I remember when Ashworth first launched in the early ’90s. Fred Couples was strolling the fairways of Augusta National en route to his Masters victory in Ashworth apparel. I worked in the golf shop at a country club and we couldn’t keep Ashworth shirts in stock. The “Golfman” logo was a symbol that every golfer identified with and wanted to wear. A young Tiger Woods even won his first US Amateur title in an orange and white striped Ashworth shirt.
The cotton material, soft collar and abstract designs on the front of the shirts broke the mold of what a golf shirt should be. Gone were the stiff colors and scratchy polyester material that defined golf shirts in the ’80s. Ashworth was a true golf lifestyle brand that golfers could wear on and off the course with confidence. Ah, Ashworth.
Golf style changed again in the mid ’00s with the retro movement. White belts and shoes, bold plaid pants and slim-fitting shirts with technical fabrics ruled the golf fashion landscape. Ashworth remained a traditional golf brand (maybe too traditional at times), and I have to admit, they dropped off my radar during this period as I began to identify the brand with the Champions Tour.
But, the brand grabbed my attention again a couple of years ago when they were one of the first to release a stylish street shoe–the Cardiff. Then, the signing of Justin Rose was like a bucket of ice water over my head. Ashworth had one of the young guns and was designing clothes for him that would look great both on and off the course. Suddenly we saw brighter colors, slimmer fits and modern details, such as chest pockets and narrower sleeves.The brand began embracing social media and multimedia as a way to connect with younger golfers. But, what really grabbed me was the excitement Justin Rose showed about the clothes and how engaged he was with the brand (see the video below). He knew what he wanted and Ashworth delivered it.
2013 has started with a bang for Ashworth. The brand was named the Official Golf Apparel Brand for NBC/Golf Channel tournament coverage meaning in-booth talent, on-course analysts and interviewers are wearing Ashworth apparel during PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour coverage.
Plus, the Spring 2013 Collection may be the best one we’ve seen from Ashworth in years–bright colors, bold color blocking, subtle glen plaids, and fresh (but not over-the-top) designs combined with their second generation E-Z-Tech fabric. The video below gives you a great look at the Spring Collection. (Again, see how engaged Justin Rose is with every detail.)
The brand also has a new tagline that really speaks to serious golfers (“All We Do Is Golf”) plus several new ad campaigns that focus on the quality and understated (but stylish) pieces in their Spring Collection (“The Smaller the Details, the More We Sweat ‘Em” and “Actions Should Speak Louder Than Clothes”).
Don’t get me wrong. Ashworth isn’t, and probably never will be, an ultra fashion-forward, blinged-out brand, but I love the classic, yet modern styles I’m seeing from them this year. It’s like running into an old friend I’ve haven’t seen in years.