By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
ORLANDO, Fla. -- I honestly do not try to play favorites. Sure, a sample shirt here or a pair of pants there may incent me (or any writer) to do a review, but here at the PGA Merchandise Show, I'm really hoping that every company leaves Florida with the true feeling that 2012 will be the greatest year of their existence. From titan companies like Titleist and Nike to the first-year ventures that occupy closet-sized booths lined up on a back row hoping that they catch lightning in a bottle with their latest and greatest golf item -- every company wants to use this occasion to show the world why they are the 'best in class' for the golf world.
But one company might have actually captured that lightning. If anticipation and buzz are accurate barometers, Quagmire Golf's latest introduction could prove to be an impressive, winning hand. Of course, they had a trump card. Actually, let's call it a Palmer card.
Arnie is the latest line of fashion from Quagmire Golf, a clothing company based in Toronto. Their progressive vision and attention to detail drew the eye of the Arnold Palmer team, and a connection and partnership was formed. If Arnold Palmer would agree to license his brand, Quagmire Golf would create a line based on what he's worn his entire career. Thus, Arnie, based on the styles "the King" wore in the 1950s, 60s and 70s was born. That's right, the coolest fashion item I saw today was a throwback over nearly six decades.
A cardboard cutout of Mr. Palmer stood outside the entrance of Quagmire’s Arnie display while another cutout of PGA Tour star Ryan Moore, known in many ways for his keen fashion sense -- and the latest endorser and wearer of the Arnie brnad -- stood outside as curious onlookers and visitors meandered in to see what type of clothes could best represent the iconic name across the top.
I'm sure they wondered the same thing that I did when I first heard of, and wrote about, the Arnie line last fall. How does anything in golf, much less fashion, advance by going back across a span of time nearly six decades long?
"Mr. Palmer represents the best of golf in so many ways," said Quagmire Golf Creative Director Geoff Tait. "His look is both classic and timeless. By putting a modern touch and the latest in clothing technology, on his clothes starting with his look from the 1950s, we have a unique, exciting and high performance line for everyone who loves golf or Arnold Palmer."
I hung around their booth for a bit and eavesdropped on various PGA Professionals, buyers and other exhibitors who happened by. Reactions ranged from "I love this" to "I have to show my husband this" to "I wish I would have thought of this." And virtually everyone made a point to tell someone else how much they loved and admired Arnold Palmer. Sure, a small sample size, but certainly a fair representation of the reaction the golf crowd had to the line.
So did I receive a sample shirt to feature Quagmire Golf's Arnie line? No. No one has. The shirts aren't out yet. But not to fear, they’ll be released Feb. 1, and anyone can purchase them at GolfSmith stores, many high-end golf shops (Pebble Beach, Doral and, of course, Bay Hill are included) and other various outlets. Go browse their website at www.arniewear.com to check out the entire collection. And get some for your closet.
Arnold Palmer has always been the one of the most well-liked, handsome and endearing figures in sports. Clothes that bear his name should be just that as well. In the Arnie wear line -- it looks like "the King" will continue his rule.