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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

Aaron Dill gives deep dive into Nelly Korda’s wedge set-up

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Nelly Korda is flying high in 2021, winning the LPGA Meijer Classic last weekend to become the first player this year to win multiple times on tour.

The 22-year-old fired her career low-round of 62 at the event on Saturday and heads into this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship as one of the favorites as she looks to break her major duck.

Titleist gave golf fans an awesome deep dive into both Nelly and sister Jessica’s WITB earlier this year, and now, master craftsman Aaron Dill has provided fans with an in-depth look at Nelly’s wedge set-up.

Speaking on the process behind fitting Korda for her SM8 wedges, Dill says Nelly sent her current gamers to him, which he then spec’d out to figure out what was missing so that he could then make the perfect set for her.

@vokeywedgerep

On Nelly’s SM8 (50-08F) Gap Wedge:

AD: “This is a great wedge for her; it’s really an extension of her irons. It’s a way for her to branch out of the pitching wedge and into something a little shorter with a little more versatility and short game feel. So this is a great fit for her and matches her gaps nicely.”

On Nelly’s SM8 (54-14F):

AD: “Before, she had less bounce. She had a lot of clubs that were on the lower bounce spectrum, and it limited her on how much short game she could really do or the shots that she could get out of each one.

So as we tested, we began to realise that she was missing some higher bounce clubs in that wedge set, and this one fits that nicely because it doesn’t limit her around the greens. She can hit it from the fairway, in the bunkers, pitches and chips, into the grain – great fit for her.”

On Nelly’s former SM8 (58-08MV):

AD: “She started with a 58 M grind with a V. This was a good fit for her in the beginning, but as we began working together more, she realised that ‘these golf courses I’m playing on, the types of shots I’m trying to hit. I need a little less bounce from time to time.’

And it wasn’t a lot less bounce; it was really more ‘I just need it to be a little less here and there, especially when I’m in the sand.’ This wedge was a little bit wider.”

On Nelly’s SM8 (58-10S):

AD: “This is slightly thinner, with a little ribbon on the back. Ten degrees of bounce, but the bounce is all right here (sole). So when she’s hitting those square faced shots, she has that protection and the bounce that she needs, but when she needs to be creative, the ribbon on the back and the thinner flange helps her have that versatility around the greens. 

But then we took it a step further, and I said, ‘Hey, for you to really maximize potential, especially when you’re going from course to course, that’s when we bring in something a little bit less, into a 58T.”

On Nelly’s SM8 58T:

AD: “I think for her, it was really a moment where she could really take a breath and relax and say, ‘Okay, if things firm up, I’ve got the best wedge for that (58T), if things stay soft, I’ve got this too (58-10S).’ So she carries both. She takes them from course to course; she decides which one fits based on conditions.”

On Nelly’s Aerotech SteelFiber i95 wedge shafts:

AD: “She plays a SteelFiber graphite shaft at 1/2 an inch over as she’s very tall and Tour Velvet grips, and she’s a little bit upright. So she likes to have more of that straight to slightly draw-biased ball flight – it’s a great way to help her bring her ball flight down, keep that spin up and carry that number that she’s trying to hit at the time.”

Check out the video in full below.

 

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A post shared by Titleist (@titleist)

Follow Aaron Dill on Instagram here and Nelly Korda here.

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GolfWRX Spotted: Cam Smith’s 2021 Titleist T100 irons with black finish

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Titleist dropped some big news this week, announcing that their new T-Series irons had begun Tour seeding. Our exclusive in-hand photos of the clubs from this week’s Travelers Championship are currently in our forums, with links below on this page.

At this week’s event, we have also spotted the new T100 irons from Titleist with a blacked-out finish. Australian’s Cam Smith has the clubs in the bag at TPC River Highlands, and it’s a finish that has caught our members’ eyes.

 

Have your say on Cam Smith’s 2021 Titleist T100 irons with a black finish here.

Exclusive in-hand photos

 

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (06/23/21): Axis 1 Rose putter

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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 an Axis 1 Rose putter ($395).

From the seller (@HoganHQ): “Axis 1 Rose putter, played 1 round, 34.25 inches, Brand new Flat Cat grip, headcover included $395”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Axis 1 Rose putter.

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

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