industry.
You can find plenty of information about dozens of these brands in our series on DTC golf brands:
- Direct-to-consumer golf clubs
- Direct-to-consumer golf balls
- Direct-to-consumer golf bags
- Direct-to-consumer golf apparel
Even though these pieces covered a lot of ground, there have been some newcomers to these spaces that you should be aware of, such as:
This Atlanta-based golf ball brand seeks to compete with the increasingly crowded field of companies touting tour-quality golf balls for $15 or more off the price of the Pro V1s of the world. Among its four golf ball models, each oriented to a range of golfers' handicaps, the three-piece Blue ($24.99 per dozen) model is aimed at the largest swath of the market, with attractively muted, almost midcentury-modern looks.
This golf club company, based in Finland, makes forged irons at a stunningly small fraction of the price of the major equipment companies. Their players-cavity Iron 201 is made from soft S20C steel and comes with one of two high-end steel shafts as stock options: the KBS C-Taper or the Nippon Modus3 Tour 105. At $598 all-in for a set from 4 iron through pitching wedge, Takomo's irons are nearly $1,000 cheaper than similar offerings from the bigger players.
Following on the success of direct-to-consumer all-purpose shoe darling Allbirds, breathable and lightweight knit golf shoes have exploded in popularity in recent years. Tomo is one of the brands that has made that combination of airy materials and street-smart silhouette the centerpiece of their offerings, which include the sub-$100 Volume 1 and more substantial but still-chill Alpha ($165).
Tyler Golf Bags
For decades, the golf bag fit squarely in the realm of golf equipment: a tool more than a means of a golfer's self-expression. But thanks to outfits like Tyler, which will build a bag to your own unique aesthetic preferences for $200 and up, what you carry your clubs in can be an extension of your personality. Some funky pre-made designs are also available on the website.
Other golf gear news and notes
Heater Golf Collection from TravisMathew
The new Heater Golf Collection from TravisMathew launched in early March, bringing new styles to a brand that continues to be wildly popular. The line consists of a polo (long- and short-sleeved), pants, shorts, jacket and quarter-zip, all designed with lightweight performance fabrics that are quick dry and available in multiple colors. I've worn all of them, testing them on and off the course in recent weeks. They're as comfortable as any golf apparel out there. The Heater polo, made from more sustainable fabrics from TM's Eco Collection, and the Crystal Cove 2.0 jacket are my favorites. I wore the black jacket out to dinner to a really nice restaurant, and it never looked out of place. It's sharp. The same goes for the Right On Time pants, Havasu quarter zip and Starnes shorts. They'll quickly move to the front of your closet. Price: $89.95-$124.95.
New short-game tools from PING
While some companies come out with new versions of their full line of clubs every year, rain or shine, PING keeps things a bit less regimented, and keeps to a looser schedule. That's why golfers noted a three-year wait ahead of the release of the company's new Glide 4.0 wedges ($217.50 steel, $232.50 graphite). The 3.0s enjoyed plenty of positive reviews and play on the major tours - why change something that was working rather than wait until definitive new improvements could be made? The 4.0s include a larger elastomer insert inside their 8620 carbon steel heads that help to improve feel over the 3.0s. PING has also refined its offering of wedge grinds, with the high-bounce S and low-bounce T grinds featuring a smaller head than the more forgiving W and E grinds.
PING is arguably the most influential maker of putters of the last 75 years, and the company is commemorating its history by instituting the PLD - Putting Lab Design - program to sit at the high end of their offerings. PLD Milled (from $485), PLD Limited (from $790) and PLD Custom (from $1,290) putters seek to showcase PING's highest-caliber and most customized designs for discerning golfers. The first PLD Limited design, a classic Anser that celebrates the 55th anniversary of that putter's patent (with only 55 made), is fully machined from bronze and available for purchase at PING's PLD website.