Senior Product Manager
Interview with Matt Ward
Began his career with FootJoy as a Customer Service Rep in May 2011, a little over a year after graduating from Georgia Southern University.
After just shy of two years working with the Customer Service team, DJ joined the Glove, Sock and Gear team for FJ, which initiated his passion for all things product. Since February 2013, his commitment to the FJ brand and its rich history has been focused on all things gloves.
What distinguishes the FootJoy golf glove line-up versus your competition?
It starts with our unrelenting commitment to product quality & performance but also; the amount of glove models we have really stands out when looking at a well-stocked glove wall at a shop or store. We offer the most models and sizes to give golfers exactly what they are looking for in a golf glove. It is our goal to make sure there is the perfect glove out there for every golfer.
Have supply issues risen because of the pandemic?
The game of golf and the demand for golf products remain at an all-time high and we are seeing it have its positive effect on the glove category. As rounds of play continue to increase, consumables like gloves and balls will continue to be in high demand. At FJ, we will never stop doing everything we can to meet the demands of our customers and golfers around the world.
Who is your customer today?
Every golfer, whether a long-time discerning player or a beginner picking up the game for the first time. It is our commitment to performance that provides every golfer with the glove that will help them perform their best.
Is there any difference between how men and women select golf gloves?
It depends on what the golfer is looking for out of their glove. A significant number of gloves worn in golf are the traditional Cabretta Leather pearl gloves regardless of gender. We feel it’s important to have a wide variety of gloves so no matter what a golfer is looking for in a product, we will have it.
For example, we offer the StaCooler glove, which was developed to provide female golfers with an ultra-lightweight, breathable back of hand mesh while also providing a pop of fashion with color choices.
How does FootJoy balance golf gloves to be both durable and playable?
Years and years of R&D with our materials. We develop materials with the best manufacturers in the world to meet the standards we have for our gloves. We consider gloves essential equipment for the golfer. With that in mind, it is vital for FJ to always develop, test, research, and obsess over how that material will perform the first swing out of the package to its very last swing several rounds, buckets of balls, etc. later.
Every single leather skin that we receive at our factory is tested, inspected and checked according to our standards because we know when golfers are wearing the FJ, they are trusting their game to that glove allowing them to perform their best.
What role does customer feedback play and can you itemize one example where such feedback played a leading role in future golf glove development?
We love getting feedback from golfers on our products. I feel it’s important for any product manager, developer, designer to be in tune with what our customers are saying about our products, no matter what.
There have been many instances over the years while conversing with golfers – we allow and encourage these golfers to share what’s important regarding equipment and their game. It helps us make sure we’re hitting the mark during development.
Do endorsements from members of the various world golf tours matter in terms of validation for the company?
Absolutely. We have strong relationships with the best professional and amateur golfers in the world. FJ is the #1 Glove on Tour and we take that relationship and title seriously.
We are in constant communication with our Tour and Leadership teams and work closely with testing, development, and final validation before introducing to golf shops around the world. If the world’s best players trust their game to our gloves, then we know we’re on the right track.
What specific improvements in the years ahead do you envision for golf gloves?
We are always developing new materials, applications, techniques, etc., pushing the boundaries of what golf gloves can be and how that can help golfers of all abilities. We get excited when we develop a new material that has been years in the making and the feedback from the Tour and market research is overwhelmingly positive.
Gloves is a core part of FJ’s business so our commitment to around the clock R&D and testing allows us to identify where we can make improvements to our gloves while providing golfers with the best gloves possible. We’re always pushing one another here to keep putting out the best products to golfers around the world.