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Q&A with Oakley Golf: “We’re armed and ready to be a leader”

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Al Janc, Oakley’s sports marketing manager, took the time to answer these questions from GolfWRX Managing Editor Zak Kozuchowski about the future of Oakley Golf.

ZK: The two latest additions to Team Oakley, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson, have both won The Masters (Bubba in 2012, Zach in 2007). But they have different personalities and contrasting styles of play. How are they both fits for Team Oakley?

AJ: Bubba and Zach do have different personalities, different games and go about their business in different ways on the golf course. We believe this is a benefit, as both guys appeal to different target demographics, which widens our consumer base.  While both of these young men have contrasting styles, they have values that align with our brand’s core values of Passion, Authenticity, Performance, Humility and Innovation. Bubba and Zach believe in family and faith and they respect the game of golf.  They maintain professionalism on and off the course, and believe the game of golf should be for everyone to play and enjoy, not just the elite.  They both keep themselves in excellent physical shape and wear the Oakley apparel collection very well.

ZK: How do endorsements like Watson’s and Johnson’s work? Do athletes approach Oakley, or vice versa? 

AJ: It works both ways. In some instances, we have identified and pursued athletes. In other instances, we’ve been approached by individuals that, after meeting them and analyzing their body of work, we felt they were a good fit for the Oakley brand and culture and signed them up to endorse the brand.

Courtesy of Oakley

ZK: The Oakley website lists team members in dozens of sports. What is the company’s commitment to golf and where does it see growth potential?

AJ: Most people know Oakley as a performance eyewear company, but even avid golfers still don’t know we’re committed to categories  outside of our eyewear: apparel, footwear and accessories. This perception is quickly changing, however, due to a number of factors: the performance of our athletes on professional golf tours around the world, the quality of the products we’re producing and the incredible ambassadorship Oakley maintains at the grassroots level. From a US standpoint, there are tremendous growth opportunities as it pertains to a number of entities in the golf space—apparel, footwear, accessories, women and active ophthalmic eyewear. From  a global standpoint, there is huge a opportunity in every segment of our golf business as we are now diving into a wider market.

ZK: Who is the Oakley Golf brand targeting – golfers or athletes? Does Oakley believe that there is a difference between the two?

AJ: Oakley does not believe there is a distinction between a golfer and an athlete any more. Years ago, people who played golf didn’t have the physical skills to keep up on the diamond, gridiron, or basketball court. That is not the case any longer. The athletes playing the sport of golf now, and in many cases, are choosing to be a golfer rather than a football, basketball or baseball player.

ZK: In your opinion, what’s the most important thing a golfer wears on the course?

AJ: It would probably be the golf shoe followed closely by  eyewear.  Golfers spends an incredible amount of time on their feet during the course of the day, so their shoes need to be as  light and comfortable as possible without giving up any performance benefits when it comes to swinging a driver and knocking a ball 300 yards or more. The shoes need to have a stable platform, be light and comfortable with incredible traction all wrapped in design lines true to the Oakley design.

Courtesy of Oakley

Eyewear is key piece of equipment as well. We are really seeing a trend in players protecting their eyes from the sun, wind and foreign particles blowing around on a golf course.  You cannot reverse eye damage and you are seeing many of the modern players understand this and adapting to wearing eyewear.  We believe those athletes who play in eyewear have a huge advantage over the competitors who don’t by reducing eyestrain from squinting into the elements all day long. Oakley has created an array of lens tints specifically suited for the game of golf and the changing light conditions. We also have sports specific frames like Fast Jacket and Radar Lock that were conceived so athletes and consumers have the ability to change out their lenses in varying light conditions quickly and easily.

ZK: What should golf fans expect from the Oakley brand in golf in 2013 and beyond?

Innovation. Innovation is in Oakley’s DNA. The company was built on the premise that “everything can and will be made better,” and that includes our own designs. With patented technologies in our eyewear, apparel and footwear we’re armed and ready to be a leader in the industry when it comes to cutting edge innovations for the sport of golf. We’re excited about the many opportunities that lay in front of us as a brand.

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. DLanger

    Jan 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Dave Pelz was pictured wearing Oakley shoes all last year in Golf Magazine. It looks like Oakley is making the push, but in my opinion they need to match Addidas in performance and comfort. For me, Addidas fits me best and has the best platform for lateral movements. Last year’s models could not compete with my 3 year old Tour 360’s.

  2. jhill

    Jan 15, 2013 at 9:52 am

    That’s cool they think ZJ has fans… good for him. He does wear glasses when he plays I think so that was probably part of it. They need to scrap everything and start over on shoes. Keegan looked ridiculous last year in those things. Bubba is very marketable. That partnership has some potential. I just hope they let him wear FJ’s until they get things figured out.

  3. Troy Vayanos

    Jan 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    It’s interesting because I’ve always identified Oakley as predominately an eye wear company. Even after seen Rory McIlroy wear their clothing it’s always been their eye wear that I have associated them with.

    This will be the challenge for Oakley to change the perception and have themselves viewed as a leader in all golf and athletic apparel.

    Bubba and Zach are two great role models for golf and Oakley have done well to sign both. Losing Rory McIlroy will hurt them but these two guys are very well respected and always command plenty of television coverage.

    Thanks for the interview, much appreciated.

    • FATZ

      Jan 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Hard to take footwear seriously when NONE of their athletes wear it.

      Rory didn’t, Bubba doesn’t, Zack doesn’t. Only guy who did is Keegan and they let him get away.

      • floycota

        Jan 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm

        Oakley shoes are great, the problem with them is that they don’t make most of their styles in anything but D. People have wide and narrow feet. Start making more sizes and I’ll start buying them again. They are my favorite shoes, when I can get them in a wide.

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotlight: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue review

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TaylorMade on the tech features of the TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

  • V Steel Sole design

    The v-shaped sole allows for clean turf interaction and provides additional versatility when playing from tight or difficult lies

  • Twist Face

    Uses corrective face angles designed to overcome inherent golfer tendencies on mis-hits and to produce straighter shots

  • Thru-Slot Speed Pocket

    Our breakthrough Thru-Slot Speed Pocket technology delivers enhanced sole flexibility to create additional ball speed as well as improved forgiveness on low-face mis-hits

  • C300 Ultra-Strong Steel Face

    High-strength C300 steel allows for a stronger, faster face engineered for explosive speed performance *Only SIM Max Fairway and Rescue

How it looks: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

I’ll be honest here: I hate hybrids. They look goofy and I hit em high and left 101 percent of the time. However, every once in a while I’ll find one that I can warm up to. It’s happened twice in the last five years: PXG Gen 2 and SIM Max. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but this hybrid looks like it’s gonna get into the turf and I’m actually gonna hit a good shot. The color scheme is clean and simple. The lines are sleek and not boxy, which is always a bonus. Sometimes hybrids look like a brick on a stick to me. This one does not.

How it feels: TaylorMade SIM Max hybrid

This is where I got really intrigued: the feel. It’s solid. Really solid. Now, I must say that TM didn’t reinvent the wheel with this thing, but the SIM Max is just a simple solid hybrid that is easy to hit and gets through the turf. The V Steel helps that I reckon. It has a nice heavy hit which is good since this is supposed to transition from woods to irons.

Overall: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

It’s a winner. Not hybrid of the century or anything, but a club that could stay in the bag for a while and produce solid results. Look, we have 14 slots to play and they all have a job to do. You cannot go wrong by giving this one a slot in the starting lineup!

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What GolfWRXers have spent more money on – Drivers vs Putters

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In our forums, WRXer ‘2down’ has got our members talking about their purchase history and whether drivers or putters have taken more of their money. For ‘2down’ the answer is putters, who has a respectable seven flat-sticks sitting around his home, and our members divulge their history with drivers slightly edging it so far.

  • getitdaily: “Putters, but I change drivers more frequently…how does that make sense? When I change putters I will go through 7-10 of them until I find my bride. Then I stick with my bride for a while. I’ve had 2 brides…an old scotty newport beach studio stainless. Took about 10 putters to find it and then played it for like 12 years. Current bride is a spider tour plumbers neck. It’s been in the bag for 1.5 years now. Took about 8 putters to get to it, including a somewhat long term relationship with a 2ball fang. Since 1996 I think I’ve had 10 drivers total. 4 in the last 4 years.”
  • platgof: “I would say 24 drivers and 12 putters thereabouts. Took a long time to find what I wanted. I am still looking all the time though, it’s a disease, totally incurable. Now it is the wedges, and the SM7’s have my eye for now!”
  • CDLgolf: “Thats a really good question. At the moment I have 4 putters and 2 drivers. Over the last 25 years I’d have to say I’ve bought more drivers.”
  • Ray Jackson: “Definitely drivers as have used the same putter for at least the last 5 years. In that time frame I’ve probably had 4 drivers.”
  • dekez: “Drivers for sure. I go 6 – 7 years before even thinking about a putter switch.”

Entire Thread: “Your history – Drivers vs Putters”

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Phil Mickelson WITB, 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open

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  • Equipment is accurate as of the Waste Management Phoenix Open (2016).

Driver: Callaway XR 16 Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 60 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway X Hot 3 Deep (13 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 70 X (tipped 1.5 inches)

Hybrid: Callaway Apex (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S Hybrid 100 TX

Utility iron: Callaway Apex UT (21 degrees)
Shaft: KBS Tour-V 125

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro ’16 (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind Wedge (56-13, 60-10, 64-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Putter: Odyssey “Phil Mickelson” Blade
Grip: Odyssey by SuperStroke JP40

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft (2016)

Grip: Golf Pride MCC Black/White

WITB Notes: Mickelson uses the rearward weight setting in his XR 16 Sub Zero driver.

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