LONGball making ‘significant progress’ breaking into golf apparel industry

The apparel industry is littered with the corpses of failed clothing startups. But the Central Alberta partners behind LONGball Inc. are confident they have what it takes to stay in the game.

The apparel industry is littered with the corpses of failed clothing startups. But the Central Alberta partners behind LONGball Inc. are confident they have what it takes to stay in the game.

So far, the optimism of brothers Jeff and Jared Wood and their longtime friend Leroy Hollman appear justified. The trio’s golf-focused business has performed well since last spring, when the fledgling company was just starting to market its products.

LONGball now sells seven different men’s golf shirts, as well as a half-dozen T-shirts, a similar number of hats, and accessories like club head covers. It recently added a pair of women’s golf shirts and a women’s T-shirt, and is developing a line of pants.

The company has a roster of professional golfers who are wearing LONGball gear, and it’s earned exposure as title sponsor for such events as the recent Alberta Open and the upcoming Re/Max World Long Drive Championship Qualifier on Vancouver Island. Last week, it received praise in a blog by Rick Young, equipment and business analyst with SCOREGolf Magazine and ScoreGolf.com.

“We’ve made significant progress in the last year,” said Jeff Wood, 28, who grew up in Red Deer with his 26-year-old brother Jared.

Hollman, 29, is from Penhold.

LONGball has started to make the jump from Internet seller to retail supplier.

“Red Deer Discount Golf picked up our stuff in May,” said Wood. “It’s really helped us out to get our name out and get consumers’ feedback as well.”

Amanda Hoppe, an owner and buyer at Red Deer Discount Golf Centre, said the clothing has been well-received by her customers.

“The guys have done a great job with design, as well as putting it together with quality.

“People love it: the colour, the style, the fashion.”

LONGball plans to participate in the PGA of Alberta Buying Show in Edmonton this fall, which could open new retail doors.

“All of the golf courses and stores come to that show, and they’re able to look at our clothes and then order for the next year.”

LONGball has relied on input from the players wearing its logo: Canadian Professional Golf Tour member Parker Lilly; Asian Tour professionals Steve Lewton and Guy Woodman; Web.com Tour member Mitch Evanecz; Re/Max World Long Drive Championship contestant Matt Leslie; and long-drive contestant Jeff Freeborn.

“Everything we get, we test with all of our players,” said Wood, describing Red Deer native Evanecz’s role as that of a consultant.

“Mitch is our go-to-guy when it comes to that.”

On the women’s side, Alana Lauren performs a similar function. With a background in the fashion industry, the California resident is currently playing on The Cactus Tour and will participate in the LPGA Qualifying Tournament this August.

“She’s going to be the driver of our women’s line,” said Wood.

In addition to style and durability, comfort and functionality have been emphasized in the design process.

“We put a lot of extra effort into making sure we sourced the right material.”

A soft bamboo-cotton blend is used for casual clothing, while products intended for use on the course are made with a polyester-spandex material.

“So it gives a little more athletic feel to it, especially when you’re swinging, twisting and turning,” said Wood.

Manufacturing is done in China and Thailand.

“It took a couple trips and spending a lot of time with them, communicating exactly what we want,” said Wood, who spent the past 2 1/2 years working in Thailand as a drilling engineer.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Stolen vehicle and gun seized in Blackfalds

Blackfalds man to appear in court

China grants Ivanka Trump 5 trademarks amid trade talks

SHANGHAI — The Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval… Continue reading

Few signs of breakthrough as May set to unveil Brexit Plan B

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May was set to unveil her new… Continue reading

Winter storm brings snow, rain, wind and cold to Eastern, Central Canada

A powerful winter storm that brought heavy rain and snow to much… Continue reading

250 passengers stranded aboard airplane in frigid Labrador for 16 hours

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. — An end is finally in sight for… Continue reading

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read