Hundred Hole Hike:
Launches three limited-edition shoes created by minimalist golf footwear manufacturer True Linkswear. The shoes are crafted for the devoted walking golfer and are available online at TrueLinkswear.com. Half of each sale will benefit One Divot and the Evans Scholars Foundation.
Cobra Puma Golf:
Introduces the Ferrari Golf Collection that will feature high-end equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. This long-term partnership between Cobra Puma Golf and Ferrari SpA will create a new type of product that merges both art and science.
Announces a limited-edition Tour Profile sock in red, white and blue - to be worn by Bubba Watson during the U.S. Open - is now available. Sales benefit Pendleton Place, a Greenville, S.C.-based children's charity as part of the Bubba & Friends Drive to a Million initiative.
Spikes were worn by the respective winners of the Memorial Tournament and European Tour's Wales Open.
Gateway Pro Tour: Announces True Linkswear, a Scottsdale-based footwear and apparel company, as the tour's newest sponsor.
Q-and-A: Dave Ortley, Director of footwear and accessories, Oakley
By Janice Ferguson
GPA Style Editor
Editor's note: Oakley has a new face heading up its footwear and accessories business - Dave Ortley, a well-recognized name in the golf industry. Ortley has been in his new job for nearly five months and he recently shared some of the direction and goals that Oakley's golf, surf, snow and lifestyle brand are headed with Apparel Wire style editor Janice Ferguson.
Apparel Wire: Congratulations on what sounds to be a very exciting and challenging position with team Oakley. You have responsibility not only golf footwear and accessories, but all categories. How did you ramp up for the additional responsibility?
Dave Ortley: True, the role is massive in scope, but finding the enthusiasm to work on the Oakley brand comes naturally. This is truly a once in a career opportunity, and I jumped at the chance. The trick is surrounding myself with a strong team of people who understand what it takes to manage a great brand, build hot products and run a healthy business. With talented teammates and a vision for the future, this brand is evolving from the "original and still dominant premium performance eyewear brand" into a head-to-toe global sports brand capable of going toe-to-toe with the biggest and best.
AW: Your boss, Raphael Peck, is also fairly new to Oakley and comes with a very successful resume. It feels like there might be a ground-swell of positive changes coming for Oakley - what should the consumer expect to see in the golf category?
Ortley: Raph is a super talented leader with deep experience in the world of sport, having worked with some of the leading performance brands in the industry. He has a strategy in place that sees Oakley competing aggressively in golf, along with several other important target categories. After the strategy was put in place, a leadership team was assembled to bring innovation, creativity, best practices, and just plain know-how into Oakley's SoCal campus. In terms of how the ramp up affects golf specifically, we feel that we're positioning Oakley for explosive near-term growth and a sustainable leadership position in the space.
AW: You basically started the low-to-the-ground profile golf shoe at TaylorMade-Adidas, which is the same design approach spikeless golf shoes now offer. Is spikeless a phenomenon in golf footwear that is here to stay and possibly take over what has been the traditional golf shoe for so long?
Ortley: The truth is that a well-designed spikeless golf shoe can deliver the same traction coefficient of a spiked shoe. Beyond grip, there are added benefits to Oakley's spikeless products as well. They are lighter in weight, which reduces fatigue for walkers, and just plain feels better. There are no restrictions on how low we can design the shoe's ride height or profile. Lower soles promote enhanced feel and better all-around stability. Beyond that, properly designed spikeless golf shoes are more green-friendly, so wear and tear on the golf course is minimized. They're better for inside the clubhouse, for sure, and offer golfers the added freedom to drive to and from the course or even roll around town, post round. Spikeless golf shoes like the Oakley Cipher are a growing segment that is here to stay - no doubt.
AW: The Oakley Cipher shoe for men is described as "the lightest golf shoe in the world." That's a pretty big statement. How is that validated?
Ortley: Without argument one of the hottest new products to hit golf in recent years, our new Cipher, represents the first in a long line of golf shoe innovations set to come out of our Foothill Ranch Headquarters in Southern California. It's tagged as the lightest performance golf shoe in the world, weighing in at 9.2 ounces and offers a fit/feel sensation that everyone should try and take for a test spin. Achieving Oakley's Factory Lite designation means that the product must be deemed lightest in class, so when the team set out to create this shoe we had to have clear targets in sight. Essentially, we looked at the top performance golf shoes on the global market from all major competitors and benchmarked our shoe against the lot. To achieve the desired results, we applied strategic design and engineering principles.
AW: And, here's the obvious next question, when can we expect to see Oakley women's golf shoes?
Ortley: Definitely working on women's - a category that we're anxious to debut first in apparel followed quickly by footwear and accessories. Expect to see more stylish women's apparel from us in 2013, and shoes the season after. Golf is a crowded space so you really have to find a unique position to enter the category. We strategically chose to bring in top management talent with industry experience so that we could understand both the marketplace and consumers authentically. We feel like our angle is clear now and the golf world has graciously opened its doors to us.
AW: Oakley is typically considered a young brand - do you also try and appeal to the 40s and 50s age golf group?
Ortley: Oakley, I believe, more so than most other golf brands, has an authenticity, strength and swagger that shines through in everything we do. I think that consumers find this sense of confidence appealing in a variety of ways that make Oakley products the trusted favorites of their wearers. Our supporters vary widely, including men and women, both young and old. It's interesting in that we don't talk much or try to get too micro around specific consumer targets for the brand. Instead, we work aggressively to maintain our unique Design DNA and innovation mystique.
AW: How has signing up-and-coming professional players Ryann O'Toole and, especially, Rory McIlroy affected the Oakley presence in golf, its image and sales?
Ortley: Building products that perform at the highest levels of sport is something that Oakley knows quite a bit about. In fact, Oakley is the No. 1 eyewear brand on the PGA Tour and is the dominant choice of 80 percent of professional golfers who play in eyewear worldwide. In terms of credibility, authenticity and visibility, top athlete endorsers do wonders for any brand. Rory happens to be unique in so many ways as a global player with crossover appeal.
Ryann is fantastic as well and, for sure, represents an ideal for aspiring female golfers everywhere. She is a top talent in the women's game and is sure to do great things competitively for years to come. She is a fantastic addition to the Oakley family.
AW: Finally, tell the Apparel Wire readers what inspires Dave Ortley to keep pushing the boundaries of golf footwear to new levels of performance and technology?
Ortley: I've been an athlete all my life and being around sports is important to me. I've dedicated my entire career to conception, creating, merchandising, marketing and selling footwear, accessories and apparel - and it's something I have a true passion for in life. I believe that great products have the power to feed that drive in pursuit of excellence by offering incremental performance improvements to the athlete. By nature, I'm someone who constantly strives to make things better - I think that has something to do with my approach. Beyond that, I'm a golfer. I've loved it since the very first time I walked a fairway and I'm an intimate follower of the game - golf and golfers inspire me. Lastly, I'll share my innovation ethos, which I think Oakley's founder, Jim Jannard, actually encapsulated best when he said simply that, "Everything in this world can and will be made better."