T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Piedmont Leather Company creates high-end golf accessories at affordable prices
Piedmont Leather Company
We've said it here before, but it's worth repeating -- over the last several years, golf has become cool. Can we all agree that we have Fred Couples to thank for that?
Along with the coolness come the apparel and accessories. Golf isn't just about your old, beat up bag and your clubs. For some, it's about making a statement on the course.
If you're one of those people looking to make a statement, then we've found just the thing for you.
Meet Jay Green, founder of the Piedmont Leather Company. Founded in January of 2009, Green's Piedmont Leather Company based out of Gastonia, N.C., produces a number of items using exotic materials -- everything from alligator belts to ostrich valuables pouches to custom elephant cash covers and more.
Since 2006, Green has worked with putter-maker T.P. Mills Company.
"Sometimes the putter business gets really slow," Green said. "In January of 2009, it had gotten really slow, as the weather had been rough for a few days with really cool temperatures and lots of rain. I found myself needing some new belts and decided to try to find some online. I spoke to a few people and they said I should start my own leather business, so in a nutshell, I did."
Talk about an idea taking off.
"We offer the highest quality exotics at the best prices," Green said. "For decades, exotic products have been priced so that only the top 5 percent of the population could afford them. I don't agree with that philosophy, so I've tried my hand at changing that. So far, it's working."
Indeed it is. Products on the Piedmont Leather Company website range in price from as little as $15.99 for a genuine alligator key fob (think keychain), to $69 for a bison cash cover (or a lot more, depending on how fancy you choose to get), to $499 for a set of three full quill custom ostrich head covers.
Green's belts, made from materials like crocodile, shark, elephant, bison, alligator, stingray and more, are also a big hit with a varying price range. Truly, there's something for everyone.
"The belts are beautiful and certainly unique," Green said. "We only use genuine skins and all of our products are made right here in the USA. That's very important, because we only want the best for our customers and the best exotic products are made in the USA. Each skin is unique and no two are alike. We can do custom stitch and edge colors on our belts to show team colors. All of our belts have snaps, so you can exchange your buckle any time you like."
Green can customize whatever it is you're looking for too and that's his favorite part of the job.
"That's the beauty of being a small shop," Green said. "We can do everything custom or a person can order 1,000 black alligator belts all the same size. We're very flexible."
And, with a smaller operation, Green is able to get to know his customers -- a part of the job he relishes.
"It's always the relationships that are created," he said. "It's just like going on vacation and getting paired up with strangers -- by the third or fourth hole they aren't strangers any longer. We are golfers and no matter what we do for a living or regardless of where we live, we love the game and want to play it as often as possible. The exotic leather business mirrors that, as well. I mainly sell to golfers and there is nothing better than having a customer that you can invite to meet at a course and play 18 holes with or having them invite you to their course to play a round."
To learn more about Piedmont Leather Company, visit them at www.piedmontleather.com, check them out on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter, @jaygree08563162.
"There are thousands of combinations of belts, cash covers, yardage book covers, etc.," Green said. "We want to help you create what your mind's eye envisions. You can even call me directly, 704-879-9380, and I will be glad to talk you through the entire process."
How's that for customer service?
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.