Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This week, the best golfers in the world converge for the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, just north of our manufacturing plant and headquarters. It’s a tradition for the host course to give the competitors a gift and, couple months ago, the Director of Golf Operations for Kohler Co. and the Head Pro at Whistling Straits came to us to talk about Allen Edmonds being involved. They said they were hoping to give the players something special and custom-made, rather than the typical engraved glass dish that often gets left behind. Colin Hall, our head of marketing and international business, led our effort. He and I and a bunch of us here at AE are big golf fans, so we were particularly delighted to be asked and to be able to help out such a great neighbor.

Together with our production and product design teams, we chose a new shoe style that’s pictured below and named it, “The Player’s Shoe.” As I mentioned in my last blog, American classic styling has returned to the top of the charts, here and internationally, and suede is also “en fuego” as they say on the golf course. We chose our popular blucher wing tip pattern, added a new “toasted” treatment on the double-oak sole and offered it in five different colors of suede for the players and tournament executives to select their favorite. In the various colors, it’s a shoe that transcends age – as attractive to one of the flashier newcomers on tour as it is to those whose class has epitomized the great traditions of golf throughout their illustrious careers.

We’ve been taking sizes and choices all weekend and into yesterday, and hearing great reactions from the players. Our factory is suddenly like the short order breakfast kitchen on a Saturday morning, whipping up shoes from scratch in rapid fire. The shoes will all be delivered by the opening rounds on Thursday, placed in the players’ lockers. We’ve added custom shoe trees to the gift, each one engraved with the Whistling Straits PGA Championship logo and the player’s name underneath it.

It was clear we had a winner when a certain UK player, a great guys’ guy who sometimes plays with a cigar in hand, asked to order a second pair in blue as he was selecting his first pair in white. If you’re wondering….the overwhelming favorite is the Dark Chocolate (slate colored) version. Second is the Sand color, but all five are well represented in the field.

We’ve really enjoyed working with the Kohler people. They have been great. As Harvey Penick famously said, “If you play golf, you’re my friend.” I also always liked Ben Hogan’s mantra, “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

See you at the Tournament,

Paul D. Grangaard
President & CEO
Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation