Friday, September 19, 2008

Lookin’ Good On The Links

By Shane Dale

The right apparel can help complete a top-notch golf event. And, don’t forget the logoed golf club covers.

From a high-end polo shirt to a $1 bag of golf tees, every giveaway on the golf course is important. Here are five pieces of advice to consider before choosing apparel and other promotional items for your next golf event.

1. Determine the Crowd
The number-one thing is, you have to consider what kind of people are going to the event,” says Michael Kaufman, owner of Wear It’s At, a promotional apparel distributor. He notes that the type of golf event typically determines the amount of money you can spend on it. “You have to consider budget, too. How much are you prepared to spend per person? A lot of times, these things are for charity and you have to be a lot more frugal.”

Ryan Andrews, president of Venture Marketing, a promotional products distributorship, says it’s important to ask yourself these questions, particularly about the centerpiece of all golf outings: the polo shirt. “How are the shirts being used? Are they handed out at an event to clients, or are they client gifts, or for internal use, or sales rep uniforms? Usually, if it’s a client gift, you’ll want a higher-end shirt than if the shirts are worn as part of an internal uniform.”

Andrews points out that all the big-name golf brands, such as Ashworth Inc., Greg Norman, Cutter & Buck, Tehama, Ping and Nike, have entered the promotional products world. “After you know the usage, determine if a particular brand is important,” he says.

2. Go High End
Many golf events are part of an expensive gathering for valued sponsors or top employees. As such, attendees are going to expect high-quality items, says Ford Smith, a rep for American Solutions for Business, a promotional products distributor. “When you’re doing country club-type deals, you’re going to want to get into some really nice glassware, plaques and different awards,” he says

Kaufman works with real estate companies, home builders and apartment associations that embrace the high-priced products. One of his clients is Peirce-Phelps, a residential heating and air conditioning distributor that hosts a golf event for its “Million-Dollar Club,” a collection of top sales reps. “We did a high-end Ping golf shirt with the logo on the chest, an embroidered ‘Million-Dollar Club’ logo on the chest and a Carrier air conditioning logo on the sleeve,” he says. “It was very, very well-received.”

Many of the classier golf outings feature additional festivities. Pam Bennett, another client of Kaufman’s, is the executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Philadelphia. Bennett has been running an annual golf tournament for her company’s sponsors for 19 years. “I always give out a very good golf shirt. I’m talking stuff that retails for $60 to $75,” she says.

But the AAGP’s outings are most famous for their luxurious post-tournament dinners, which feature whole lobsters and filet mignon. Accordingly, Bennett orders lobster bibs and cocktail napkins from Kaufman. “We have really nice cloth bibs for each person at the table, and we have the platinum sponsors’ logos screened on to the cloth,” she says. “These sponsors have paid $10,000 a year to have those sponsorships, and in a room with 250 people, to have their name plastered across them makes them very happy.”

3. Be creative
While golf polos are the staple of any golf apparel program, there’s plenty more out there. Kaufman suggests also considering items such as golf umbrellas, rolling cooler bags and gift kits that feature a divot tool and a ball bag clip.

Andrews recently distributed a hybrid golf club – a club that combines the characteristics of an iron and a wood – as a giveaway for the Ronald McDonald House Golf Classic. “All the players were amazed at such a high-end gift, and several players actually used the club during the round,” he says. “This was a high-perceived-value gift, as the charity spent less than $40 for a name-brand hybrid with a logo on the head cover.”

4. Provide Non-Golfing Items
As evidenced by Kaufman’s bibs and cocktail napkins, a great golf apparel program isn’t limited to golf-exclusive items. “Another good suggestion is to throw in some small items if you have an additional $5,” Andrews says. Products like logoed sunscreen bottles that golfers can attach to their bags, or a first-aid kit that fits in the bag.

Smith has done work with a company that sponsors golf outings in Mexico. Many of the company’s employees like to head to the beach when they’re done golfing. He makes sure to cover those needs, too, by providing low- and mid-priced products. “For the beach, consider nice beach towels and tote bags to put everything in,” he says. “Another popular item is oversized T-shirts – a lot of women like those – and of course, sunscreen and lip balm.”

Smith points out that while some may see these items as independent from a trip to the golf course, a lot of folks choose to keep them securely in their golf bags for future outings. “Most people keep an item in their golf bag or their trunk,” Smith says. “These are some really nice items that people keep.”

5. Don’t Forget the Ladies
In the past, nearly all golf wearables were geared toward men. Not anymore, Andrews says. “All clients will enjoy getting a nice name-brand golf shirt, but now the ladies are happy as the apparel manufacturers have greatly improved ladies’ apparel over the last few years,” he says. “It’s more fashion forward, and the sleeves and waists are more fitted.”

Women may be more selective about their attire than men – many women prefer sleeveless golf shirts, for example. So it’s good to get input from the recipients, if possible, before making a selection.

Shane Dale is an AZ-based freelance writer.

Shopping List
Here are the essential items for any golf outing:.
  • Polo shirt: A necessity for the golf course. They are comfortable, performance-based and affordable. They bring company awareness and allow advertising to a limitless client base.
  • T-shirt: Great for giveaways at golf tournaments, and an inexpensive way to promote your brand.
  • Ladies’ golf shirt: Women need a performance-based shirt. They want to be trendy but comfortable.
  • Jacket: This item is always needed any time of year for weather changes. In the fall, golfers will use their jacket in the early morning and evening tee times.
  • Gloves: A staple that every golfer needs and will always use.
  • Hat: Everyone wears a cap while golfing. It’s the perfect accessory to complete your golf apparel.
  • Hat clip: A trendy way to carry your ball marker.
  • Visor: Women prefer a visor to a cap. They’re comfortable and a great look for golfers.
  • Shoe bag: Many golfers find this a useful item, but not necessarily one that they’d buy.
  • Golf clubs: Every golfer wants to find that “magic” club and will always use the one that works the best.
  • Golf club cover and headcover: Like the golf bag, custom covers offer great visibility, especially when they are creatively done.
  • Golf bag: Custom golf bags offer maximum visibility.
  • Golf balls: Like the glove, golf balls are a staple item that every golfer needs and uses.
  • Clear grip: A very cool, unique way to brand a golf club.
  • Divot tool: Every golfer should repair their divots, but they may need to be reminded to do so. This gift is good for the game and the course.

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