By Eileen Klink
What piece of golf equipment expresses our personality more than our golf bag? Like our most treasured handbag, our golf bag conveys a lot about our personal style, but it also needs to be extremely functional. Our playing partners see us with our chosen bag at every round. We might select our bag because of favorite colors, unique prints or loyalty to a preferred brand. We might even customize them to showcase achievements, a favorite team or own unique taste and personal affiliations. Golf bags are an expression of us!
There was a time when golf bags were designed for functionality and not much more. Most bags were made for the male golfer and offered in solid, masculine colors. Thankfully, in recent years, three women-founded companies have changed the game and given us the fashionable options that outplay the gender norms. They have introduced functional, high quality and innovative designs that appeal to us lady golfers.
I bow-down to these innovative businesswomen. Not only have they provided female golfers with more choices, but they have also overcome challenges and are succeeding in the traditionally male dominated golf industry.
Karen Gleason, Glove It
I met Karen at her impressive warehouse in Scottsdale, Ariz. I can attest to her fashion style and business acumen. She’s transformed Glove It to a leading golf bag manufacturer that sells nationwide and internationally, known for sporty, chic prints. In addition to golf bags, they manufacture gloves, club covers, headwear and accessory bags that can be coordinated for a total look. Yep, how about a matching golf visor and glove with your bag? I was impressed to walk through her facility full of dynamic patterns and prints at every turn.
“Being a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats, and you can learn all aspects of running a business. The most challenging is dealing with imports and navigating the constant changes,” she says.
Prior to creating Glove It, Karen owned Regalia Accessory Co., and for 18 years, traveled worldwide buying and designing clothing and accessories. As an avid golfer, her idea was conceived from a girl’s golf outing where she could only find a boring white glove to wear. Her fashion instincts sparked, and she created Glove It, LLC, fulfilling the need for functional, yet fashionable, golf accessories. Golf bags have become a significant part of her business. These days she scours the color, print and design trends to create Glove It’s golf bag and accessory collections each season, so that women golfers like me can express our individual style. Her golf bags ooze creativity!
Her advice for women entrepreneurs; go after your dream and have fun creating your vision! I, along with thousands of her customers, am glad she did.
Check out her brand at https://gloveit.com/
Jill Beyer, Birdie Babe Golf
Jill and her husband own a small golf course in the heart of Minnesota’s resort area. She started her company about 12 years ago when she could not find any girly golf bags to sell in her clubhouse. So, coming from a long line of entrepreneurs, she decided to learn how to design her own bags. She says that she has learned a lot from her journey, and I can wholeheartedly say that she has succeeded in filling her gap by creating those fun golf bags that she once had sought out. There is nothing boring or unimaginative about Birdie Babe Golf. Before my current bag (which I customized with my SKORZIE business logo) I carried Jill’s “Moondance” print golf bag. I called it my “flower power” bag, because of its very loud floral print. It was an attention grabber.
Birdie Babe has several meanings, other than the obvious. Her nickname as a kid was "Bird.” And she’s long admired one of golf’s most special luminaries, Babe Zaharias. She has also added a line of accessories with “Bogey Babe,” because she says, many ladies are happy to be “bogey babes.”
Jill thinks golf is such a healthy game for kids of all ages and would like to see more girls involved. She believes that if they have cute equipment, they will be more interested to get involved. I’d say that goes for us adults too!
Check out her brand at www.birdiebabegolf.com
Erica & Deborah Bennet, ORCA Golf
I’d be remiss not to mention these talented ladies who have made it big in the golf bag space. They are known for their hand-crafted unique approach to making custom golf bags for everyday golfers and those seeking the highest quality individually made bag. What I did not know, however, is that they also manufacture golf bags for many other companies including Callaway, TaylorMade and Ping. Recently, they were contracted to create the international team bags for the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown, which features thirty-two of the best female golfers from the top eight countries across the globe. The beautiful bags, customized for each country, were a showcase of ORCA Golf talent.
Erica and Deb launched ORCA Golf about five years ago after trying to find a custom golf bag to represent an investment company they had started. They could not find a trusting, customer friendly company in the US that would listen to their request, so they pivoted and built their own company. Their bags are created from ground zero, with care and purpose, and fully customizable to allow customers to express themselves. ORCA Golf bags are not just for women, they’re for all golfers.
Deb’s career in technology leadership spanned over 37 years where she directed and mentored a global workforce of thousands. Deb believes it’s time for the golf industry to realize that women play a much greater role in the future of golf than before.
Erica is the creative force behind the company with 30 years of experience in public relations, marketing, television and education.
“It begins with a dream, and it ends with a story,” Erica says. “The chapters are about listening, learning and growing. It’s time for women to realize the power they have. We are our own teachers.”
ORCA Golf is a philanthropic company, and the brand name represents an ocean of inclusiveness for all golfers and those with an active lifestyle. My next golf bag will be an ORCA Golf custom bag with my company logo and branding colors. I can’t wait!
My thanks goes out to these women founders who have introduced a wide range of quality and fashion forward golf bag options to help us express our uniqueness on the course. I hope you’ll give one of these brands a try when you look for your next bag.
By Eileen Klink