ORLANDO, Florida (Lisa ‘Longball’ Vlooswyk/iG) — Each year at the PGA Show held in Orlando, Florida, hundreds of golf affiliated manufacturers present their latest and greatest as well as proven products for viewing at this massive trade show that kicks off the new year for golf in grand style.
Far from being left out, several Canadian-based companies use this platform to take centre stage in displaying some outstanding products ranging from clothing to equipment to eyewear and all manner of accessories for golf.
Also each year, Inside Golf’s Lisa ‘Vlooswyk,’ the 7-time Canadian Women’s Long Drive Champion, checks out these companies and reports on them for our information, education and entertainment. Following is her 2016 PGA Show Canadian Company product review.
This Canadian manufacturer of innovative footwear originally launched at the PGA Show in 2014 and since then has exploded across the golf footwear market the last 2 years. CEO & President Rick Buchanan used his 15 years of experience in the fashion industry paired with his knowledge of unique fabrics and sourced out Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) which is an ultra-light, ultra-flexible material to create a shoe that feels uber smooth and comfortable.
The shoe is styled as a slip on shoe and meant to be worn with bare feet. It gives a flexible, form-fitting feel. Biion’s shoes are spikeless and feature a hexagon-patterned cleat with Hextra-grip Technology. In addition to providing stability and traction on the course, the lack of spikes allow the shoe to be worn for leisure and lifestyle and have become popular with the boating community for their grip, wash ability and easy drying capability.
In addition to comfort it offers an extensive array of colours and designs including neon colours, standard shades and patterns entitled Leopard, Anchor, Snake, Luau and Flamingo. There are fun Sponge Bob Square Pants designs for the Biion Kiids shoe line.(www.biionfootwear.com).
This Vancouver based company took standard boring luggage and turned it upside-down. Introduced to the market in 2013 this Canadian company set out to make luggage that was stylish, individualized, fashionable and most importantly functional. Their first luggage collection was named ‘The MileHigh Collection.’ They focused on improving the components of standard luggage to make a superior product. As a result bigger wheels, military grade zippers and an aluminum finished handle all caught the public’s eye.
Each product line includes must have innovations such as the Think Tank messenger bag with recoil handle, seat belt straps for shoulder strap, airline ticket pocket and plush liners for valuables. The golf carry bag the Kozmak, is designed for every convenience for the golfer who actually carries including the angled water bottle holder, range finder pouch, score card sleeve, EVA moulded sunglasses pouch and adjustable foot pads for hills and walking accessible fleece lined phone pouch. New for 2016 is the Carpaccio back pack with hard top sunglass holder, pockets for power cords, business cards and ear buds.
The hip, stylish and well planned luggage comes in everything from duffle bags, suit cases, golf bags, lunch bags, toiletry bags, back packs, carry ons, and travel covers. (www.projektco.com)
The same Vancouver based owners of Projekt also launched the high performance underwear brand 2UNDR in the same year, 2013. The purpose was to create high performance men’s athletic underwear that could be worn for everyday use as well. The fundamentals of the design were inspired by the Kangaroo-pouch and lead to the now trademarked Joey Pouch Technology that offers a soft and comfortable feel and prevents skin on skin contact.
Other favorite features include The Fly that provides increased air flow, the No-Drip-Tip that wicks away moisture, the flat locked stitching and construction seams designed to avoid potential rub zones and the Swass Patch the top of the back of the underwear to prevent a sweaty buttocks region.
New and popular for 2016 are camo styles, stripes, and new colours and patterns like Anchors Away and Boat Drinks. The Euro fit with a 3 inch inseam was also introduced this year. It has been popular with businessmen as the Euro style prevents lines showing under suits and have become a hot item for women to wear to bed. (www.2UNDR.com).
Started in 1976, in Calgary, Alberta, the skiwear company SUNICE began its journey to be heralded as the leader of technical outerwear in Canada. In 1992 SUNICE made their foray into the golf outwear market and since then has developed its line to include shirts, pullovers, socks, pants, skorts and shorts for both men and women.
The SUNICE performance system offers base layers, mid layers and outer layers all with varying degrees of waterproof, wind proof and breathability. SUNICE has helped golfers realize to trust the fabric and that lined jackets don’t mean warmer. They are a performance company that is focused on creating product that will not impede the swing.
An improved fabric for 2016 is Zephal, a propriety fabric to SUNICE that is a tour favourite offering one of the lightest woven stretch fabrics in rainwear.
Popular colors this year for men are vibrant blues and deep red (Merlot) for the fall and for the women Iris (light purple) with lavender and navy (www.sunice.com).
ACCRA Golf Shafts
ACCRA has long been known as a premium shaft company based in Kingston, Ontario. Their company philosophy has always been that all golfers are better served when properly fit by a professional club fitter. ACCRA focuses on creating products with cutting edge technology and style that has made it popular from consumers to professional golfers.
ACCRA offers shafts for all clubs from putter to driver. It now offers the first premium shaft for Junior golfers in their SRT line. Two of the most popular new additions for 2016 is the 400 series of the Concept line for golfers and the Tour Zx400 series which is ideal for golfers looking for lower launch and spin.
The surprise announcement at the at the PGA Show was that ACCRA has created a business partnership with True Temper Sports where ACCRA will be responsible for distribution and sales of all aftermarket True Temper shafts in North America and Europe (www.accragolf.com).
NIVO Sport and SLIGO Wear
Lanctôt Ltée is a family run business, based out of Montreal and is the parent company of women’s golf brand NIVO since 2007, and as of August 2015, men’s golf apparel company, SLIGO. Nivo Sport is directed at active women looking for a stylish brand both on and off the course. It is youthful but not young. They pride themselves on being style driven with “design inspirations drawn from today’s fashion runways, not yesterday’s golf fairways.” Their collection offers solids, vibrant colors and unique patterns along with wind proof and water proof pieces (www.nivosport.com).
Sligo Wear combines North American and European fashion with technical fabrics. It is cool, fun and edgy and is meant to look like an outfit. Stripes and bold colors are used to help set their outfits apart and the Sligo belt is a large part of their branding. There is also a kid’s line for young boys that want to look and play like dad (www.sligowear.com)
This was one of the best new products at the PGA Show this year. Dormie Workshop started in October of 2014 and is based out of Dartmouth, NS. It was co-founded by two brothers Jeff and Todd Bishop both who are PGA of Canada members and former mini tour players. While playing professional golf the brothers saw an increasing trend and opportunity to create genuine leather products for head covers for drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and putters. They are Canada’s only head cover company.
Their head covers come in a variety of colours and can be personalized in any way imaginable. Much like a tattoo, if you can think it up they can create it. Their head covers are sold in pro shops across Canada including Cabot Links, The National, Victoria Golf and Country Club and Nicklaus North. Canadian PGA Tour players Graham DeLaet and David Hearn use their product on their 3 woods (www.dormieworkshop.com).
This high performance vision company has been in business over 30 years and is based in Calgary, AB. Their product it always cutting edge and offers consumers style and value. They have had a long lasting partnership with LPGA star Paula Creamer who not only wears Sundogs but also designs her own line.
New for 2016 is the ground breaking technology TrueBlue® MOLP Lens Technology (Melanin plus Ocular Lens Pigment) founded by Dr. James Gallas. He has created the ability to incorporate Melanin with Ocular Lens Pigment to help protect the eye from High Energy Visible light (blue light) that is harmful to the eye lens, retina and macula.
The combination of the two natural substances Melanin and OLP now protect the eye from invisible and visible light and is the only non-prescription sunglass lens in the world to incorporate both.
FlingStickSundog Eyewear is now worn for Golf, Running, Cycling, Fishing, Hunting, the Beach, and for fashion and are available at golf courses, Golf Town, Sport Chek, Running Room and shops across Canada (www.sundogeyewear.ca).
Fling Golf (Honorary Mention)
This is not a Canadian company but combines Canada’s national sport of Lacrosse and golf in one. It is played on a regular golf course with a golf ball and special FlingStick for every shot. It is a lightweight, carbon fiber stick with a high tech cradle for the ball at the end. The player hurls the golf ball like a lacrosse ball and counts the number of throws made until the ball is holed out. It is either pushed or rolled with the FlingStick on the green. It is played at hundreds of courses across USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Mexico. (www.flinggolf.com)