As golfers, this is the time of the year when our attention turns from beating the heat to beating the setting sun on that quick nine after work. It is also the time when the shorts slowly start making their way to the back of the closet in favor of pants. I don’t know about you, but I’m always left with the dilemma of buying technical golf pants that can’t be worn anywhere except the course, or risk ruining a pair of work trousers traipsing through leaves, wet grass and mud — and that’s just on the fairways.
The solution? Bluff Works pants.
Stefan Loble, the founder of Bluff Works, emailed me a couple of months ago to introduce his company. I’ve received several emails like Stefan’s over the last couple of years from non-golf brands (biking, hiking, etc.) that think their pants may be great crossover pieces for the course. You haven’t heard about any of these brands or products here on GolfThreads because they didn’t actually transition that well to the course. Some were too warm. Some were too puffy (padding is great for cycling, but not golf). Others were just ugly.
Several things about Stefan’s email, though, made me cautiously optimistic. (1) The pants on the Bluff Works website looked stylish and possessed a modern fit. (2) Stefan talked about his schedule that entailed seamlessly bouncing from one activity to the next. (3) Bluff Works pants had a very successful Kickstarter campaign.
Kickstarter campaigns are a great vehicle for startup brands to test a concept or product with little risk. Many young technology and fashion companies take their ideas to Kickstarter in the hopes of gaining funding. I knew Bluff Works had something special when I checked out its Kickstarter campaign and it demolished its goal of $13,500 with more than 1,000 backers pledging over $128,000. That’s nearly 10 times its goal.
I’ve had my pair of Bluffs for about six weeks now and worn them nearly everywhere in an effort to beat them up. I battled the flu a few weeks ago and basically lived in my Bluffs for several days. So how do they perform? Here’s a long list of what I like about Bluffs and few ideas I have for future versions.
What I Like About Bluff Works Pants
Unique fabric. Bluffs are constructed of a polyester fabric that is tough as nails but also has a Teflon-like finish that resists stains. There is a technical quality to Bluffs without looking techy.
Easy care. Bluffs are extremely easy to care for. You can play 18 holes in these on Sunday, throw them in the washing machine that night and wear them to the office on Monday morning. After washing them, just put them in the dryer for about 10 minutes, take them out, lay them flat and wear them again.
No ironing. Bluffs resist wrinkles like a plastic surgeon in a room full of Botox. You can fold them, stuff them in a gym bag, or roll them up in a ball and throw them on the floor. Trust me. I did all these things.
Lightweight and breathable. The weight and performance of the fabric makes Bluffs a winner on the course.
Stop sitting on your phone. The side cell phone pocket is my favorite feature on the Bluffs. This pocket has been discretely worked into the hip area on the pants. Not only does this address the comfort issues of stashing your phone in your back or front pocket, but given the bending issues reported with iPhone 6 Plus this past week (#bend gate and #bendgazi), it may save you a trip to the neighborhood Apple store.
Dress them up or down. Off the course, Bluffs can easily go anywhere or do anything. I’ve paired them with a button-down shirt and oxfords at the office, a t-shirt to and from the gym and a casual shirt for dinner with friends. In Bluffs, you’ll always look on point and appropriately dressed for any occasion.
Modern, athletic fit. This is sure to appeal to a wide range of golfers. There is not a lot of stretch in the fabric, but the athletic fit allows you to comfortably make full swings and squat to read putts.
Range of traditional colors. I’ve been wearing the grey color and I would classify it as an ash grey. It is very versatile and can be paired with either black or brown belts and shoes. Also available is a charcoal grey, navy blue, brown and khaki.
Attention to detail. If you think Bluff Works is just another fly-by-night startup, think again. Stefan has an apparel consultant who has been in charge of operations for complete couture lines, two pattern makers who work on pants lines for national brands; wear testers, fit models and a design firm. On top of that, Bluffs are very well constructed.
Ideas for Future Versions of Bluff Works Pants
Rear pockets. The rear pockets are narrower and shallower than my favorite pairs of golf-specific pants. You can stash a scorecard and a glove without an issue, but a yardage book may be more difficult.
Slim fit. The athletic fit is the equivalent of a modern straight fit. I’d love to see a slimmer fit with tapered legs in the future.
Trendy colors. It would be great to see a dark green or burgundy added to the mix along with some patterns like houndstooth or herringbone.
Overall, Bluffs are a great pair of pants that will serve you well on or off the course this fall. The pros far outweigh any desired improvements. Also, at just under $100, they are priced similar to many technical golf pants, but you can actually wear these off the course, as well.