As The Antigua Group celebrates 40 years in the golf business they have a 20/20 vision for 2020. Business looks good. Their focus on the women’s collections have paid off, now accounting for 34% of revenue while women comprise only 20% of the golf population. They know what women love, like the Cinch skort. Rather than develop new trends, they capitalize on the current “spot on” trends. A few staple items carry over year to year with different colors and patterns, such as the Cinch skort and a variation of the Pearl top. Innovative designs complement these styles for full collections. What are the colors for 2020? Ron McPherson, President and CEO says the color scheme will be “still soft, pastelly. While coral is the color of the year, blues are always strong and now lavenders are too.”
As ladies’ sales grow, the one item still selling the most in green grass shops is the men’s logoed golf shirt and Antigua has a wide variety to choose from. A new innovation for spring is a button-down plaid shirt called Expert. It is considered a crossover sports shirt which can be worn for many occasions. Actually, that is the case with most of the men’s line and some of the ladies as well. Prints are a big deal now too according to Ron and appear in styles for both genders.
Antigua is a leader in the industry because of their leader, Ron McPherson whose corporate culture combines fun with business, and genuine concern for employees and customers. What stands out as Antigua’s standard is their responsiveness and that begins with Ron. At a time in history when people in general are slack at returning calls or emails, Antigua associates across the board are almost instantaneous with responses and that gets more business done.
The successful Antigua brand is attracting licensees such as a high-end men’s underwear company which pays royalties to carry the Antigua name, quality of course ensured. They have access to Desert Dry fabrics and sales while owning the manufacturing and inventory. Sunglass companies are making overtures to do the same. Licensing is a smart growth strategy employed by many big names that sell. Polo for example makes 25% or less of their own products but other companies pay to use their name. Nike signed with Fanatics as another example and Arnold Palmer’s iced tea is actually a beverage company in Phoenix using the hefty brand name.
One fun part of the business for Antigua is a tournament held annually at Grayhawk Golf Club for pros and associates to thank them for their partnerships. It is a fun competition with a reasonable entry fee that includes a lot of perks throughout the day and gives back to many winners as well as charity. The conclusion of the event includes a “Dry Heave” closest to the pin competition hitting from the tenth tee area of the Talon course where food and beverages are served with rock music blaring. The target is the Talon 18th green across the pond, with teams hitting simultaneously. It is hilarious fun while forty years of memories are shared and new ones made among old and young PGA, LPGA pros and associates.
As the 40th year of Antigua is marked, so sadly, is the 20th year of the loss of Payne Stewart, a huge ambassador for Antigua apparel and a personal friend of Ron’s. Over the years, many friendships have been forged with pros and VIPS, including a former VP of the US. Ron was teamed with Dick Hyland against Van Batchelder and then Vice President Dan Quayle, surrounded by Secret Servicemen in Los Cabos. Graciously accepting a loss, Mr. Quayle invited them to his home for the 19th hole tradition. Later they received a package from the White House which included photos of them enjoying time with the VP, photos which the servicemen had secretly taken. Antigua’s success is no secret after 40 years.