This is the time of the year when our attention shifts to finding the perfect gifts for friends and family. In my book, the perfect gift has to meet three requirements: (1) it has to be personal, (2) it has to be unique and (3) it has to be useful.
These criteria seem fairly straightforward until you begin searching for the perfect gift for a serious golfer. A custom driver would be sweet, but good luck getting the specs correct. Even if you did nail the loft, shaft, shaft flex and grip by some Christmas miracle, a custom big stick carries a price tag that is the equivalent of a few car payments. As much as dad would be the envy of his group, there is no sense in having the repo man show up for New Year’s dinner.
How about a pair of custom shoes? Sounds good, but the customization options from Nike are lacking and a bespoke pair of FootJoys will set you back a few Benjamins.
The answer? A custom belt buckle from NXT18 Golf.
NXT18 is an up and coming brand out of Boston that is cranking out stylish custom and branded belt buckles with full grain leather straps. The buckles are individually created from machine-milled aluminum and engraved right there in Beantown. Best of all, they check in with a price tag that is similar to or less than many of the trendy designer golf belts on the market today. Why wear someone else’s initials or logo when you can promote your own company or build your personal brand? News flash: J.Lindeberg isn’t paying you to wear that belt.
NXT18 recently made two custom GolfThreads buckles and they have a serious wow factor. My wife and daughter are seldom moved by any golf shirt, shoe, or accessory that arrives at the front door, but they can’t stop talking about these buckles.
One of the buckles features the GolfThreads logo engraved in a black powder coated buckle. Powder coating is a high-quality dry finishing process that provides a more durable and stylish finish compared to liquid paints. In the case of NTX18’s buckles, it helps to protect the aluminum and gives it a sleek and modern look. The other buckle offers an abstract take on the GT logo with a gray finish.
After years of being inundated with blinged out belt buckles the size of saucers, NXT18’s buckles bring a sophisticated swagger to the course. The modest 2” x 3” design is large enough to showcase a logo while still maintaining a high level of class. Plus, with the buckles weighing in at a measly 4 oz., the only extra weight around your midsection this holiday season will be the result of too many cookies.
The whole ordering and customization process with NXT18 is painless, too. Just head over to nxt18golf.com and fill out a short form. You can even upload a logo, submit a sketch, and specify fonts and colors. Within a day, you’ll receive a mockup of the buckle from NXT18 for your approval. Then, sit back, grab a cup of eggnog, and wait a few days for your custom buckle to arrive in a well-padded case.
With each buckle, you can choose to pair it with either a black or white full grain leather strap. Both are soft and supple, and at just 1 ¼” thick, they find themselves completely on trend with the thinner belts we are seeing today. The snap closure allows the buckles and straps to be easily interchanged to complement the rest of an outfit. NXT18 also sells the straps individually for less than the price of a holiday fruitcake, so adding a second piece of leather is a no brainer.
In addition to its custom belts, NXT18 also offers a range branded options. The Dash and Signature models offer fresh and modern designs that are stylish, yet understated. For the true ballers out there, the “Scared Money Don’t Make Money” belt makes a strong statement. Just make sure you have the game or the checkbook to back it up.
It may be a cliché, but the holiday season is more about giving than it is about receiving, and NXT18 is doing its part to give back to the game. A portion of each sale is donated to Youth Golf Programs to introduce kids in the inner city and rural areas to the game. Plus, we know the younger generations gravitate towards less traditional golf apparel and accessories, and NXT18’s bold and personal designs are a natural fit for Millennials and Generation Z. That’s what I call growing the game of golf one belt at a time.
As impressive as NXT18’s start has been, the brand will take it to another level in 2017 as a result of three new initiatives. First, look for a switch from aluminum to zinc on the buckles. This will not only improve the durability, but zinc also takes the plating easier, allowing NXT18 to achieve that crisp stainless steel look at a fraction of the cost. The brand will also be downsizing the buckles. The more svelte profile will allow the belts to crossover to the growing women’s accessory market. Expect NXT18 to ramp up its branded line in 2017, as well. A new logo belt with a double pin design (think Hermes belts) will be available in four different colors: black, white, navy blue, and brown.
While custom NXT18 belts make for perfect holiday gifts, they are also an affordable option for country clubs, teams, and tournaments. The brand also just added a game-changing laser to its tool shop, allowing it to engrave buckles with intricate logos and picture-quality designs.
For more info on NXT18 and its custom belts head over to NXT18Golf.com.