Bert LaMar is a straight shooter and gives you his opinion when talking about his golf apparel company, Iliac. He will happily tell you his clothes are a work of art, constructed with the best quality materials, inspired by the great cities of Europe and crafted for the serious golfer. In a world of brands trying to create clothes to be worn on and off the course, Iliac is made by golfers and for golfers who want to look and perform their best.
“When I put on one of my polos it is time to go play golf. I get in a different mindset,” said Bert LaMar during our conversation last month.
The story of Iliac has been more than 50 years in the making. As a young boy, Bert was exposed to the world of design through his grandmother and mother. His grandmother, a seamstress for 40 years at Singer, and his mother Esther made wedding dresses. They took young Bert on many journeys to fabric stores. Bert gained his strong work ethic from his mother and father. This drive led him to stardom in skateboarding in his early teens and to a snowboarding World Cup Championship before he was old enough to drink.
After taking the worlds of skateboarding and snowboarding by storm, Bert combined his love for sports and design by founding LaMar Snowboards in the late 1980s and Evolution Snowboards in 2001. In the process, he changed the way snowboards were created and marketed. After more than two decades in snowboarding, Bert’s love for being outside in the snow was waning and he was ready to start spending time in the warm sun as a golfer.
Just as he had done in his previous endeavors, Bert put all of his energy and focus into golf with a singular goal of turning pro. In short order, Bert made the leap to professional golf, but it didn’t come easy. After earning only $200 in his first three months, reality set in. Realizing life as a professional golfer is difficult, he shifted his focus to being a top amateur and making clothes for the best players in the world.
Bert founded Iliac in 2005 and his journey as a golf apparel designer has taken him around the world and given him a second career. The company’s ethos, ‘Do Whatever It Takes,’ is built into every piece of clothing and accessory. The highest quality materials are sourced from mills from around the world. Every piece of Iliac apparel is expertly crafted in Carlsbad, California with the goal of providing golfers the best feeling and performing products on the market.
Bert sketches the concepts behind each product, designs them in his factory and tests each prototype to guarantee it exceeds the needs of the serious golfer. He even incorporates advice from his Tour players before producing the final product. Over the past twelve years, Iliac has built a cult-like following for its high-performance clothes. The brand’s most ardent supporters even have their own nickname—Iliackers. Bert has also created a loyal following on the European and PGA tours as multiple professionals have worn his clothes over the years, including Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, and Tyrone Van Aswegen.
Iliac 2018 Paris Collection
Iliac offers a complete suite of golf and lifestyle clothes and accessories. It effortlessly blends modern fit and style with traditional aesthetics. Think of a classic Italian Ferrari equipped with today’s latest technologies.
The first characteristic you observe when seeing and wearing an Iliac piece is the distinctive styling and attention to detail. The fabrics possess a soft and luxurious hand, and even the slightest details, like the buttons on the polos, are thoughtfully considered throughout the design process.
“Our fit, fabrics and designs separate us from the competition,” said Bert. “We always want to provide golfers something original that you can’t find with other brands.”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had an opportunity to take key pieces from Iliac’s 2018 Paris Collection for a spin. (The 2018 Collection is actually available now.) After becoming more familiar with Iliac, I want a full closet of their shirts and outerwear.
The key to Iliac’s success is Bert’s 100% commitment to every piece he creates. As a result, there is a true bond with the entire collection. This level of dedication is unique in the world of golf and rarely seen in men’s fashion at any price point.
Polo shirts are Iliac’s bread and butter and include a mix of patterns and colors often not found in golf apparel. For example, the Rancher is offered in no less than sixteen different colorways. Classic hues like Black, Midnight Navy, Pure White, Black, and British Red are accented with tartan, polka dot, and floral patterned collars, giving these solid colored polos a pop of personality.
The details on the Ranchers are impressive and the hefty collars keep their shape even after multiple washes. The three-button placket is the perfect length and the patterns used on the collar extend the entire length of the inner placket. The only branding elements are small leather Iliac logos on the right sleeve and the back yoke.
For the golfer looking for a more traditional style, Iliac offers the Solid II and Paris Polos. The Solid II is constructed from the same luxurious material as the Rancher and is available in four colors: Black; Pure White; Midnight Blue; and British Red.
Bert’s unique background in outdoor sports enables him to adopt technology and materials from an industry that is on the cutting edge of technology. For example, the Deep Blue and Grey Denim colorways of the Paris use a dye sublimation process, which is often used in snowboarding apparel. This process allows colors to look more vibrant without the fabric losing the soft feel against the skin. Offered in regular and mock collars the Paris is a great piece and should be on every golfer’s Christmas list.
I found all the polos run true to size so order your normal size for all Iliac polos.
As the temperatures drop and the early morning tee times slowly get later and later, having the proper layering piece is vital to staying comfortable. Iliac offers a complete range of sweaters and quarter-zip pieces to stay warm.
The Dormie II is a fitted, athletic style quarter-zip offered in four colors—Palmer Pink, Midnight Blue, British Red, and Onyx. This go-to layering piece merges an ultra-lightweight fabric with insulating warmth. The latest technology is also used to create the athletic fitting, v-neck Hawk Sweater. Wood pulp fibers are blended to create a fabric with a soft natural hand feel that is durable enough for multiple rounds on the golf course and in the washing machine.
Iliac’s accessory collection enables golfers to individualize their golf bags and support their unique styles. The company was one of the first to introduce alignment stick covers and currently has designs to fit every golfer’s desire from Navy snakeskin to Blue Tartan.
Additionally, yardage books, valuables pouches, and headcovers are available in a multitude of leathers and colors as part of the current collection. Iliac designed alignment stick covers and valuables pouches for the 2017 International Presidents Cup Team and both 2016 Ryder Cup Teams. Just to show the connection that Iliac has built with the professionals, many of the world’s best have the alignment stick covers in the bags, even when they are sponsored by other golf companies (e.g. Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose).
The same attention to detail is given to the accessories as the other items in Iliac’s collection. Bert designs the accessories to fit the needs of the serious golfer and tweaks the designs based on feedback from the world’s best players.
When designing the Venice Belt, Bert added a performance liner to the inside portion as a result of feedback from tour professionals. This liner helps to extend the life of the strap and prevents sweat from penetrating the leather. The belt is crafted from Italian Croc embossed leather for a premium look and is offered in six colors: Pearl; Carmel; Azure; Blood; Onyx; and Palmer Pink. Priced at $125, the Venice has the feel of a custom belt without the custom price tag.
Iliac is designed for serious golfers who desire a distinct look. There is a sense of comfort knowing that Iliac’s apparel is created by a fellow golfer to stand the test of a club championship, walking 36 holes, or even a PGA Tour event.
Look for Iliac’s latest creations at Iliacgolf.com and your local golf club.