Connect with us

Equipment

Oakley as a golf brand? Exactly

Published

on

On the surface, it doesn’t make much sense. Why would Oakley — a brand beloved by surfers, snowboarders, skiers, skaters and otherwise “cool” people — want to be a golf brand? Doesn’t it know that golfers are notoriously uncool, and that for every Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy there are 50 Tour players who make Chris Kirk seem exciting?

GolfWRX regulars might have noticed that we’ve been learning a lot about the Southern-California based company lately. When Oakley signed Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson in 2013, we did a Q&A with the company’s sports marketing manager. We followed up with a feature on the impact Bubba Watson has had in shaping Oakley product this spring, and spent this summer reviewing Oakley’s Carbon Pro 2 golf shoes, M2 Frame and Holbrook sunglasses and its latest golf apparel.

What we’ve found is that few companies spend as much time perfecting its products as The Ellipse, which became even more evident when I visited Oakley headquarters.

IMG_2193

Oakley HQ, nicknamed the “Design Bunker,” looks like a spaceship that might blast off from its Foothills Ranch, Calif. location. Even though it’s a public facility that includes a retail store and a walk-in warranty department, the winding, tank-equipped driveaway screams “keep out” to poindexters.

IMG_2200

The coolness threshold was reinforced in the lobby, where I was instructed to wait for my tour guide in an authentic fighter jet ejector seat. I, in khakis and a polo, wondered if I was about to be propelled through the vaulted ceilings of the main lobby. Was I cool enough to be in this place?

IMG_2155

Luckily, it was another case of a journalist making stuff up, and I made my way through the public lobby and into the private Oakley hallways unscathed.

IMG_2163

If you’re waiting for a photo tour of HQ, the production facilities and research labs I saw, you’re out of luck, as just about all of the areas were off limits for photography. Oakley protects its prototype products and procedures more tightly than any golf apparel company I’ve ever toured, which is why it makes sense to shift the conversation from what exactly Oakley does to produce its apparel, footwear and accessories to why it does it in the first place.

For that answer, I talked to Nathan Strange, Oakley’s head of global golf marketing. Strange spent a decade working at one of the golf equipment industry’s traditional powerhouses, and is the man responsible for the now famous Bubba Hovercraft video.

The outside-the-box video was perfect for the Oakley brand, Strange said, as it showcased what I kept hearing from every member of the Oakley golf team.

“We’re different,” they kept saying.

I, like you, have seen the barrage of Oakley marketing material that has hit the internet in 2014. It includes the message that Oakley is “Disruptive by Design” and celebrates the company’s 30-year anniversary of releasing innovative products. In the early days, those products included motorcycle hand grips, goggles and performance sunglasses that were a hit with extreme sports athletes.

How do you know that you’ve been sufficiently disruptive since? I won’t play the game of what’s disruptive and what’s not, but I will say this. When your brand is healthy enough to get House of Cards frontman Kevin Spacey to narrate your video, you’re doing better than ok.

But a spokesman like Spacey, or even endorsers such as Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson don’t actually change a brand or a sub brand. They might change its perception, or even offer a new insight, but their affiliation does not by itself make something different.

So what actually makes Oakley different? I kept wondering this, and prodded team members with questions that I hoped would lead me to that answer. It didn’t hit home until I sat with Strange at the end of my visit that I finally figured it out.

At the core of Oakley’s business has always been an obsession with individual athletes, the hard-working, go-it-alone perfectionists who do whatever it takes to reach their goal. That’s when it occurred to me that while golf will never be labeled as an extreme sport, the demands golf places on its players are extreme. Few other sports need its athletes to be as precise and consistent as golfers need to be in the time it takes golfers to play 18 holes, and even fewer sports place those athletes on ever-changing courses and climates that are as variable as the ones golfers face.

Let’s look at Oakley’s marquee product in golf, its sunglasses, which became popular in part thanks to their use by David Duval and Annika Sorenstam in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Sunglasses were nothing new to the sport, but Oakley’s models were comfortable, precise and protective against the damage the sun and debris can do to a golfer’s eyes. It didn’t hurt, either, that people thought they were cool.

Screen-Shot-2014-08-06-at-1.03.19-PM

Above is Bubba Watson’s outfit script for Sunday at the 2014 PGA Championship, with White Take 3.0 pants and the Markus Polo.

Now, Oakley is making even better sunglasses that are more adaptable and available in more styles. Its expanded into performance-first polos, jackets, accessories and golf pants that look the part on the course, but could just as easily be worn in yoga class. They’re that soft, lightweight, bendable and breathable. Again, nothing new, but they just perform a little better.

So why is Oakley in the golf business? Simply put, its team thinks it can make better apparel and accessories than the big guys. In fact, its team thinks that it already has. For the team of performance-obsessed sports product people, what’s cooler than that?

Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Takeaway: A Look at the Golf Industry (November 2014) « Grow the Game Central

  2. stripe

    Oct 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I can get down with the clothes but will always stick with FJ.

  3. Gregg

    Oct 15, 2014 at 10:49 am

    At the high school golf level I see a lot of Under Armour clothing and very little Oakley stuff.

  4. Craig

    Oct 15, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Oakley lost it’s cool factor a long time ago. And Bubba has never been cool.

  5. hjsdl

    Oct 14, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Oakley makes very good products and had Rory not signed with Nike, Oakley might have been one of the top selling clothing brands in golf by now.

  6. Corny

    Oct 14, 2014 at 2:43 am

    I hate that O symbol, it gets in the way of everything, it looks so out of place and corny. It’s corny baby, yeah, corny!

  7. J

    Oct 14, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Wonder when Oakley makes a putter…. Bet they do.

  8. RumtumTim

    Oct 13, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Oakley hasn’t been “cool” since the LeMond days.

    • Ponjo

      Oct 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      That’s like saying Nike has not been cool since Tiger did what he did.

  9. Mike Belkin

    Oct 13, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    I do view Oakley as a disruptive brand especially in the golf space, but am surprised at how little we see Oakley product on our NCCGA college golfers. Part of that may be that NCCGA college teams are somewhat geographically East-coast centric, however.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Whats in the Bag

WITB GolfWRX Members Edition: Jbrunk

Published

on

Recently we put out the call for our members to submit their WITBs in our forum to be featured on the GolfWRX front page. Since then, our members have been responding in numbers!

Now it’s time to take a look at the bag of Jbrunk.

*Full details on the submission process can be found here, and you can submit your WITB in this forum thread.*

Member: Jbrunk

Driver: Cobra King F6+ (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 62 S

4-wood: Callaway Mavrik Subzero (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue White 130 MSI 70 S

3-hybrid: Callaway Mavrik Pro (20 degrees)
Shaft: FST KBS Hybrid 80 S

4-hybrid: Callaway Apex 19 (23 degrees)
Shaft: Project X EvenFlow Black 85 S

Irons: Callaway 2018 X-Forged 5i-7i / Apex MB 8i-PW
Shafts: Nippon Modus3 120 S

Wedges: Mizuno S18 (51-08, 56-10, 60-10 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Wedgeflex

Putter: Bettinardi 2017 Studio Stock 28 (center shaft)
Grip: SuperStroke CounterCore Pistol GT

Golf Ball: Taylormade TP5 Pix 2.0

Get submitting your WITB in our forum as we’ll be publishing more and more of them on our front page over the coming days and weeks.

Feel free to make it your own too by including some thoughts on your setup, your age, handicap, etc. Anything you feel is relevant!

Share your WITBs here.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

4-wood vs 7-wood vs hybrid – GolfWRXers discuss

Published

on

In our forums, our members have been discussing optimal setup at the top of the bag. WRXer ‘Layts14’ is torn between going 4W, 7W or hybrid, and explains his predicament to begin the thread saying:

“Recently won a fairway metal or hybrid and struggling to choose what to get. Currently have driver, 3W, 5W, 23* hybrid. I am tempted to try something new in the bag like a TSi2 4W or 7W. 

Another option is to upgrade the hybrid to a 24* TSi2 or a G425 26* hybrid to gap between 5i and 5W. 

Is it time to experiment with a new fairway loft? And if I go 7w, so I go 70g shaft like 3W and 5W or bump up to 80g since shaft length is decreasing?”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts in the thread.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • bazinky: “I’d vote for the 7 wood. I plan on experimenting with one soon since it seems that Par 5 approaches and the longer par 3s on most course now often require something that stops faster than a long iron or hybrid.”
  • Billfitz: “I got rid of all my fairway woods, replaced them with hybrids (in my signature). The hybrids are just as good off the tee, better off the deck, and they handle the rough. I’d stopped carrying my 3w for a long time, as I almost never used it. I use my 2H on average four shots every round.”
  • hammergolf: “I can tell you for me, putting a 7wd in the bag has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Much better than my previous 3 hybrid. GREAT at coming out of the rough. I still carry a 4hy, but I play 3wd, 7wd. I just hit shots with my 7 wood that I can’t hit with a hybrid. As crazy as it sounds, I look at my 7 we as a scoring club now. I’ve lost count of how many birdies I’ve made with it. My playing partners hate to see it come out of the bag….”
  • buynagame: “I have 4 wood then 19 and 22 G410 hybrids. Works great for me. The shorter shafts on hybrids make them more accurate. The 4 wood is used on the short tee shots and rare trying to hit par 5 in 2.”

Entire Thread: “4-wood vs 7-wood vs hybrid – GolfWRXers discuss”

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (09/8/21): Tour Issue Odyssey Tuttle Pro X

Published

on

At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Tour Issue Odyssey Tuttle Pro X

From the seller (@Heathbar): “Mint tour issue unicorn odyssey stroke lab Tuttle. This putter is straight from the tour van and has an updated PRO X insert and one of a kind alignment lines. Putter is shafted with a stroke lab shaft and a Jon Rahm pistol grip. 33.5”. $800 OBO”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Tour Issue Odyssey Tuttle Pro X

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending