When you hear the brand Stitch Golf you might think premium apparel or head covers or even their high quality golf bags and travel gear. Firmly cemented as a brand THPers pay attention to, where they came from is actually a pretty fascinating tale of “full circle” that deserves to be shared.
The year was 1991 and Brad King was the golf coach at Apex High School in North Carolina. One of his players was a young man just 15 years old by the name of Charlie Burgwyn. This relationship obviously blossomed into something much larger, and became the Stitch Golf that you are seeing today. Before getting ahead of ourselves, we must hop into the time machine and go back a decade or so to 2012. This is before the Instagrams of the world had 50 different headcover companies putting out custom leather goods and country clubs and facilities searched high and low for quality combined with something a bit different to share with their members.
Charlie Burgwyn saw a Porsche Speedster parked out in front of a golf course with a racing stripe down the middle. Immediately inspiration struck and the Racer Headcover was born. The name Stitch came from a simple concept of needle and thread and the idea was a high end custom leather headcover company. Stitch became the original custom creator of headcovers with their Premium Italian leather and racing stripes, creating something new to the golf industry.
The creation of a new product, let alone a new category, was not overlooked when it came to growth. Work went in, and acceptance was near immediate. The first large order came from a pretty well known place in Augusta, GA that just hosted a major championship.
It was off and running, but at the time and for the next handful of years, Stitch Golf was, generally speaking, a headcover company. Designed for premium country clubs and courses, and hitting a price point that was acceptable to members and craftsmanship that was unseen prior to these offerings.
Jump ahead to 2017 and this is where we come full circle, so to speak. The company was doing well, and brought in some capital for expansion of products. The high school coach of Charlie Burgwyn, Brad King sees this vision and comes on board as new CEO. Together they develop a plan moving forward to have a strong focus on premium quality, while moving towards a much larger product line.
The first products added to the lineup were the SL1 golf bag and the Ultimate Garment Bag (UGB). Anybody that follows this website or our online forum community knows my affinity for the UGB being one of, if not the best pieces of travel gear for golfers. Brad King expands on this entire time frame.
“In 2012, as a leather headcover company, the acceptance was great as the top 100 clubs in the country wanted a high-end custom leather headcover which hit a price point that was acceptable by all. In 2017, when Stitch was re-capitalized and I became involved, we introduced the SL1 golf bag and the UGB – Ultimate Garment Bag, which really put us on the map in the industry. The introduction of apparel in 2018 really poured fuel on the growth fire and we have not slowed down since. We now are pleased to offer products in every category a golfer might need while at the course, or traveling to and from.”
Now just a handful or so years from the beginning, Stitch Golf has found themselves with a much larger product lineup. What started as leather covers has broadened into travel, apparel and accessories such as bags.
Do they have a segment that gets more attention or resources? Not really. Their category plan moving forward is to have golf bags, travel gear and apparel each make up a third of the revenue and business overall and at the time momentum was real.
Momentum. Such a good word to describe what was going on with Stitch during these product expansions. When researching these stories, you can usually pin point a single product that provides it. You can find where a company goes from “doing okay” to “can we keep up with demand”. Did Stitch have that product or lightning in a bottle moment? Brad King shares his thoughts.
“The UGB was definitely the game changer for us followed closely by the SL1. When you couple something familiar with an aesthetic “aha”, you create items that look familiar but have a surprise element. That is innovation inside a structure. When we launched the UGB, which expanded us into travel gear, we were blown away by the interest. We knew that this bag had incredible innovation and from then on decided that every item we released in future launches would have innovative details that elevate our products and set them apart from competitors. We then launched the SL1, our very first golf bag, people were blown away by the sleek design, the innovative details, and the lightweight structure. This item was hard to keep in stock for a while as we had not anticipated the kind of demand we were seeing with it. The SL1 paved the way for our golf bag collection, which is now made up of our best-selling product-theSL2. The original SL1 is not currently offered anymore in its truest form, however we do offer the same bag, but now with customizable features. Launching our MIY (meaning Make It Yours) SL1 golf bag last year disrupted the golf industry and we can’t wait to expand onto this collection.”
Not every product can be a home run, and Stitch is not immune to those, but the company has a really strong way of weeding things out. Like every brand, Stitch Golf has items that perform better than others, but the company turns to their brand loyalists and customers on where they go. They create for the avid golfer. They are the avid golfer. While it sounds cliche, and certainly is to a degree, it’s real.
Five or so years ago, Brad King and Charlie Burgwyn came together again in a new relationship. While the original was coach and player, the new one is business based and this year the plan was to open retail brick and mortar stores. I’ll admit when I first read about the idea, I thought the press release was from a few years back, but the more we dove in, it made a lot of sense. When you are dealing with premium materials, quality and craftsmanship, the feel and touch can be as important as the look. We have all walked into that high end pro shop, be it at a THP Experience or bucket list course, and realized some of their goods were special. These stores offer the ability to showcase that. Brad King explains.
“Opening the two retail stores was over three years in the making. We partnered with Leap, who is a real estate and retail store operating company and they are experts at supporting emerging brands in the new venture into retail. We chose our first two locations by mirroring where we saw brand demand and loyalty from our online business as well as our green grass business. We will do more once we completely understand the economics. More to come on this front.”
This brings us full circle and to the current time. Two retail stores are now open. One of them in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and the other in Dallas, TX. Both thriving in their own way and creating a chance for more golfers to learn about Stitch Golf.
We tend to finish up these Brand Stories in similar fashion. Grabbing our crystal ball and handing it in this case to Stitch Golf and asking them to predict the future. Brad King obliged and offered this.
“Stitch’s future is bright, demand is high, expansion across the country in green grass is happening as we continue to grow our territory coverage and the brand acceptance has been high. Our online customer base is growing as well and we have a steady forward looking growth plan in all categories and channels that creates an incredibly successful and profitable company. We are disciplined and as we say, “we may be wrong but we are not confused”. We have a plan and are sticking to it.”
For more information on any of the products discussed here or to learn more about the brand, check out their website at www.stitchgolf.com.