G/FORE bring fashion to the fairways

    We caught up with Michael Hart, National Sales Manager for G/FORE to find out about how the premium lifestyle brand has expanded its reach in recent seasons.

    How is the SS24 prebook going?
    It’s going really well. It’s grown so much since when I started working with the brand five years ago. We started with just footwear, and while it’s still 50% of our business, it’s so much more now. Our AW22 collection was a real turning point for us, off the back of good accounts doing well with the footwear. Now it’s going from strength to strength and the apparel has become a little more commercial, while retaining its distinctiveness.

    Could you explain the evolution of G/FORE’s presence in the market and how it has expanded beyond footwear?
    G/FORE started with footwear as our initial focus, and it’s still a significant portion of our sales. Footwear is a great entry point for the brand. We sell in the footwear market sweet spot of £180-200. Every golf club in the country can sell shoes in that segment, we can offer them a better margin, lower minimum quantities, and some exclusiveness they won’t get from other brands.

    However, in recent years, we’ve seen growth in the appeal of our apparel line, especially in high-end venues seeking a distinct option. Our strategy involves introducing small collections, providing exceptional service, and ensuring easy replenishment to cater to various customer preferences. Our approach caters to locations that value distinctiveness, and we always have stock of staple core products that are perfect for customisation with club cresting.

    Can you elaborate on the custom options available for G/FORE products and how they cater to different types of golf clubs?
    Absolutely. We provide various custom options including footwear and we are introducing a special type of embroidery for headwear for SS24. These options let golf clubs create unique collections that resonate with their members. Some of the custom caps for different courses are fantastic, the CHILLS for a Chart Hills is a particularly good one, as is HIG8 for Highgate. We’re also working on expanding customisation opportunities with more premium products. Our goal is to offer flexibility and personalised branding experiences for different clubs without having to order big quantities at first. We want to produce collections that are right for the club, not give them pre packaged collections that won’t sell-through.

    How does G/FORE’s in-house embroidery contribute to its appeal and service quality?
    We recently moved to our new 50,000 sq. ft Distribution Centre in Milton Keynes and with that came our in-house embroidery facility. The unparalleled quality of cresting combined with our speed and efficiency puts us on a different level to our competitors. It allows us to control product quality and offer quicker deliveries, addressing customers’ demands for fast turnarounds. Having control over the entire process ensures that our embroidery maintains high standards, setting us apart in terms of quality, lead times, and customer satisfaction.

    What role does merchandise presentation play in promoting G/FORE products?
    Merchandising is key for G/FORE and we work on curating displays that showcase our products effectively. We collaborate with customers to tailor displays that align with their club’s aesthetics. We emphasize the appeal of our products, striking a balance between commercial and unique pieces. The goal is to create an inviting and engaging shopping experience that resonates with our target customers.

    Can you discuss the potential for G/FORE to expand its presence and offerings in the market?
    While we’re currently leading with footwear, there’s a lot of untapped potential in our other product categories. Our polos, for instance, are among our top sellers online, indicating a growing demand. As we continue to build brand awareness and offer distinctive products, we believe there’s significant room for growth in various areas of the market, making G/FORE an exciting and evolving brand to consider. Our headwear and accessories are also really accessible entry points for the brand.

    How does G/FORE’s approach to product diversification and custom offerings set it apart from your competitors?
    Our approach differentiates us in several ways. While we focus on maintaining premium quality, we’re also conscious of pricing and aim to offer unique yet accessible products. Unlike some competitors that faced challenges with distribution and replenishment, we’re dedicated to providing excellent customer service, reliable stock availability with an ability to replenish when needed, and efficient lead times. These factors, coupled with our distinct designs, position us as a brand that really stands out.

    What makes G/FORE’s footwear and apparel a compelling option for golfers beyond traditional golf brands?
    G/FORE bridges the gap between performance and style, making our products versatile both on and off the course. Our footwear, like the G112, exemplifies this approach, providing exceptional comfort and design, and wearable both on and off course. More importantly, they look good when you’re dressed for golf, or with shorts and a t-shirt. Similarly, our apparel balances uniqueness with commercial appeal, offering golfers the opportunity to express their individuality while enjoying high-quality products. This blend of comfort, style, and performance sets us apart from traditional golf brands.

    Considering G/FORE’s unique positioning, what future growth opportunities do you see for the brand?
    The potential for G/FORE’s growth is significant. As we continue to expand our product offerings, enhance brand awareness, and maintain exceptional customer service, there’s room to establish G/FORE as a go-to choice for golfers seeking premium, distinctive products. With a focus on quality, customisation, and flexibility, we’re excited to see how the brand evolves and captures more of the market’s attention in the coming years. GR