Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year From the KC...

(Photo the property of TIME Magazine)

Roughly a year ago I relaunched the KC with hopes of spreading the message of golf style to a few folks, sharpening my writing skills, continuing to learn, meeting a few industry people and having a little fun. I've managed - with your help - to eclipse every expectation...
I've met countless interesting and generous individuals, have learned an incredible amount about the trade that I love and have ever so much enjoyed presenting to you all a certain vision of style on the fairways. 
The idea was to become a forum where fashion-savvy golfers could compare notes, reflect, applaud, and even bicker at times - all the while creating a little corner of cyberspace that felt comfortable and focused on the attitudes and the clothing that make this game so special.
I hope for 2010, with the relaunch of the KC in the next few weeks, to bring loads more content -product reviews, photos, features, interviews, stories from around the golf style world and most importantly, continue the great fun we've had... 
I thank you for spending a little bit of your time with us every week and hope that you've enjoyed what we've offered...
Please reach out with any ideas/constructions/concerns in the New Year.

All the best!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dunning Tour Slim-Fit Polos

Ralph Dunning and his team have some exciting product coming out next year and one of the newcomers is the Tour Slim-Fit Polo. Designed with 60's tailoring in mind, the polo is cut very close to the body. Besides being extremely comfortable and lightweight (performance poly) they are the perfect pattern for a thinner guy like myself (look at the side shot and the absence of any excess material in the body/the length and width of the sleeve and where it hits on the bicep.) The solid polos are great-looking and extremely versatile - look for striped offerings in the future. A warning: You may need to upgrade your trouser collection when you try one of these babies on... those fat, old khakis won't work anymore.  

It's great to see brands continuing to push slimmer-fitting stuff. The emphasis on fashions of the 60's and 70's in golf apparel is really bringing 'fit' back into a game that had, for many years, lost its shape. Obviously, as a slimmer guy, I'm looking for the more radical approaches to close-fitting golf apparel - but companies everywhere are subtly cutting material from seats and crotches and hacking away at polos - not enough to alienate returning customers, but enough to see a benefit in streamlining the overall shape. I've talked with apparel companies whose demographics start at 45 and 50 years old and they are taking the fit movement into account as much as anyone. We're all looking better for it, too. So, keep it coming...

(Yes, it was about 20 degrees out when I took these snaps... True dedication to my craft, I suppose...)


Monday, December 28, 2009

Interview with Travis Johnson - Part 2

(Photo of John Mallinger the sole property of Getty Images)

Part 2 of an interview with Travis Johnson from Travis Mathew...

6) What brands do you love? (Doesn't have to be clothing.) What do you look for in a brand?

Man, you’ve got great questions!!! To be honest, I consider myself the epitome of a consumer. I’m always following pop culture, trends, underground movements, etc., whether it’s on CNN, consumer reports, books, or magazines…I live for this stuff!! I’d say my deepest passions fall under the genres of sports, music, fashion and art. Food, drinks, health and wine are pretty enjoyable too. These things along with my family, friends and faith are what I live for. Some of my favorites in sports would have to be the Dodgers and “Lake Show,” as far as teams go.

As for sporting events, it’s hard to beat watching the Tour de France or attending the Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack. I love watching live musical performances by groups like Muse or Depeche Mode, but I also enjoy finding some of the newer lesser known indie bands like Ladyhawke or Phoenix. Wolfmother and Cold War Kids are a couple other pretty insane alternative bands to check out as well. As for fashion, I’m a big fan of an American surf brand called RVCA, as well as Hugo Boss or Armani suiting. I guess you can say that I’m not closed-minded to experiencing anything new. I give almost anything a fair chance and if I think it was well thought out and put together, I’m sold!

 7) Tommy Armour and John Mallinger - can you share a story about each that fans might enjoy?

Haha, I can’t tell you how cool it is that we have these guys representing our brand on the big Tour. I met "Malli" when I was about 12 years old playing junior golf. Just like any childhood story, we had an already established, tight-knit group of So Cal junior golfers that Malli wasn’t a part of at the time. Nothing against him, but Malli grew up in some small town outside of San Diego that none of us had ever heard about and we were all LA/Orange County kids. I’ll never forget the first tournament that I met Malli at. It was the Maxfli Junior Championship and I got paired with this skinny-legged, soft-spoken kid that I dwarfed over in size. I didn’t have a worry in the world about beating this kid that I knew nothing about, but after 6 holes, then 12 and eventually though 18, this kid using a beat-up, old 8802 Wilson blade dropped putts from everywhere. Malli ended up winning the event by at least 4 or 5 strokes leaving us all clearly behind in the dust. He instantly earned my respect as a golfer and as a character. 

Over the next few years I got to know Malli a lot more, eventually becoming decent friends during college while he was at Long Beach State and I was playing at UCLA, but even better friends after college when I moved back home to Long Beach where Malli was still residing. We practiced at the same course, Virginia Country Club, worked with the same coach, Jamie Mulligan, and traveled the country competing in many mini-tour events together. Overall though, the best thing that I can share about Malli is that he is an incredible guy who hasn’t changed a bit since the day I met him. At first glance, you’d think he’s still some soft-spoken guy from a small town in San Diego, but the moment you watch him play a full round of golf, you’ll realize that he’s more so like a “quiet assassin” with his laser-like accuracy and freakish short game. And though he’s one of the most competitive guys that I know on the course, he’s also one of the most free-spirited, fun-loving guys off the course. Malli cares about nothing more in life than his family, his friends, giving back to the youth in his community and his San Diego Chargers. I haven’t met too many people more well-grounded than Malli is with all that he has achieved to this point in his young career and I’m proud to be one of his friends.

As for Tommy, I don’t even know where to begin! TA in my mind, is one of the game’s last remaining true golfers. When I say that I mean that he comes from the old school, low-ball hitting, cigarette smoking, just get it in the hole kind of players. He doesn’t need a strength coach, the guy is as strong as a bull. He doesn’t need a mental coach because he knows exactly what he needs to do to play well. In fact, he doesn’t even need an apparel sponsor if he didn’t want it, the guy looks cool in anything he wears. The first time that I met Tommy was in Hawaii at the ‘05 Sony Open. I was at the event trying to Monday qualify along with Malli. After our practice round on Saturday, we happened to run into TA and his posse inside the Waialae Men’s Lounge that hovers over the Pacific. Tommy saw us two slumming around so he invited us to his table. After having a few pops with Tommy he invited us to his party later that night at the W hotel. At that point Malli and I had only heard the folkloric tales of Tommy and all that goes on at his parties, so we were beyond stoked to be invited to hang with this living legend. I won’t reveal all of the details about the party, but I will say the moment we showed up, all of the stories that I ever heard about how cool Tommy Armour was were instantly confirmed the moment we walked through the doors.

8) Where do you see TM in 5 years?

Well, as highly as I think of our brand, I also understand the realities of our current economy and how difficult it will be over the next few years to be prosperous in this industry. What we do have going for us though right now is that we’re flourishing as a company -- Our only problem right now is having enough product in stock to keep filling the shelves at our accounts. We are also unbelievably fortunate to have built the most amazing team internally, that will allow us to react quickly to the turbulence of this market so that we can stay above water during any peak or valley during these next few years. At that point, if we have weathered this storm that we are currently in, I really do believe that we will have an great opportunity to be one of the most influential brands that has ever entered the golf arena. We’ve studied in great measures the Munsingwears and Ashworths, and the Nikes and Adidases and I believe that we will have the opportunity to be one of the next names in that progression to help grow the game to more people, but even more so to improve the look and lifestyles of the individuals that make up this great game.

9) How does the whole social media/blogs like this and internet based advertising structure play into the hands of an up and coming apparel brand?

I learned very early on during my golfing career that any kind of marketing is good marketing and this day and age there seems to be an abundant amount of resources to help get your name out there if you want. The tricky part though is deciphering which of these marketing channels will maximize your exposure and visibility. I still haven’t quite figured that one out, but we’ve got some great young minds working on that as we speak. In the meantime, I will say that this source of advertising is probably one of the most undervalued marketing tools of our industry. The way I view social media is that it is one of the most efficient ways that I can connect with our customers to find out what they think about our products and/or services. It also helps me to better understand consumer needs. If consumer habits and trends follow the path they are already on, we will only see an increase of social networking through internet media and on-line blogging, which in turn will perpetuate the growth of online purchasing. I believe it is the way of the future.

Thanks for considering us to be a part of your blog! I’m a big fan of what you’ve created.

Thanks, Travis!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Introducing: Ukko

(Photos the sole property of Ukko)

Ukko is a London-based apparel company that exudes some serious British flair - aimed at clothing its' customer both on the course and off. When I look at these images, I can't help but see Topshop for the fairways - which is a pretty cool concept. The stuff is affordable, with polos around $50 US, sweaters around $100. ("Jumpers," if you will, mate...) 

It appears in their short history, they've already amassed a following of local professionals and they have their own actively managed and frequently posted-to blog

I've reached out to team Ukko to get some info on what they're all about. In the meantime, enjoy the photos of their first collection...

P.S. - If you're digging this stuff, you have to read yesterday's post. 


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Separation Anxiety

(All images the sole property of J. Lindeberg)

I'm really inspired by a lot of non-golf stuff. I hate to think of golf clothing as a separate entity from the menswear world, because, frankly, that's dangerous and a license for disaster. I won't be placed in a box of someone else's construction... I read fantastically put-together menswear blogs daily and much of the inspiration for this site comes from them. 

I love how JL chose to shoot these stills for their s/s 2010 menswear (non-golf) collection - with the model sporting JL's new golf shoe. I like the pairing of sportswear with formal clothing and I love the whole fashion meets function vibe from these shots. 

When I choose my clothing for the course - I like to be a little bit different - stuff like this really inspires me to take a second look at my preoccupations with what 'golf clothing' means... 

One thing I've found is you can be much more creative than most apparel companies would have you think. You don't need to stick to golf-specific manufacturers when you choose golf apparel - that will only hinder individuality. 

I think the simplest way to look at things is to consider the fact that you're headed outside to participate in a recreational activity. You need traction and stability to swing the club (from your shoe) and you need room and comfort to turn (from your clothing) - beyond that your options are nearly endless. You have to decide, "How important are performance qualities to me?" To us, they aren't everything. I'd rather be comfortable with the way my clothing fits and looks than wear a shirt that has certain performance features, but looks space age. 

In today's golf market, many companies are coming around to the fact that you can incorporate performance and technical features into a piece that also looks great - because a large amount of consumers and pros alike do take the performance capabilities -moisture wicking, SPF, anti-microbial properties, etc. - into account. 

A company that comes to mind is Dunning - Ralph Dunning started designing gear for triathletes, so performance is paramount; at the same time Ralph also happens to be into 60's mod gear and 80's prep style - so Dunning is working on blending performance with style in a new and exciting way, like a CoolMax/Merino wool blend for sweaters and slim-cut herringbone trousers that breathe.   

Blending fashion with function is one of the things JL has always kept as a mantra for the brand: classic yet active, energetic. The key for me is really the transitional elements of this ideal - the blurring of the edges, so to speak, between clothing for sport and clothing for casualwear. You see it everywhere these days - workwear is HUGE in mainstream fashion - plaids, boots, selvedge denims, leathers, industrial-strength jackets and coats. Old workwear and sport brands have been revitalized in American fashion - Red Wing Boots, Barbour jackets, Sperry Topsider, Woolrich, LL Bean... 

When I go out to play golf, I want to be wearing something I'd feel comfortable in on the streets, I don't want to pull up to the ATM on my way to the course and have someone be able to readily distinguish that I'm on my way to the club. With the way prep-style has re-emerged as the go-to for the younger set, this is not an outlandish suggestion. I could just as easily be wearing a cricket sweater or an argyle vest to a downtown meeting, as I could to the first tee. 

I suppose the message here is one of open-mindedness... Do not place restrictions on your creativity by boxing yourself in with what the industry or other influences have defined as "golf clothing." It is much more practical, in our on-the-go world, to create transitional looks that work wherever life may take you today. I say this a lot, but "Have some fun with it..."


Monday, December 14, 2009

The KC's Christmas List

1) Abacus Golf Pullover (
2) Abacus Golf Pitch Jacket (
3) Phineas Cole by Paul Stuart belt (
4) Phineas Cole by Paul Stuart belt (
5) RLX LS FZ Jacket (
6) Peter Millar V-Neck 12-gauge cashmere sweater (
7) Ralph Lauren Black Label cashmere cardigan (
8) Polo by Ralph Lauren cable-knit cashmere crewneck sweater (
9) Dunning Tour Slim-Fit Polo ( (
10) J. Lindeberg Larson Micro-Twill (
11) RLX Green Pant (
12) J. Lindeberg Sellers slim-fit trouser (
13) Marcoliani Milano socks (
14) FootJoy pebbled leather saddle Icons (


More Nedbank Style...

(All photos are the sole property of Getty Images and are borrowed)

Bet Your Bottom Color?

(Photos the sole property of Getty Images)

A little analysis on the style selections from the professional tours today at the KC... Something we haven't done in a while. Case study: Nick Watney at the Nedbank - Gary Player's tournament in South Africa that draws a strong field. 

First off, I'd like to clarify here that I love Watney's efforts and creativity with his looks. He clearly put some time into his selections. In the top photo I liked the movement of color through the look, it's not overdone - subtle navy stripe on the FJ Icon Sport, navy gator belt and navy/white stripe, self-collar shirt. I like how the color balance is centered on his top half, I find this works better as a general rule. I definitely would have chosen a white trouser for this look, however. He would appear so crisp in white or even bone - the solid surplus color deadens the look. 

The bottom photo I wanted to show, because he made selections based strongly on color coordination again. The white shirt features bold red stripes and he has paired that with a lighter gray pant and off-white belt - then the piece de resistance - the red and white patent leather custom, 'USA' emblazoned Icons. Too much... It's just too light on top and heavy on the bottom - the balance from the look is totally thrown. 

I love all the pieces from the bottom look individually - except the shoes. A solid white shoe would kick a** here. Or even the Icon sport with a red stripe a' la the Luke Donald shot from "...Looks of the Year." Don't get me wrong, I love Watney's patriotism, but he doesn't have the fire power to pull these off. Camilo, maybe Miguel Angel Jimenez or even Hunter Mahan, they are really the only guys I can think of who could...


Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Inspirations

(All photos the property of Getty Images/Reuters Pictures/The Associated Press/Time Magazine and others...)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

9 Holes with Travis Johnson - Founder and Creative Director of Travis Mathew - Part 1

(Photo of Travis in his UCLA days)

The KC recently caught up with Travis Johnson, founder and creative director of Travis Mathew apparel. Travis is a passionate young guy, former touring professional and has some really unique ideas about style. We think you'll enjoy...

KC: Travis, thanks for agreeing to sit down with us. We'll do a 9-hole questioning format to keep it true to the game...

Travis: I like your spin on playing nine, eighteen is way too much for a guy with A.D.D. It was great meeting you a few weeks ago...

KC: Travis, you mentioned that a wide range of stuff inspired you in the development of the spring/summer 2010 stuff. Can you name a few of the inspirations and how they're reflected in the clothing?

Travis: Well, as you know, I always source my inspiration for our new lines from outside of golf. For our spring/summer 2010 Collection, “Electric,” I got a lot of coloring and design ideas from the Coachella Music Festival that I attended last year. It was a pretty amazing line-up including bands like Kraftwerk, Roger Waters from The Original Pink Floyd, The Raconteurs, Portishead, and the Verve. The sheer lighting, music, and energy from the event were enough to give anybody a major dose of sensory overload. I drew a lot of inspiration from the show’s typical outdoor rock & roll theme, but also this year’s “light show” that went on throughout the night. The captivating night was filled with vibrant beams of light and color giving the evening a rather “electric” feeling. I tried to let these themes and feelings spillover to this upcoming year’s spring/summer collection, which will hit stores Feb 1.

KC: It seems like the goal is to get TM to that oft-used distinction of "lifestyle" brand - what steps are you taking to round out the collection, so to speak, and outfit your customer from tee box to town?

Travis: We have set out to achieve many goals at Travis Mathew and a part of our main vision here is to have our golf brand evolve into a fully-fashioned, lifestyle brand. However, just like any up-and-coming brand, you have to stick to the basics and what you know. Right now, we know how to make great golf clothing and we will not lose focus of that. At the same time, in order to not lose sight of our ultimate plan we have spent this last year acquiring the experience we need in order to start adding these new categories to our collections. The result of this last year’s investment will be seen for the first time in our spring/summer 2010 collection. We will be adding a nice line of dress pants, dress shorts, reversible outerwear, and golf inspired t-shirts, as well as few other cool accessories. Keep your eye out for these new additions, as they are our first step in growing our collection to better represent the lifestyle that surrounds our brand.

KC: Who is the ideal Travis Mathew customer? Who are you shooting for with the clothing/attitude/vibe of the product?

Travis: As much as I'd like to put a finger on who we sell to mostly, I've got to be honest and say that there is no pure age or demographic to our customer. We see both older and younger individuals alike wearing our product throughout the US. If anything, I would say the few commonalities that I see in our consumer is that they all enjoy clothing, they all care what they look like, and they all have a little spare cash to spend on something that looks different than what they’re used to.

KC: There is a heavy "So Cal" influence in the TM stuff, how would you describe your personal style and what you grew up appreciating about clothing?

Travis: There is definitely some West Coast and Southern California aspects to our product line; however, if you take a closer look to our apparel you will see that we draw inspiration from many more American influences than just the one we live and grew up in. One of our recent best-sellers, the TM “Searslack” and “Searshort” both completely sold out, two collections in a row. That style was derived from my playing days back in the South during ‘05 & ‘06. At the time it seemed like everybody in the South owned a pair of seersuckers and they all cherished them as if they were their Sunday best. I figured we could make an even nicer pair of seersuckers for our consumers throughout the country by upgrading the model with our performance-based qualities and basic TM fit. Point being, Travis Mathew may be based out of Southern California, but we consider ourselves a design team that makes apparel for the masses. To us, it’s not so much about what we like or what we want, it’s about providing what’s not already out there and doing it in a way that embodies the style and quality of [our brand.]

Stay locked into the KC for the rest of the interview with Travis, including Travis' favorite brands and some juice on Travis Mathew's touring pros, John Mallinger and Tommy Armour III...


Monday, December 7, 2009


(Photos the sole property of Getty Images)

Graeme McDowell always looks sharp on the course in his Q'aja, but Sunday at the Chevron World Challenge he really stood out - in a tough-to-pull-off, muted fall ensemble. The soft gray cardigan with the lavender polo, the off-white trouser and shield-tip FJs were the epitome of elegance.

Something to consider - lighter colors for fall. It can be a great look if done well. If you're going for an all-muted look like Graeme, consider the fact that the fit must be perfect or you'll risk looking severely dated. That's why I love this side-shot of Graeme - there is no excess material hanging from the sweater or the pant - just crisp lines everywhere. 

Another note: You absolutely cannot go wrong with purple and gray - you can go much darker than Graeme. Play with different hues and textures of both and you'll always look positively regal. 


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thinking "Small Ball"

We talk a lot on this blog about the little things, whether it be the perfect length, cut, fit of a trouser or shirt, well-chosen accessories and detailing that set different apparel companies apart from the rest - wishful thinking that brands will realize that in today's market, many of the consumers that we know of are looking for stories behind a product, tiny performance aspects, personalized service, perhaps even just a taste of nostalgia and heritage in what they are buying. 

The whole idea of "boutiquing" the golf industry is, in fact, wishful and progressive thinking. In actuality, the big boys: the Nikes, the Adidas/TaylorMades - these are the players that are making a killing in clothing sales. There is nothing wrong with that - but it says something about the industry as a whole. Dare I make the argument that many consumers are educated on products, while many merchandisers and stockists are not. 

Many pro shops across the nation aren't given the education necessary to stock their stores with quality product that reflects a filtered version of what is out there and what are the best possible goods to provide to the golfer. This isn't an indication of price, although price does often play a role. That being said, you don't have to spend a lot more to get a lot more in terms of quality, technology, heritage and progressiveness- which translate to overall consumer enjoyment. 

If a pro stocks a shop with the very best and only the best, at every price point - their membership will buy more clothing and look better in the process. That's why I love the idea of online "boutique" golf stores that only buy and stock merchandise that reflects a certain taste level and certain assurance of quality and performance. is a site that immediately comes to mind. is another. (They are making a heavy golf push as of late.)

It is rare to find a golf pro shop stocked like a boutique - in reality you only need a few brands to really merchandise a shop. If you're carrying 3 or 4 top quality apparel companies in a style for every golfer - you're covering your bases. There is no reason to diversify more than that unless you're selling on a huge scale. You have your Peter Millar and Polo Golf for the older generation, RLX, JL and Dunning for the young and the young-at-heart and you're set. (These are, of course, examples...)

Members of all ages want "hip" and current stuff, yet so many merchandisers are afraid to make changes in their seasonal lineups for fear of not moving soft goods. 

Clothing isn't like equipment where you can run with your old war horses for seasons and seasons and continue to sell year after year. Stylish golf clothing is fashion - love it or hate it. It ebbs and it flows and it re-invents itself. Yes, the golf market is often a little behind, but never have we been at a place where the menswear market is more parallel to what's being offered by golf apparel companies. 

Brands like Polo, JL, Dunning, Peter Millar - these guys offer lifestyle collections that can clothe your membership from head-to-toe. All it takes is a little buying savvy and an appreciation and taste level that are going to make your shop stand out. Successful merchandisers know that when people come into the store, they want a quality shopping experience, at any level. If this means having the ability to buy the best $60 shirt on the market, then that's what they should have access to. It's really the golfer's right and the shop's prerogative to not have winter blow-out sales where everything is left from the fall, because the already poor selection has been picked over and dismantled and the shop needs to see some sort of profit. It's a lose-lose for both parties. 

Purchase cool shoes, cool belts, an equal mix of traditionally cut and slimmer, more progressive designs, limited edition stuff, great outerwear, unique "gift" pieces and then bread-and-butter standards. Hell, I say bring in a few pieces for the street or the town... Too risky? That is what consumers are looking for! Carefully chosen suggestions on how to live and look good - on the course or at home. "Boutique" your shop - it will pay off!

If you'd like more information on this and other "off-the-cuff" KC ideas, we're always open for business. Having a better shopping venue for your members will reverberate throughout the club or course experience as a whole.