Over the years, whether due to historical significance, sponsorship deals, advertisements, or whatever the reason, specific brands have become connected with specific sports. It’s hard to hear the words Gatorade and sports and not think of the NFL. Brand association is a powerful thing, and it’s something that all companies strive to establish, as they aim to have their products spring to mind at the sight of a distinct image or the mention of a particular word.
Golf has been around for centuries, and while it may have seen its peak in the early 2000s, it’s a game that still captivates many, and one that has made a remarkable impact. Over time, many companies and fans have come to the sport, and many have left it. Today, with the rise of online sportsbooks, and the numerous golf betting options available, many fans of eighteen holes, hope that it will return to its previous heights. Below are a few prestige brands that have an indelible link to the sport of golf.
Everyone has heard of Rolex, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer. Often thought of as an accessory for the super-wealthy, and a brand exclusive to the upper echelons of society. Considering people think of golf in the same terms, these two seem like the perfect fit. Well, they are, and they have a relationship that stretches more than half a century. Rolex has been a sponsor and key partner to golf events and organizations for over fifty years. The bond between the two began growing back in 1967, when the Big Three, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer became official partners.
In 1980, Rolex’s presence in golf became more apparent, as the Geneva-based company began forming new alliances, and its clocks appeared on tournament courses across the nation. For thirty years, Rolex has been the official timekeeper of The Open Championship. In 1980, it partnered with the LPGA, and in 1997, it became the timekeeper for the European Tour. Today, you can see players such as Bubba Watson, Nelly Korda, Tommy Fleetwood, and Rory McIlroy spotting the company’s watches.
Nike is the world’s biggest sportswear brand by far, as no one can compare to the revenues that the Beaverton giant rakes in each year. In 2020, the company reported revenues over $37 billion, accounting for 42% of the entire market capitalization. The titan continues to innovate, and it maintains its image by having a foothold in almost every sport. The company has numerous sub-brands, one of which was Nike Golf, which shut down in 2016.
We can traceback Nike’s golf roots to 1984 when they began making golf shoes, and a year later, they sealed deals with Peter Jacobsen and Curtis Strange to endorse them. However, consumers did not take to the products, and the endeavor proved a flop. In 1996, Nike signed a golf prodigy by the name of Tiger Woods to a staggering five-year deal worth $40 million, and in 2001, Nike Golf became its own division. Despite the company’s exit from the golf equipment business, today, they still sell golf shoes, apparel, and other accessories via their website.
When you think Lacoste, you likely think of tennis. With good reason, as one of its founders, René Lacoste was a French tennis player nicknamed – the Crocodile. He is widely known as the creator of the Lacoste tennis shirt, introduced in 1929. However, what few know is that both René’s wife and daughter, Simone Thion de la Chaume and Catherine Lacoste were champion golfers. Also, René and his wife were presidents of Golf de Chantaco, a club in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, founded in 1928.
The polo shirt is a signature style on the green and has been for decades because it’s a seamless combination of functionality and style. Nowadays, many golf clubs incorporate it in their dress codes, and many golfers prefer the Lacoste polo above all others. On the sponsorship side of things, the company has had partnerships with numerous golfers on the European tour, including Adri Arnaus, Daniel Berger, Camille Chevalier, Julien Guerrier, and Raphael Jacquelin.
Few associate the German luxury fashion house with golf, but that doesn’t mean that the two don’t have a long-lasting bond. Founded in 1924, Hugo Boss’ is one of the biggest European clothing companies with global sales of €2.9 billion in 2019. It started its golf journey in 1986, with a sponsorship deal with German golfer Bernhard Langer, who at the time was the sport’s number one ranked player, following the creation of the OWGR.Since 1997, Hugo Boss apparel has become a mainstay on courses around the world, boasting the perfect union of high-tech materials and innovative details that distinguish it from competitors and cement the look of the modern day golf pro.Today, the company sponsors a selection of golf’s emerging talents and established stars, such as Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Byeong-Hun An, Haydn Porteous, and Sean Crocker.