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|The pattern of the Duo-Swing Diamond Golf Polo will attract attention on the course. (Courtesy of Puma)|
Cobra Golf was acquired by Puma apparel in spring 2010, beginning a perfect marriage of equipment and apparel.
Cobra-Puma boasts some of the most recognizable and dynamic players on the PGA and LPGA tours, including Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Jonas Blixt, Jesper Parnevik and Lexi Thompson, as well as a few golf celebrities, like the photogenic Holly Sonders from the Golf Channel.
Although Cobra's My Fly and Amp Cell technologies are making an impact on the course, it is the bright colors and bold patterns of Puma Golf apparel that are drawing an even wider range of interest, including youngsters who follow their favorite players around the course at tournaments decked out in Puma wear like mini-me's of Fowler, et al.
"We're not about an age," says Tom Manthe, global marketing manager for Puma Golf. "We're about a mindset."
The idea is that if you feel good on the course, and feel that you look good, it will help your game.
"When you look better, you feel better, and when you feel better, you play better," Manthe says.
In addition to the unmistakable colors and patterns that set Puma Golf apparel apart from the competition, there are a number of fabric innovations, including dryCELL fabric, that wicks moisture away from the skin and won't cling to your body during your swing, even on muggy days.
Recently, I took three Puma Golf shirts and the new AMP Golf shoe on a golf trip to Tennessee and North Carolina to test them out in conditions that varied from 50 degrees and pouring rain to 85 degrees and blazing sun.
The AMP Golf shoe ($100) has the stylistic swagger of the new Puma line -- aggressive colors and distinctive flourishes -- but the fit and feel were actually very traditional. I felt a bit higher off the ground than in some other contemporary golf shoes. The first day out of the box, it felt like my toes were a tad pinched, and my heels got a little tender, but on the second day, I had neither problem, so I'll blame a poor choice of socks on that first day. The second day of testing also included a drenching rain, yet when I took off the AMPs, my socks and feet were, quite impressively, as dry as before the round.
As traditional as the AMP shoes felt, the golf shirts feel ultra-modern to match their looks. It's easy to imagine the Colorblock Striped Golf Polo ($75), in all its pastel brilliance, on Fowler himself. The Duo-Swing Diamond Golf Polo ($80) was a bit of a shock when I took it out of the packaging -- I thought there had been a production error. The vibrant orange diamonds (a color not yet available on the Puma online store) faded into streaky pink and finally to white as the pattern moved from shoulder to belt. I contacted Kristine Owens, public relations manager for Cobra-Puma Golf, to ask if there'd been a mistake.
Owens responded, "This design is based off of a very popular watercolor trend where the colors fade out as your eyes move down the shirt." When I told my fashionista 14-year-old daughter that, indeed, the shirt was supposed to look like this, she simply asked, "Why?"
Needless to say, this particular shirt has gotten a bit of ribbing from my somewhat older playing partners. But it, along with the standard Duo-Swing Polo ($75) and the Colorblock Polo, fit beautifully. In fact, they may be the most comfortable golf shirts I've ever worn. Whether it's under hot sun or underneath rain gear, the fabrics breath beautifully and, as promised, slide over your skin like a second skin, never clinging or constricting.
Cobra-Puma's stated goal is to put fun back into the game, and in this way, perhaps lure younger people onto the links and into a sport they can enjoy their entire lives. Puma's colors and designs certainly do shake up the typically bland sartorial palette of golf apparel. If Puma's new line can make a middle-aged golf writer feel a bit younger and spunkier, they're doing something right. And even the occasional, "Look at that shirt!" makes the round more fun.
For more information, visit www.shop.puma.com.
June 3, 2013
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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