(Written By: Spy Zinger) Anyone else tired of the same ’ol golf apparel brands you see in every one of your local golf shops? Unfortunately, for most golfers we only have one or maybe two golf stores within what most of us would consider reasonable driving distance. And almost all of these stores only carry the big brand names. You know the names I’m talking about: Nike, Adidas, Puma, Foot-Joy, Oakley, Under Armour and maybe one new hip brand if your lucky.
But, while golf equipment companies are shrinking and consolidating, the apparel side of industry has seen an explosion with not only new brands but some top-notch new names as well. So our “apparel guru” Spy_Zinger thought it was time to shed some light on “5 Impressive Apparel Brands To Consider In 2013″.
// Chase 54
Chase 54 is a perfect numbered brand name that hasn’t happened yet. At least in tournament golf. The “54” in Chase 54 refers to the “perfect round” of golf on a Par 72 course. A birdie on every hole, 18 under par. Although some have been close, it’s yet to happen in a professional golf tournament. The chase continues however, Chase 54, the golf apparel company is alive and well. Chase 54 describes themselves as an apparel company built by golfers, for golfers. They are a company that prides themselves with apparel selections that look great on and off the golf course at affordable prices.
When the gear from Chase 54 arrived, I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of shirt styles, colors, and fabric. Their pallet is deep and will satisfy the style as well as material preferences of almost every player. I was equally surprised to learn about their eco-friendly materials used in the construction of their products. Chase 54 utilizes sustainable coffee yarn derived from 36% recycled coffee grounds blended with 64% polyester. Also used is Sorona Flycool fabric, which is a polymer sourced from corn and is durable yet soft. Blended with polyester and nylon, the material is stain resistant and moisture wicking. Their polyester fiber is eco-friendly as well produced from recycled plastic bottles.
The quality construction, and attention to detail is evident in Chase 54 shirts. As many of us can attest, usually the first area of the shirt to fail is the collar. Chase 54 incorporates removable collar-stays to give the dress shirt appearance similar to high-end button-up oxfords. Both the styling and color options of their shirts are universal and most can easily be worn both on and off the golf course. Their fit remains fairly true to size however, error on going up a size if you are in between sizes.
The Chase 54 pants selection is the perfect compliment to their shirts. Like the shirts, Chase 54 is in the details with respect to the construction of their pants. They fit true to size, with both contrast piping and stitching. They feature a flat front design, wrinkle resistant, and include a rubber tape inside the waistband to prevent the shirt from untucking during play. As nice as these pants look, they feel even more comfortable on the legs and the quality is apparent.
I remain impressed with this apparel line based on their broad selections, versatility of the pieces, and high-end quality at a lower price point. Chase 54, along with other brands in their feature have me focused outside of big box stores for 2013. There are better products out there that are not on your friend’s yet. Chase 54 is one of them and appreciate the opportunity to present them to you. The chase is on…
// Q E D
Over the past couple years, I have had a chance to evaluate and wear clothing from a variety of golf apparel manufacturers. There are a lot of quality brands in the marketplace today, and companies are offering a number of colors, patterns, and styling options. You can select almost any apparel brand, and find something in your size that represents your personality. Golf apparel is a competitive segment of the industry, and new companies trying to tee it up have their work cut out for them.
Last month, I was asked to evaluate a new brand in this market, Q.E.D. I want to begin with my conclusion because I am eager to present it. Q.E.D. apparel is without question, some of the best I’ve seen in the industry. From the product presentation and marketing to the quality of the materials and construction Q.E.D. is doing everything right from the start. In the process, they produce some of the best looking apparel even in their infancy as a company. They managed to create product that can be worn on the course, in the office, or during a night on the town.
If you think about it, how many other brands produce apparel that are suitable for those three environments while looking better than almost everything else in each category? Q.E.D. is more than a golf apparel brand, it’s a lifestyle brand.
Q.E.D. began producing apparel in 2011, and was founded by Mike McRae, who also operates Golf Lab, a game improvement training facility in St. Lake City, Utah. McRae is responsible for the Q.E.D. designs. Q.E.D. is an initialism for Quod Erat Demonstrandum, and is used to conclude mathematic proofs. It’s latin for, “proven true.” Once something is stamped Q.E.D. it’s perfect and undeniable. The black square logo is intended to represent the same, and is an elegant inclusion on their product.
Out of the box, Q.E.D. outfits are contained in elegant outfit bags that carry their logo. It was the first time I had seen this and thought it was a nice touch. Additionally, on a recent business trip, I found them useful to contain outfits for each day of my travel for easier packing. When you get Q.E.D. product in hand, you’ll feel the difference in the quality materials and upon closer inspection, the quality construction. The use of square buttons, western style button snaps, and contrast stitching give Q.E.D. polos a sophisticated vibe all their own. The dress-shirt style collars with inserted collar stays really present well and will continue for the life of the shirt.
The Logan Polo (green) maintains a “cowboy cut” and is 100% polyester, ivory snap button plackets, contrast stitching, and the Q.E.D. logo on back. The Holden Polo is also cowboy cut in 95% cotton, 5% spandex. It includes contrast stitching, and square Q.E.D. logo 5 button placket. The Alta Fleece is an incredible fleece pullover made from 100% merino fleece. A reflective white stripe down the right sleeve will stand out even off the course. The quarter zip fleece also includes a neck gusset for extra warmth. The fit of all three tops is very true to size, and you can feel confident ordering in your normal size selections.
Lastly, my favorite piece of the bunch is the Alpine Trouser. These are water resistant pants made from a nylon/spandex fabric. These pants are water, stain and wrinkle proof. These are the only pants I have seen that will look good on the golf course, office, a night club, or even the gym. They include a 5 (coin) pocket style and are well constructed pants with a rubber tape inside to help prevent untucking of the shirt. The have a 6” outer zip hem at the bottom cuff. They have a waterproof rear zipper pocket outlines with reflective tape for (are you ready for this) nighttime exercise. They are the ultimate pair of pants and if I had 7 of them, I could wear them each day of the week for any venue. They are incredible.
Q.E.D. is a brand worthy of attention in 2013. The quality, materials, style, and craftsmanship in their offerings are among the best and most versatile in only their second year of operation. They are a company, well done.
// SUB 70
Sub70 was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2004, and brought to the United States in 2011. They describe themselves as a brand that focuses on fit and styling with the use of bold colors that take on a life of their own. Their selections are modern with an athletic cut and constructed with technical fabrics.
In for analysis is the Jacob (black) and Samual (white) from Sub70. Prior to my order, I was informed about the fit of Sub 70 and that I should consider going up a size since my abs are not cut from granite (my words, not theirs.) Going from a L to an XL in Sub 70 was a perfect match to the sizing I am used to in a Large. The fit remains lean/athletic, without being too snug. The hem at the bottom is straight The Jacob features a double pinstrip accent across the front of the shirt. Sleeves hang to about mid bicep and are the shortest among the brands in my closet, but certainly not too short. The shirt is constructed with Sub 70’s own soft Climatic polyester fabric designed to wick moisture away from the body to dry. The Samual is a long-sleeve, two pocket shirt with a button down collar. The shirt has black accents that provides contrast that really brings out the look of this shirt.
The Jenson Houndstooth and Dalton Black pants were added to complement the shirt selections. Of all the golf pants I’ve had the opportunity to wear over the years, the fit of Sub 70 appeal to me the most. If I were to have a pair of pants designed and assembled from scratch, the fit and finish would be a mirror image to the fit and design of Sub70. The test of truth always comes from my wife who reports they are the “best fitting pants you’ve ever worn.” Both pants can be ordered to size, but you can expect a leaner fit. Both options are made from 95% polyester, and 5% spandex microfiber fabric. I’ve found that this dash of spandex is perfect for leaner fitting trousers. They’re remarkably light weight, water resistant and wrinkle free for easy care. Each feature jeans-style pockets which I am noticing is becoming an increasing trend.
The fit of Sub70 is the hallmark of this brand and is a fresh departure from most selections offered in the U.S. marketplace. They offer nice selections with a european flavor in their styling. I’ve been pleased with their selections, and will be back for more pants in the future for sure.
You’ve no doubt seen the pants by now, and in a word they are in fact, ‘loud.’ Worn by John Daly and a number of LPGA Symetra Tour players including our own Sara Hurwitch, the brand stands apart from most everything else in golf apparel today. But, there is more to Loudmouth than, well, loud. That is actually why they’ve been included in this feature. The crazy prints and patterns they produce are obviously not for everyone. The brand is meant to stand out, but not every player wants to draw unnecessary attention to themselves especially if they have trouble getting the ball airborne. Loudmouth is a quality apparel brand most people shy away from them if they dress more traditional. But Loudmouth offers a selection of apparel that turns the volume down just a bit and really is a brand everyone can look to for quality garments.
First up is the Element Black pants. Made of a polyester/spandex blend (97/3) the new stretch micro-tech Element pants were designed to offset their loud shirts. However, the pants can be paired with almost any shirt you currently have in your closet. They only thing loud about them is the yellow embroidered logo located about the back left pocket. This pocket is designed as a glove pocket with no button for ease of placement, carry and removal of your glove. The flat front pants are wrinkle free and drape nicely. They fit true to size. They are also available in white.
Loudmouth also offers a variety of patternless solid color shirts that can offset their patterned pants. Their wide selection and color pallet will also complement most all of your current pant selection. They really have some attractive selections and designs that will stack up against any other brand in golf. Featured here is the Essential Lemon Chrome Yellow shirt (that was a Loudmouth-full). It’s bright and vibrant and pairs well with the Element Black pants with the embroidered yellow logo. Described as a simple, fuller American cut shirt, they are a 100% polyester pique design with a moisture wicking finish. They drape as smooth as the pants, but you may want to drop down a size if you are more used to taylor fit shirts. In other words, you will no need to go up a size in these for sure.
No Loudmouth outfit would be complete without the proper accessories. The Yellow Thunder leather belt complements the shirt perfectly and has a lightening bolt of sorts on the metal buckle. The Loudmouth socks are soft and comfy made from a blend of acrylic, nylon, polyester, and spandex. The crew sock featured here is a nice full length and will definitely stand out while you’re sitting in the golf cart.
Although you might remain a traditionalist or even a Mutemouth, there are still selections available for you at Loudmouth who’s quality apparel deserves attention. They offer a full line of apparel and accessories, including a custom made special order process.
// IN FIAMME
In fiamme is Italian for “on fire.” In the age of technical fabric, it’s usually a good descriptor to use for the 100% cotton golf shirt of yesterday. Although in fiamme is constructed of cotton, it’s a pleasantly drastic departure from the traditional cotton golf shirt.
in fiamme is a fine Italian Golf Apparel company that has been around for over a decade. Their apparel is routinely found in private golf clubs as well as higher-end daily fee courses like Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA. They can also be purchased directly from their website which is a convenient option for most. The shirts are made from double mercerized, “Filoscozia” cotton, which is a premium cotton known for its durability and natural sheen. Filoscozia produces a vivid color pallet, colorfastness, and low pilling, wash after wash. in fiamme shirts are designed to absorb moisture, then dry rapidly and are impregnated with an antibacterial treatment. Each shirt is hand cut and sewn just north of Milan, Italy, with meticulous attention to detail.
When I got this shirt in-hand, one of the first things I noticed was how remarkably light it was for a cotton shirt. When held up to the light, the shirt is almost sheer, which speaks to its weight and breathability, yet feels like it could withstand a beating. in fiamme has a sateen look and feel to the fabric and really feels comfortable against the skin. The quality construction, materials, and design of in fiamme are readily apparent.
In fiamme’s fit is fairly true to size, but errs to fit larger rather than smaller. in fiamme calls it a “Gentleman’s Cut.” My lone complaint with the shirt is the length of the sleeves. In a large, the sleeves hung to about the center of my elbows, longer than any other short sleeve shirt in my closet. Not unbearably long, just longer than I am used to, as sleeve length has shortened over the past few years.
In fiamme offers a fine Italian made golf shirt that sets itself apart from most in the marketplace today both in materials and construction. The brand has an old world boutique feel to it and is different from what others will be wearing in your foursome. Just the same, you’ll be hard pressed to find any golf apparel today handmade in Italy. This adds to the “coolness” factor of the brand. Additionally, the shirt can be worn on-course, as well as to the office. This versatility is becoming rare in the golf apparel selections today which is why I believe in fiamme is worth the splurge.
// ENERGY ATHLETIC GOLF
Energy Athletic Golf is part of the Performance Sports Brands, Inc., which includes the Tour Striker training aid. Energy Athletic Golf (EAG) is a golf shirt manufactured with “IonX” technology. IonX is a proprietary process of embedding negative ions into the molecular structure of the fabric during the manufacturing process. EAG believes this process increases your power while this shirt is worn on course. If you visit their website, they provide a demonstrative video testing the shirt for negative ion activity.
I am not going to pretend to be an expert on negative ions. However, unless you’ve been buried in a sand trap for the past few years, you’ve no doubt seen several other products in the market place that enhance negative ions. We’ve seen it in golf and specifically on the PGA Tour in the form of bracelets and necklaces. EAG was the first time I have seen it embedded into apparel. Paul Azinger is on staff and describes EAG as the most comfortable shirt you’ve ever worn.
In addition to the IonX technology, the fabric is made of wrinkle resistant 95% polyester and 5% spandex with anti-microbial properties. The fit of this golf shirt is very true to size (with a little room to grow) and the sleeves hang just above the elbow. You can confidently order the same size shirt you normally would in Energy Athletic Golf. These shirts have a ribbed or piped feel across the fabric that is a unique yet pleasant texture.
I am unable confirm nor disprove EAG does what it is marketed to do, and I simply do not know if it gave me increased power. However, I can confirm that Azinger may not be just another paid spokesman that is saying what he’s paid to say. This shirt really is comfortable on the body. To my surprise, the fit and feel of this shirt when worn is different and remarkably comfortable, light weight, and appears well constructed. Is it the embedded ions, I have no idea but the claims of it being a comfortable shirt are verified and confirmed. Increased power or not, I would give this shirt a go based on comfort and fit alone. If the IonX technology really does give me increased power, it’s just icing on the cake. Energy Athletic Golf also offers a 30 day money back guarantee which I rarely see from apparel manufacturers.