Business Blog



Next time you're at the driving range, on the golf course or in a retail store, take a good look at the golf equipment. You'll see something that's happening across many segments of the sporting goods market. The golf industry is embracing the lifestyle trend, where crossover merchandising is the name of today's game. And one company is crossing over with a visible difference. 


Pinemeadow Golf -- based in Wilsonville, Oregon -- has been manufacturing golf bags, clubs, club covers and other gear for 30 years. Pinemeadow is a value brand, built on the premise that you don't have to pay high prices to get good equipment. But in today's lifestyle-dominated market, what customers see often influences what they buy. So Pinemeadow began targeting a market that nobody else in the golfing business was focusing on.


A few years ago, Pinemeadow produced a golf bag adorned with the company's own camouflage design. The bag was a success, so Pinemeadow took the next logical step and pursued a partnership with Realtree.


Tom Berry is Pinemeadow's Director of Marketing and Affiliate Services. He said the golf industry is evolving to match consumer tastes, and companies are trying to be more creative with their offerings. "We've seen color preferences in equipment first shift from white to matte black. Now you can find about any color pattern imaginable," Berry confirmed. And that includes Pinemeadow golf gear patterned with Realtree camo.


Now, golfers can find a complete a lineup of products featuring the Xtra Green pattern, from drivers and fairway woods to putters and golf bags.


"Realtree has done such a good job of branding," Berry said. "People just like the camo patterns; they like the idea of the design. We're targeting anyone who is a fan of the pattern."


Pinemeadow is the only golf company producing Realtree-patterned gear. The association has helped Pinemeadow capture a crossover market of hunters and anglers who play recreational golf, but might not be brand loyal when it comes to golf equipment.


"It's our hope to just get more people out and enjoying the game of golf. And having the Realtree gear helps us connect with the lifestyle market," Berry said.


"If an outdoors enthusiast sees a golf club with Realtree's pattern, they're likely to try the product based only on their experience with the brand," he continued. "I carry some Realtree clubs in my golf bag, and people are always asking me about the clubs. It's a very identifiable brand."


Berry said the camo golf products also make natural gifts when shopping for a hunter or other outdoor enthusiast. It's another way Pinemeadow is tapping in to the lifestyle market. But not the only way.


This fall, Pinemeadow sister company, Lifeline First-Aid, is introducing a series of first-aid kits. The kits will come in five different sizes; and Realtree camo will decorate each kit's hard-shell foam case. The initiative is based on the success of Pinemeadow's camouflaged golf bags.


It's another market first for Lifeline and Realtree and a further example of cross-over merchandising to meet the demands of the lifestyle market.


Back on the golf course, Berry said Pinemeadow will continue to tweak its product line to give golfers something new and different. "We're looking to add new accents to the designs, with new and updated colors," noted Berry.


Just don't expect a camouflaged golf ball anytime soon.