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The Changing Face of Golf


Trends that are shaping the future of the planet are also shaping the future of golf:

Increased feminisation of the public world, the spread of digital technology and influences on fashion: You’re probably wondering what on earth this has to do with branding?

Simple – Golf, one of the oldest sports, is adapting to these new trends and challenges and is undergoing a “rebrand”.

The face of golf is no longer “fuddy-duddy”. Players are younger, fitter, dress better and are techno-savvy. But how did this happen and what does it mean?

Tiger Woods changed the face of golf when he won the Masters in 2001. Tiger became the most recognised athlete in world. He became the brand ambassador for golf and attracted not only already dedicated golf fans, but casual viewers fascinated by the young man of colour who, in four years, had turned the most conservatively traditional of games on its head.

Whilst the “Tiger brand” was tarnished with sex scandals, other players replaced Tiger with players such as Ricky Fowler who burst onto the scene and made golf more “fun”.

With his oversized Puma caps, he changed the way golfers dress. Golf fashion has never looked back. Outfits have become more unconventional and colourful, driving more word on the street and a newfound interest in the sport. Ricky Fowler, whilst not the best player on tour, has established himself as a memorable brand.

Puma has also benefited from the association and sales of golf clothing worn by Ricky have increased. A good test would be ‘how many top 10 players’ names you can recall?’ Probably not too many, but you certainly know Ricky, proving that being different and memorable can set you apart from your competitors.

The image of the professional golfer has become younger and fitter, golf is more associated with sport and less with leisure. Sports equipment and clothing brands fight it out to sponsor the best players. Sponsorships’ provide a vehicle for the brands to showcase their latest products and equipment, which in turn drives sales and brand awareness.

In September this year, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) will be voting on whether women can join the club. This is a milestone for women’s golf. The R&A dates back to 1754 and is a golfing institution following in the footsteps of Augusta who only allowed female members to join in 2012. Over the past 10 years women’s golf has grown and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

Inspired by professional female golfers, and with clubs being more accessible, the number of women golfers is increasing worldwide and especially in countries like Japan and the Netherlands. Spotting this trend, a number of manufacturers have been bringing out new products specifically targeted to this market. Are new fashion items driving interest in golf or is the increase in golfers driving the new items?

Previously, clothing design was more practical than trendy. Now many of the women are sporting designer labels specifically for golf, and golf wear has become trendy. Around the world, magazines, websites, shops, services and products targeted at women golfers has expanded significantly, to the point where ideas for new products for women’s golf seems to be broader than for men’s.

Just like any global or legacy brand, the game of golf needs to remain relevant, adapt and evolve.

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Or Talk to me now: christine@WRAPPA.co.za | + 27 (0) 82 775 5191 | Skype: "brandwrapper"

“Thank you to WRAPPA Brand Consultancy for the professionalism and enthusiasm that was evident throughout our rebranding exercise. WRAPPA have delivered a fresh and exciting brand that talks to our customers. Continue reading…

It was an absolute pleasure to work with the Wrappa team. Whilst a small company, their enthusiasm and personalized approach was well received and enabled our staff to engage with the brand process. I highly recommend using Wrappa if you are considering a rebrand” Continue reading…