Last summer Bob wrote a great piece on his wish for Nike Golf to make a classic, traditional looking putter. Reading it has inspired me to write a similar piece on Nike’s apparel. This is something that has been on my mind since 2004 when I sent a PowerPoint presentation via FedEx to the folks at Nike Golf asking for them to consider my idea. So here goes: Nike Golf, will you make my apparel wishes come true?
As a longtime Nike Golf supporter, I have all types of apparel from pants, shorts, shirts, socks, shoes, gloves, hats and outerwear, but I’d like to see three improvements: include a pro-style fit, make a tour line available, and leverage existing technology.
Often times when I’m buying golf clothes off the rack, and not just Nike, but most apparel manufacturers I find that there’s little consistency with sizing. With Nike, I’m somewhere between a small and a medium. That is, medium fits well but the shoulders are too wide and the sleeves are too long so I feel like I’m drowning in it sometimes. The small is a little snug but great in the shoulders and better in sleeve length. The shoulder and sleeve length is where I would like to see Nike stand out from the pack.
Normally when you buy a Nike golf shirt you’ll look like the gentleman below. What I see is a decent fit, maybe a little baggy around the waist, but more importantly the shoulder seams hang off his shoulders and the sleeves almost go past the elbow line. Now it’s no surprise that Nike Golf’s athletes have the opportunity to get their apparel tailored to their liking, but a great example is Tiger Woods’ fit. As I am writing this, I just happen to have the Memorial on and I snapped a picture with my phone. You’ll see how his shoulder seam breaks right at his shoulder line, not hanging off of it, and his sleeve length breaks well above his elbow. I recognize that not everyone wants shorter sleeves, but I think that if Nike can make a more pro-style fit, people who wear the shirts will not only look better on the course, but they’ll feel better playing without having sleeves bothering their elbows.
Create a Tour Line
Nike has made a lot of “tour-only” equipment throughout the years, including the 380cc Dymo and the prototype Method putter. By making them for tour players only, the items become highly valuable and highly sought after. With the apparel line there’s a similar interest. I don’t know how many people want the all-white 2010 Air Zoom TW that only Tiger Woods has, or the black and gold Air Tour Premium specially made for Stewart Cink, but I do know there is interest in obtaining tour-only apparel. Primarily provided to pros, instructors, and staff, Nike has made some of the tour shirts available in retail but the decision to leave out the chest logo remains.
One recommendation I have is to supplement the retail line with a limited edition tour line which includes the pro-style fit mentioned above and both chest and sleeve logos. Perhaps an additional designation could be an Oven logo located inside of the shirt. With minimal capital expenditure needed to place the additional logos, Nike could reap financial benefit by selling these shirts at a premium. For example on eBay, tour shirts are selling for as high as $90 when the retail shirts sell for $60.
Leverage Existing Technology
As one of the most innovative sportswear companies in the world, there’s no shortage of leading edge technology. Off the top of my head, I know that Nike has made significant advancements with their All Conditions Gear (ACG) line and in the Nike Soccer division.
Nike ACG Cordillera Half Zip
This could be a functional golf shirt. It features off set shoulder seams for carrying a pack (how about a golf bag?), a back pocket (for tees?), and it’s made out of recycled poly with a full stretch weave for mobility (like when making a golf swing?)
Nike’s soccer jerseys for the World Cup are made from new Nike Dri-Fit fabric, which is 15 percent lighter than previous Nike kit fabrications. According to a press release, the jerseys boast these innovations: “[The jerseys] help keep players dry by drawing sweat to the outside of the garment where it evaporates. Ventilation zones have been placed on each side of the jersey to enhance breathability, and are combined with a fabric that increases air flow by up to seven percent compared to previous kits. Air can now pass across a player’s whole torso, keeping him cooler. These ventilation zones consist of up to 200 tiny laser cut holes which are backed by Nike’s innovative halo application. This treatment prevents ripping without reducing air flow.” I know that if Nike Golf incorporates these innovations into their apparel, we’d all be a lot cooler on hot summer days. Just for fun, here are suggestions on what Nike athletes could wear in honor of this year’s World Cup: