Golf heritage in apparel

Ralph Dunning, founder of Dunning Golf, tells GOLF RETAILING about his experience in the industry and how apparel has developed over the last decade.

My first experience of playing golf in the UK was in 2008 during a week-long trip to St. Andrews and its surrounding courses. That first round encountered multiple temperatures: wind, sun, rain and even more wind. Playing golf in the UK was a vastly different experience to playing back in Canada and the US and made me love the game even more.

It reminded me of where I came from prior to starting Dunning Golf back in 2001. My background was in the cycling industry which I consider to be very similar to the purist side of golf. Regardless of the weather conditions, a pure cyclist is out on the road. A player thinks the same way. Regardless of conditions, a player is on the course or on the practice range. This is how we designed and manufactured cycling apparel and we took that technical experience when we started developing Dunning. We worked with the world’s best mills and engineers to develop fabrics and fits that were specific to the game. This meant being focused on playability. That also had to mean having the ability to play in all types of weather conditions.

That first trip to the UK helped to shape the Dunning Golf brand to where it is today. It had a significant impact on the fabrics we engineer and it also pushed me to stay focused on where the game came from. The heritage side of the game of very important, but I understood that we always had to be evolving. It also made me think about how natural hand fabrics could have an impact on the future of the game and I started working on those the following year. It took us years to develop these fabrics and they are finally a part of the Dunning line now.

I was born in England in Chester and came from a surrounding of British Tailoring; my father’s best friend was Ken Williams, who owned the iconic shirt and tiemaker Turnbull and Asser. I learned from Ken and my father that timeless design is clean and classic. It is an aesthetic I grew up with and has always been important to Dunning. This is our game and our industry. It’s a game that is a significant part of our lifestyle and, at Dunning, we consider it a privilege to be a part of this game.

Our brand has grown significantly around the world over the last couple of years. This has been influenced through our professional roster of players such as Nicolas Colsaerts, David Hearn, Charles Howell and Brendan Steele. However, the main reason for growth globally has come from word of mouth amongst players who are part of our culture. We are proud to have the opportunity to partner with the Trendy Sports Agency as they share a very similar culture amongst their team and this will provide the Dunning golf brand a focused distribution strategy in the UK.