Connect with us

Equipment

How Dunning Changed Golf Apparel

Published

on

He’s called “The Dunning Player,” and he does everything most golfers want to do. He takes golf trips to the UK with friends; he plays once per week and shoots in the 70s or better; he relishes opportunities to carry his own bag and uses a Scotty Cameron putter. Surprisingly, this man isn’t an avatar constructed by Dunning’s marketing team; it’s a profile of the company’s actual customers based on survey results.

The Dunning Player

  • 20% Travel to play golf in Scotland/Ireland
  • 34% Scratch or single-digit handicap
  • 30% Carry their own bag
  • 30% Use a Scotty Cameron
  • 56% Play 50+ rounds per year

Company founder Ralph Dunning, 52, fits the Dunning Player profile, but not as well as most of his customers. He developed a passion for golf later in life. His 12 handicap might never dip to scratch or even single digits, but the six-time Ironman knows firsthand why someone would make a sport a key part of their life.

In 1989 Dunning founded “Rip N Hammer,” a premium, performance-apparel maker for endurance athletes: namely triathletes, cyclists and fellow Ironmen. Most serious athletes want the best-performing clothes for their sport; it’s these athletes who truly need them. The best Ironmen spend 8-9 hours swimming, biking and running a distance of 26.2 miles. The not-so-good ones can take twice as long. Rip N Hammer’s apparel was enjoyed by both pros and regular joes. It was also appreciated by other companies in the space; Dunning created private-label apparel for Saucony and Cervelo, enthusiast brands for runners and cyclists, respectively.

Brendan Steele wears Dunning on the PGA Tour. He's pictured in the company's "Natural Hand" golf shirt in "Mid Orange Heather." It sells for $79.99.

Brendan Steele in Dunning’s “Natural Hand” golf shirt ($79) in “Mid Orange Heather.”

In 2000, Dunning sold his company. That same year, he attended the annual Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, but just as an observer, so he said yes to an invitation to play golf. It was then he says he developed a staying passion for golf. Adding to his passion was the realization that he could improve on the trendy golf clothes he was wearing that week, which didn’t stand up to the 90-degree temperatures on the Big Island.

“When I finished playing that week, I told my wife I was going back to Toronto to meet with my engineering team and start engineering golf apparel,” Dunning says.

In Toronto, Dunning developed the prototypes for what would become major championship-winning apparel less than a decade later. He leveraged his background in fabric engineering to create a head-to-toe, performance-apparel line that would impress serious golfers. Key to his process was knowing exactly what serious golfers wanted, so he spent a lot of time talking to them, especially good golfers.

When he asked golfers what they wanted from their wind shirts and rain jackets, for example, it was clear that they didn’t want jackets with high collars that could distract them during shots. It was also important for them to be able to pull their sleeves over their forearms when they were hitting finesse shots around the greens.

Dunning continues to focus on details that matter to golfers, like how the company’s golf clothes adapt to the golf posture and move during the swing. He also eschews the common practice of purchasing off-the-rack fabrics, opting instead to engineer his own fabric with natural fibers that can provide performance benefits without the use of chemical treatments.

David Hearn wears Dunning on the PGA Tour. He's pictured in 5-Pocket Stretch Woven Pants ($99) in Tan and a Player Merino V-Neck sweater ($125)

David Hearn in Dunning’s 5-Pocket Stretch Woven pants ($99) and Player Merino V-Neck sweater ($125).

“There’s a difference between fabrics that are inherently breathable and products that are chemically treated,” Dunning says. “You want fabrics that feel good, and by that I mean on your skin and when you reach for them in your closet. At the same time, you want them to feel good on your body, and they have to perform.”

In 2007, Dunning had its big break when Zach Johnson won the Masters wearing the brand. Johnson (who now endorses Oakley apparel) doesn’t fit the mold of golfers who generally win at Augusta National. He’s not long off the tee, so he’s at a disadvantage on the course’s famous par-5 holes. The weather was unseasonably cold that year, however, putting the par-5s out of reach for many in the field. Johnson went the whole week without hitting a par-5 in two, relying on his wedge game to take him to the top of the leaderboard.

The Masters - Final Round

Zach Johnson at the 2007 Masters.

Johnson’s other advantage, according to Dunning, was his clothes. Whereas many golfers in the field were wearing bulky sweaters to stay warm, Johnson was wearing the three-layer system Dunning developed seven years prior in Toronto: a next-to-skin, mock turtleneck “base layer” kept Johnson’s core temperature up and two more slim layers of apparel — a golf shirt and vest — offered a freedom of motion that kept Johnson’s mind on his game and off the temperatures and his clothes.

Even to casual golf fans, it was easy to see the difference between Johnson’s clothes and those being worn that week by Tiger Woods, who dressed in a short sleeve polo and a thick sweater at Augusta.

The Masters - Final Round

Tiger Woods and Stuart Appleby at the 2007 Masters.

Dunning doesn’t claim to have invented performance apparel, but he is widely credited for being the first to bring it to golf. It wasn’t an easy sell. In the early 2000s, he was told many times at golf trade shows in the U.S. and Canada that golf was “a cotton industry.” Johnson’s win lifted Dunning’s company to new heights, and as a result buyers from major retailers started calling: Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Dillards. Who would say no to an opportunity to be in those stores? Dunning didn’t, but it’s now clear to him why they weren’t a good fit for his company.

“It’s very difficult [for employees] to talk about our products the way we want them to at a department store … or at stores like Dicks [Sporting Goods] and Golf Galaxy,” Dunning says. “That’s why we don’t really want to be there.”

Dunning is currently sold at 1,200 golf shops worldwide, a number that’s rising. Growth is especially brisk in the UK, he says, where golfers are asking for the brand after being exposed to it by Americans and Canadians on golf vacations.

David Hearn in Dunning's Stripe Yarn Dye Jersey golf shirt ($89) in light pink/white.

David Hearn in Dunning’s Stripe Yarn Dye Jersey golf shirt ($89) in light pink/white.

“I know a lot of brands that want to earn [our] reputation,” Dunning says. “When we say we offer the best performance, we can say that based on 30 years of experience in the performance space … and that matters.”

A tenet of the running and cycling product worlds is that athletes purchase their gear from specialty shops, behavior driven by the seriousness with which runners and cyclists approach their gear. These athletic boutiques pride themselves on advanced product knowledge and fitting, and because their customers demand it, they stock only the best-performing products. In the golf world, the model translates to what are known green-grass shops — golf stores generally located on golf course properties that are usually run by PGA Professionals. It’s in these kinds of stores that Dunning wants golfers to learn about his apparel, and then hopefully purchase it.

“We made a very conscious decision in 2011 to really just focus on the green-grass community,” Dunning says. “We’re going to deliver the best player-specific product while protecting our game, our industry and the golf professional. That’s what matters to us.”

Learn more about Dunning and its apparel on its website.

Your Reaction?
  • 119
  • LEGIT10
  • WOW6
  • LOL5
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP5
  • OB3
  • SHANK59

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Rev G

    Apr 12, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    so basically “The Dunning Player” is a typical golfing snob with more dollars then sense

  2. CB

    Apr 11, 2017 at 8:08 am

    I have 3 of their garments. Not especially impressed
    2 x Polos – don’t stretch enough, sweaty and do not feel especially nice on the skin. I rarely wear them because of this.
    I also have a vest similar to Zach’s in the photo above. This is great and gets a lot of use – but you can get something very similar from another brand for less than 20$/€/Pounds.

  3. The Real Swanson

    Apr 10, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I’ll stick to Primark. As someone else said, blatant promotional editorial like this should be more clearly identified. Shank off a cliff with a DQ thrown in for good measure in my opinion.

  4. cgasucks

    Apr 9, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    That’s nice…but I’ll stick to my Ben Hogan clothing at Walmart.

  5. setter02

    Apr 9, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Their high-end stuff was very nice, but not worth the price point they were trying to get. Still have a few pairs of the wool pants that I will wear for Spring and Fall golf when I want to break out my wingtip Icons. Poly shirts were just like everything else, tho did stretch more. Would be better to not go for top tier price point and I would think they could be more successful, as didn’t they basically go under once?

  6. John Agel

    Apr 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I’ve not tried it or heard of it.
    The Best golf gear ever so far for me is Antigua. Their Desert Dri fabric is a miracle. First, it breathes. Second, even here in the heat and humidity of Georgia, the fabric really does dry during the round. Oh and unlike most “performance wear” Antigua, breathes and helps cool you.
    I do not work for Antigua.

    • ooffa

      Apr 8, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      C’mon, yes you do. I saw you at the company picnic.

  7. Jim C

    Apr 7, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Not into putting “paid advertisement” at the beginning to alert GolfWRX readers, huh?

  8. Pingback: Friday, April 7, 2017 – Flog

  9. Brian

    Apr 7, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Yeah, that all sounds very expensive. Thanks, but no thanks. It’s already an expensive game.

  10. Britt Stevenson

    Apr 7, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Tenet not tenant.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Apr 7, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      I appreciate you catching that error, Britt. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Cancel 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.

Equipment

Adidas unveils new ultra-lightweight ZG21 golf shoe

Published

on

Adidas Golf has launched the new ZG21 golf shoe – a high-performance spiked shoe that is both lightweight and comfortable.

ZG21 is the brand’s lightest spiked footwear model to feature Boost cushioning. Per Adidas, the new addition is also up to 20 per cent lighter than comparable spiked models previously in the company’s range and significantly lighter than many competitor models. 

“ZG21 is truly a breakthrough feat in spiked performance. We were able to combine the latest and greatest materials, innovations, and manufacturing processes without sacrificing anything. It changes the game for those who love spiked footwear.” – Masun Denison, global footwear director, Adidas Golf.

The new ZG21 outsole features an ultra-thin TPU construction, six strategically placed cleats, and a new crescent moon-shaped secondary lug designed to optimize grip, support and performance while ultimately reducing weight.

The TPU insert has been created in the lateral sidewall in a bid to provide increased lateral stability and a locked-in feel throughout the swing.

Speaking on the new ZG21 shoes, Dustin Johnson said

“I couldn’t believe how light these were when I put them on. I’ve worn Adidas shoes my entire career and it’s amazing how the team was able to reduce the weight so much while still keeping the great comfort, traction and stability. Players of all skill levels will benefit from what ZG21 has to offer when they put them on and head to the course.”

A lightweight and waterproof (one-year warranty) four-layer upper is combined with innovative textiles and polyurethane films in the new shoe for improved performance. In addition, the SwingPlane traction is inspired by heat-map studies and running from heel to toe. In doing this, Adidas were able to target the areas and place the maximum amount of traction where it’s needed most in the shoe.

The ZG21 comes in four models: men’s laced, men’s and women’s BOA, and a simplified laced offering for junior golfers. 

The two BOA models feature the new BOA Fit System, a ‘Y’-strap design that’s a first in the sport – designed to provide an even higher performance level. The configuration wraps around the foot, creating a secure fit over the instep and provides flexibility and freedom in the toe box. 

The men’s ZG21 BOA is also the first golf shoe on the market to feature Li2 – a sleek, low-profile dial platform that modulates tension when and where needed to provide enhanced speed and execution.

All ZG21 models will be available exclusively on adidas.com and the Adidas app starting today, and at select retail partners worldwide beginning Feb. 1, 2021.

Price:

  • ZG21 – $180
  • ZG21 BOA – $200
  • W ZG21 BOA – $190
  • JR ZG21 – $65
Your Reaction?
  • 2
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Equipment

Partial pitching wedge or gap wedge? – GolfWRXers discuss

Published

on

In our forums, our members have been discussing wedge set-up. WRXer ‘Justcallmemoses’ is currently using a pitching wedge instead of a gap wedge for partial shots, saying:

“Anyone else not carrying a gap wedge and filling the gap using partial shots with the pitching wedge.

47 degree P760 PW 

54 degree Vokey SM7

58 degree Vokey SM7

I’ve tested 50/51 degree, and they are too close to the pitching wedge. I don’t see enough separation to justify carrying the gap wedge.”

Our members have been having their say on the subject in our forums.

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.

  • jol: “If it works you, great. For me, it is an important full and partial swing scoring club. I put two yesterday within a yard of the pin. I needed it since my putting has been crap lately.”
  • cgasucks: “Used to use a 48d, 56d, & 60d setup for years until I was sick and tired of choking down on my PW for shots to cover the gap between 48d to 56d. Got a 52 gap wedge and took out my 60 lob wedge about 6 years ago and been happy ever since. With no lob wedge, I forced myself to open the face of my 56 and learned to use its bounce, and I’m a much better wedge player too.”
  • kiwihacker: “I think 47/54/60 was a very common and popular setup when the typical PW loft was 47°. So if you have a 47° PW this is still a legitimate option. But with most PW seemingly in the 43°-45° loft range these days I think some kind of GW around 50° would be needed.”
  • TLYBulldogGolf: “I’ve played PW/54/60 for forever. I’d say a 4 wedge setup definitely helps with having fewer partial shots, just have to consider the other end of your bag. I’ve played around with adding a 52 and 56, but for now, I’m moving to a T20 47* in lieu of the set PW to see if that helps with the partial shots.”

Entire Thread: “Partial pitching wedge or gap wedge?”

Not yet a GolfWRX member? Sign up for FREE here.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

Switching allegiances – GolfWRXers discuss

Published

on

In our forums, our members have been discussing brand allegiance. WRXer ‘Nelson.Br.1515’ kicks off the thread saying:

“I have just switched my brand allegiance for the 3rd time in my golf equipment life. Went from all things Adams (RIP) to all things Callaway and just switched to Ping (except putter that’s not going anywhere). Anyone else bounce from one manufacturer to the other? Successes? Regrets?”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts and experiences in our forum – and whether or not they have a brand allegiance.

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.

  • Roejye: “My allegiance kind of goes by clubs. Driver I’m pretty much a Taylormade guy, hybrids Adams (rip), Irons/wedges Cleveland. I’m not particularly brand loyal, I would play whatever works best for me, in my budget.”
  • Hbaker: “For whatever reason, I started with a Taylormade allegiance. I’ve since broadened my horizons and have a mishmash of clubs in the bag with certain preferences but not so much allegiances.”
  • 14max: “I’ve been a PING guy for so long that I can’t remember the last time I played a non-PING club. I like the durability of their older clubs, their philosophy of function over form, and the fact that they value their employees so highly.”
  • Myheorbobhope: “It’s your bag and your 14 clubs, but I’m going to play the best 14 I can find… that said, half my bag is still Adams… (irons, hybrids and woods). I’ll always give certain companies a shot, and tend to default to Vokey wedges… but I’m open to whatever works best… driver usually comes down to if I can get a shaft I like with no upcharge.”

Entire Thread: “Switching allegiances”

Not yet a GolfWRX member? Sign up for FREE here.

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

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending