It’s weird out there.
Golf fashion over the years is famous for being staid. The landscape is littered with solid, horizontal stripe and here-and-there “fancy” polos. Then brands like Loudmouth and, more recently, Robert Graham introduce bold and even bolder prints.
So, where’s the middle ground between boring and boisterous that still promotes self-expression?
This is where a thirty-something from Florida and fifty-something from Colorado enter the scene with one of the coolest solutions in golf fashion history.
We’re talking Whiskers, maker of men’s and women’s premium, golf-specific shoelaces in nearly 30 color pops and unique patterns. The company is already immensely popular for its bespoke laces for sneakers, casual and dress shoes, and boots.
Golf is a logical market for Whiskers as an accent brand. After all, most golf shoes come with laces that match the shoe color. Finally, there’s a way to subtly dress up monochromatic footwear into classy and fun, two-tone fashionista status without going overboard.
Whiskers’ let’s-not-overlook-laces story starts with Kyle Groth, 34, a serial entrepreneur who founded a spirits brand with limited capital and turned it into a powerhouse that was acquired by monstrous Diageo. Add Mike Gossett, an AARP newbie, with product development chops from his days at Nike and Crocs.
They did what every business person dreams of: Identify a gap in the market that aligns with today’s culture.
“We live in a world where you can personalize everything from your coffee to your burrito and car,” says Groth. “As such, when golfers tee it up with extra detail to basic shoes, foursomes instantly recognize them as fashion-relevant and fun, personal storytellers. Laces are now an essential part of premium wardrobes.”
The rest, as they say, is history in the making for Whiskers’ dynamic leadership duo and for the golf market at large.
Whiskers’ Made-in-the-USA golf laces coordinate in style and color with famous golf footwear and apparel brands as well as palettes of college and professional sports teams. Comprised of ultra-durable poly-nylon tech weave with high-grade aglets, they are available in classic and athletic profiles, flat and oval shapes, and 30- to 45-inch lengths.
Bestsellers include navy and light blue, orange and white, berry and black, green and blue, and purple and pink. A pair is $15 and a set of five is $60.
Look at social media where Whiskers laces are frequently praised as “indestructible.” What Facebook, Instagram and Twitter-active golfers also say they really appreciate is receiving Whiskers golf laces in tournament and outing goodie bags. If they get one more logoed golf shirt in the wrong size and style, they’re bound to be pushed over the edge.
Lo and behold, there’s is a growing movement of Whiskers “collectors” who amass all available colors to change up their footwear looks with each round and outfit of the day.
Groth and Gossett – as well as their golf business advisor, the veteran industry leader Rich Katz – are set to conquer the PGA and LPGA Tours where even players posit fashion flops far outweigh flop shots. All with apologies to the oft orange-clad Rickie Fowler.
Moreover, top-100 golf shops across America are staring to carry Whiskers golf laces in color and pattern assortments to accommodate even the most discerning tastes. Groth and Gossett say brand collaborations are in the works. That’s a lot of planned activities for a company that’s officially been in the golf space for a very short cup of coffee.
For all these reasons and for the lucky industry folks who attend the upcoming PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Whiskers is making its debut (booth 5843).
The scorecard here: Color Whiskers as a here-to-stay brand that’s respectfully bucking traditional dress codes. Over time, odds are it will represent an energetic norm in golf fashion.