Every year, there is one golf apparel or footwear brand that comes out of nowhere to be an absolute surprise. Granted, we are only a few months into 2016, but the surprise of the year, so far, is PING Apparel.
Sure, PING has been in the apparel game for years, but the label has done a complete reboot of its apparel business for 2016. PING Apparel had been operating under a licensing agreement, but this re-launch brings the label under company ownership and management. The move also includes a new in-house design team with a fresh perspective, and the result is a stylish new collection with high-fashion appeal and high-tech performance.
It is rare that a golf apparel brand sneaks up on me, but that is exactly what PING has done. As I walked through the PGA Merchandise Show on my way to check out PING’s apparel back in January, I was fairly sure I knew what to expect – classic looks, classic fits and polyester. When I arrived, though, it was a totally different and refreshing vibe. Yes, the classic looks were still there (which is a good thing), but they were accompanied with contemporary details, razor-sharp cuts and new technical fabrics. I’m totally digging the new logo, too.
When you think about PING, you think innovation. From Anser putters to perimeter weighted irons and lightweight carry bags, PING has been pushing the envelope in golf equipment design since 1959. I still have a soft spot for the set of PING Eye2 clubs I got for my 16th birthday. They were my first legit set of clubs. Driver’s license? Who cares??? I wanted those orange dot Eye2s. In fact, I think my dad is still gaming the square-grooved L wedge from that set (but don’t tell the USGA).
Now, PING is bringing this same level of innovation and performance from the equipment side to the apparel game. Its new Sensor Technology Platform includes three offerings: Sensor Cool, Sensor Warm, and Sensor Dry.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the benefits of each of these technologies, but here is a quick overview, or you can just check out the video below.
All the Sensor fabrics are lightweight, stretchy, and breathable. Sensor Cool adds the elements of moisture movement, UV protection and wrinkle-resistance. It is perfect for the hot and humid conditions that summer brings. Sensor Warm uses a thermal fabric to create a barrier against water and wind, while trapping body heat for a lightweight layer of warmth.
While Sensor Warm offers water and wind resistance, PING took this up a notch by partnering with Pertex to create the Sensor Dry range of fully waterproof and windproof garments. The Tour Eye and Zero gravity range take this protection to an even higher level thanks to Pertex’s 3-layer Shield + technology.
As great as PING’s technology is, it’s the modern details and tailored fit that have captured my attention. PING’s new in-house design team is located in Cheadle, England, and it is easy to see the bespoke Savile Row influence in the new collection. Fit is king in menswear in 2016, and PING nailed the fit of its polos with high armholes, narrow sleeves that hit mid bicep, and a slim fit through the body. This is how a golf shirt should fit!
While we typically talk about the benefits of tailored fits from a style standpoint, they have performance advantages, as well. As PING mentions on its website, its Sensor Cool fabric is “engineered to be worn next to the skin.” The more contact that it has with the skin, the more the fabric can do what it does best – transport moisture away from the skin. The fact that PING’s polos are created from stretch fabrics, and they are cut to complement the golf swing, means that you don’t have to sacrifice range of motion in the name of style and performance.
Take a look at PING’s new range of polos and you will see timeless designs with a contemporary spin. For example, the Gilden could find a home on the links in any era. While there is no shortage of similar looking polos in the game, what really separates the Gilden from others is the heather texture on the contrasting placket, collar and sleeve hems, which is distinctly modern.
The Wes follows the same design principles as the Gilden. The entire look of this traditional three-button polo is elevated thanks to a thoughtfully textured collar, inner placket and sleeve hems. The Wes is also highly versatile. Since it is fabricated from a polyester/pima cotton blend, it works as well off the course as it does on it.
If you are looking to amp up your look a bit, then the Shaw Polo is for you. Engineer stripes never go out of style, and PING has energized this timeless design with an array of brightly colored stripes for the season.
PING’s design team set out to create sophisticated looks with its SS’16 Collection, and while the tailored fits play a big role in this, the minimalist branding can’t be overlooked. Nearly all the polos in the collection leave the chest area free and clear of a logo. Not only does this enhance the cleanliness of the design, but it also frees up that area for clubs to add their own logos.
Looking for your favorite pair of shorts this summer? PING’s Blakey is worthy of that title. The nylon/polyester/spandex blend is so lightweight that you may mistake these for a pair of board shorts. The fact that the fabric is also wrinkle-resistant makes the Blakey perfect for throwing in a suitcase for a summer road trip.
With the Blakey, PING has created a refined short that is also well appointed. The mesh lined pockets help with air circulation and prevent the material from getting sticky in hot and humid conditions. The waistband has so much stretch that you can almost go down a size for a cleaner fit and an ego boost. Fashion details, like a front ticket pocket and a soft printed texture, bring a sartorial sophistication to these high tech shorts. A zippered pocket on the back right provides a secure place for a phone or all the cash you win while looking good, feeling good and playing great in PING apparel.
PING’s new collection is just hitting clubs now. With the tailored fit of the polos, most of you will want to size up. If you prefer a slimmer fit, though, go with your normal size and enjoy the clean lines.