Last Updated on Monday, 13 July 2015 11:04
Monday, 13 July 2015 10:50
by Jim Claggett
When it comes to clothes many of us do our level best to make a fashion statement about who we are and sometimes what we do.
In the world of golf back in the 70’s that statement may have been along the lines of “I’m fashion blind.”
The gaudier the better it seemed and oh my, did it get gaudy! As things progressed some fashion-wise people decided to step in, a sort of a clothing intervention, if you will, to prevent the garment version of the Titanic from hitting the iceberg.
AUR is one of those companies who saw the future when it came to golf shirts. The group, based out of Quebec, has been around the apparel market in one form or another for almost a half century.
Skiers will know the brand under the Sunice logo since the 70’s and golfers have been seeing the shirts on the courses since the 80’s.
It’s a real Canadian success story where most of the country gets about seven months of golf weather and five months of skiing conditions. The best of both worlds on would suppose.
AUR doesn’t really stand for anything but it is a rebranding of the familiar Aureus golf shirts which has a tag line of “ AUR. For all that you are,” according to vice president of sales for the company, Derek Faith.
The apparel business is as competitive as any other branch of the golf industry. Faith says the interesting thing about their section of the multi-billion dollar golf industry is the addition of bigger, non-traditional golf brand companies into the apparel market within golf.
“You’ve got Nike and Adidas and Under Armour and Oakley which were never traditional golf brands. They were always athletic brands.”
While having more players in the clothing game has amped up the competition Faith says the traditional golf shirt brands hold their own with a solid base in the local golf shops who readily display their garments.
“They like to carry those brands because you can’t find them everywhere like you could a Nike,” he said. “ They certainly like the benefits of having unique brands that can only be found in their shops.”
Now of course just being in a space where your product is on display isn’t going to drive sales. You need to catch the customer’s eye with a product which is appealing to them.
Faith says golf has its own flavour with a very unique style to it when it comes to clothing and many golfers still like the bright colours.
“They enjoy the specific fashion you wouldn’t typically find in an athletic polo, whether it be the stripes or check/stripes which is usually a unique design feature to golf.”
He says shirts worn on the course are a big part of what they do but AUR has also been developing what he refers to as “lifestyle inspired” pieces because people want cross functional articles to be worn on and off the golf course.
Interestingly enough, there is plenty of science put into making a golf shirt. Now we’re not talking beakers of bubbling liquid flowing through tubes, flashes of lightning indoors and scientists with lab coats and out of control hair making shirts. But science does have a role.
Faith says the garment has to be a breathable fabric and be able to stretch to give the player good range of motion. “You just don’t want to feel it (the shirt) when you’re playing golf,” he said. “You want to make sure that you’re focused on your game and not necessarily on what you’re wearing. We like to say comfort really is the absence of discomfort.”
AUR is an exclusive user of X-static, a fabric which has 99.9% pure silver woven into the thread.
Yep, he said silver. “Silver is anti-microbial by nature so it actually kills the bacteria that causes odour. On a polyester golf polo that you wear 20 times it will smell and that smell just doesn’t wash out. But with the silver fabric it will never, ever smell.”
But the science lab properties of these shirts doesn’t stop there, he said. “Silver is thermally conductive, it’s one of the most conductive elements on the planet.
So in the areas where your body generates heat, the silver helps to spread that heat out over a wider area and makes you cool down a lot faster. So we’ve got easily the most technical golf polo on the market today.”
Colours are a little more conservative now after a few years of shirts with more neon versions than the Vegas strip but there is still a good amount of flash in golf shirts these days.
“People are more interested in looking great on the golf course all the way from your golf polo matching your pants but also your layering,” he said. “So your sweater, your quarter zip and your rain suit.”
In order to come up with all the different designs for the consumer Faith says it’s a full year process to keep ahead in the game. “Spring ’16 is already put to bed and we’re working on Spring ’17 so we’re working more than 12 months in advance on these collections.”
He says if the product doesn’t allow the player the freedom to swing away or it doesn’t feel good then it’s back to the drawing board.
So even if your golf game doesn’t make the right statement you can at least look good when you’re out there and for many of us hackers it’s not a bad trade, all in the name of science.
By Jim Claggett
Jim Claggett is a journalist located in Red Deer, Alberta. He has been Inside Golf's Alberta Editor for the past eight years.
More articles by Jim Claggett