Eddie Fadel, a highly respected golf apparel executive is “coming home” as the President of Ashworth Golf, having previously served in many capacities for the iconic brand after its debut in 1987.
Fadel’s 30+ year career in the golf apparel industry has spanned every sector of the supply chain, and in this new role, Fadel is responsible for leading the resurgence of Ashworth Golf in the U.S. marketplace.
His expertise in sourcing the best fabrics and materials, combined with his deep understanding of all facets of the supply chain, will help reinvigorate an authentic, classic brand, while also integrating a blend of innovative design elements for today’s discerning golfer.
THE FADEL STORY:
I’ve been golfing since I was seven years old. I caddied growing up and come from a golfing family. My brother is in the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame, and I still enjoy playing competitively — with colleagues and friends. I’ve grown up with Ashworth, and it’s truly the ultimate brand made by golfers for golfers.
Ashworth is such a revered brand for the 45+ demographic, and it’s the perfect time to introduce a new look Ashworth, with the iconic golfman logo. I’m excited to relaunch in the U.S. market, going back to our green grass roots, while also catering to the next generation of golfer seeking a lifestyle brand with performance attributes.
The unwavering support of Newtimes Group, a global leader of retail supply chain management is truly a gamechanger for Ashworth. Now, the brand has additional resources, and a competitive advantage in supply chain operations, which is huge in today’s marketplace.
Ashworth is returning to the USA market — why now?
We love the brand and golf and saw an opportunity to bring the Ashworth brand back to its roots – a dedicated classic golf brand made by golfers for golfers.
TaylorMade/adidas acquired Ashworth in 2008 and I have been trying to get it back since 2016 when adidas sold TaylorMade and Ashworth to KPS.
The apparel category is a very competitive one — what differentiates Ashworth from your competition?
Ashworth has always connected emotionally with its consumers and they live the brand, they don’t just wear it. It’s an authentic golf lifestyle. Additionally, the collection is a unique blend of natural fabrics and performance attributes that is true to its original style ethos.
Who is your customer, what do they want and how is Ashworth positioned to do so?
Our customers are avid and/or passionate players. They want golf clothes that first and foremost moves with them when the play, and performs in all climates and represents them as a golfer.
As a brand dedicated to authenticity, we are an aspirational brand in that we represent a culture. When seen wearing the Golfman logo, he is recognized for his passion for golf.
From the standpoint of sales — what’s the approximate percentage of your efforts via online, brick and mortar and green grass shops?
The brand’s distribution is planned for 80% green grass and resort and 20% online. We currently have no plans for brick and mortar.
Green grass has always been and will always be the single most important channel of distribution for Ashworth because we are all golf – made by golfers for golfers.
Ashworth is widely associated with Fred Couples and other leading players. Do professional endorsements still resonate with the golf public or are they merely window-dressing?
There is no denying endorsements create brand awareness, keeps it top-of-mind, and in our experience, sells featured items. On the heels of our relaunch in the U.S., Fred is coming home and will once again be a part of the Ashworth team.
He will be outfitted in Ashworth Golf apparel when he competes on the PGA TOUR Champions and in professional events around the globe.
How would you categorize the brand of Ashworth for those unfamiliar with it in America?
Ashworth was born in the U.S. and was the leader in golf apparel for many years. As a result, there continues to be a fanbase for the brand and significant brand equity and awareness.
We continue to bump into golfers who have the Golfman tattoo – what other golf brand can say that? Today, younger consumers look for integrity and authenticity in the brands they buy.
They do their homework and respond to true craftsmanship and heritage. They seek retro styles and vintage quality – the new Ashworth ticks all the boxes for them.
Many companies tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach followed by Ashworth.
Ashworth is customer-centric in its thinking – in terms of product including fit, movement, and performance. Now, with the production power of Newtimes Group behind the brand, we have a competitive advantage in supply chain operations, and will deliver great product…on time. We take pride in being the most reliable brand in the market.
What roles does customer feedback play in your production efforts?
We listen to our customers and meet with their needs.
Best advice ever received – what was it and who from?
Ely Callaway once told me you have to be demonstrably superior and pleasingly different. Meaning it’s easy to be different, but the test is to be better.
Biggest challenges facing the company — short and long term — is what and how do you expect to handle each?
The golf apparel field is significantly more crowded now. Our challenge is to let the industry know we are back, reconnect with our customers, and attract new customers.
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Photos Courtesy of Ashworth