Chirp, chirp. That sound is not the bird outside your office window. It is the sound of Bad Birdie coming to shake up your golf attire. The Los Angeles based start-up is crashing the golf landscape with bold and vibrant patterns. Let’s be clear, this is a golf brand creating fashion-forward polos, not a fashion brand creating sports apparel. The shirts are made for stylish golfers wanting to look cool while smashing drives, hunting for pins, and dropping putts for dough.
Launched in May 2017, founder Jason Richardson got the idea for his company when he searched for a polo shirt that stood out from the sea of striped and solid colored tops for a fun Thanksgiving round. When he came up empty-handed, an idea popped into his head; create a brand with fresh looking patterns and styles for today’s golfer.
As a former caddie and serious golfer, Jason has been around the game long enough to know what works on the course. According to Richardson, the goal of Bad Birdie is to design and craft polos with a cool kid vibe that is trendy and relevant to the modern golfer. The success the company has experienced in less than five months is impressive and demonstrates Richardson’s ability to capitalize on this untapped area of golf apparel.
Inspired by the achievements of fellow start-ups like Chubbies Swimwear and Stance Socks, Bad Birdie is methodically growing through social media and in the process creating a loyal following. All their products are produced in small batches, just like your favorite whiskey or scotch. Currently, their polos are offered on their website, www.badbirdie.com, and in a few small golf shops throughout Los Angeles.
Bad Birdie Polos
First and foremost, when you wear a Bad Birdie polo you will be noticed. You’ll receive comments from everybody including your significant other, the bag drop attendant, the clubhouse attendant, your playing partners, and probably the squirrel watching from the closest tree. The comments will range from, “Wow, that is super cool looking,” to “This is not a beach party and you need a proper looking polo shirt.”
The patterns include everything from from flowers and dancing flamingoes to pineapples, and even a blue cheetah print. There is also a mix of retro prints, lightning bolts, and Native American and Aztec-inspired patterns. Rounding out the collection is the Cali with palm trees and triangles. If Tubbs and Crockett played golf in the original Miami Vice, you can bet they would be rockin’ the Cali.
My favorites from Bad Birdie’s first collection lean more towards modern floral prints like The Bachelor, Spring Fling, and Birdie Buffet. There is definitely a pattern to fit every golfer’s desire and level of boldness.
All the polos are made from 100% polyester and locally sourced from the same factories in Los Angeles that work with the big brands. The placket and collar are stiff enough to provide structure without being uncomfortable. The athletic cut of the polos is spot on and fits nicely in the arms and chest. There is no extra material bunching in the back forcing you to tuck in half the shirt to find a proper fit. I like how the patterns are fashion-forward and the fit is in line with modern golf apparel. Order your normal size and hit the links.
Bad Birdie will continue to grow in 2018. Expect to see lifestyle pieces such as t-shirts and hats introduced next year. If the polos are any indication, expect bright colors and bold patterns.
With any company the size of Bad Birdie, the challenges to become a relevant and sustainable brand are immense. Five months into the journey, they have found an untapped niche in the golf apparel industry. Continued success in this space will require company leadership to create customer awareness, which they are doing at a smart, methodical pace. Providing excellent customer service on every purchase, and building traction with green grass accounts and boutique golf stores are other keys to success. Chubbies and Stance have proven that start-up brands can excel when they appeal to a certain demographic and market heavily through social media and word of mouth.
The barriers to entry for start-up golf brands are almost nonexistent these days. On one side, any ambitious company with a small amount of funding and energy can produce products and enter the golf space. On the other, there is an endless number of competitors popping up every month ready to conquer the marketplace. Bad Birdie is an interesting company with eye-popping patterns that appeal to a younger demographic. It is creating quality polos at a reasonable price for the modern golfer. The game needs more brands like Bad Birdie that are willing to push the envelope and grow the game with apparel that is less stuffy and more fun.
Bad Birdie on the web: BadBirdieGolf.com
by Ian Galbraith