PGA Tour victories are tricky business for shaft manufacturers. If you need an example, check out True Temper Golf’s recent social media post from the Open Championship. Brian Harman prevailed at Royal Liverpool using the company’s Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts in his Titleist irons and wedges – but his name is not mentioned in the post. Open Champion only.
In a sea of gear brands scrambling to enlist the sport’s biggest names to promote their wares, upper manufacturers rarely, if ever, join the fray. First of all, the offers are expensive and shaft manufacturers cannot guarantee that a player will keep their product all season long. And in the case of True Temper, there’s really no need to compensate the world’s best gamers if they’re willing to play your product for free – even if it requires you to get creative with the marketing message when you can’t to use a product name, picture and likeness of the player.
If sponsoring a player to use the product is out of the question, getting them to wear the brand’s logo on the front of the hat is pipe dream. Long considered the most visible piece of real estate on a touring pro, the front of the hat can cost anywhere from $250,000 to $3 million a year, depending on the player.
But what about the amateur side? With the rise in popularity of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) deals, True Temper jumped in the water this season and teamed up with recent US Amateur Champion Nick Dunlap to wear a logo hat. Yes, the wave giant has quietly entered the apparel space with gear sporting the True Temper and Project X logos.
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True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue iron shaft
The True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue is ideal for players looking for a low launch, low spin shaft designed for optimal control and accuracy. You can purchase the True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue built to your desired specifications. The True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue is the gold standard by which all other iron shafts are measured. It is the most successful shaft in the history of golf and continues to dominate on professional tours every year. Tour Issue shafts hold the industry’s tightest weight tolerances to ensure the demanding performance demanded by the best players. You can purchase the True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue in the following flex versions: S400 and X100.
Judging by the blue True Temper hat Dunlap wore to Cherry Hills Country Club all week, it’s easy to assume the brand has converged on the University of Alabama product. But according to Keenan Phillips, True Temper’s manager of product marketing and development tours, the deal was anything but transactional.
Dunlap’s connection to True Temper – he currently plays True Temper products at every club except 3-Wood – goes back to his caddy Jeff Curl, who previously played on the Korn Ferry Tour. During his time on the tour, he began working closely with True Temper Tour representative Tom Bill to tweak Dunlap’s shaft setup as he got older.
From that point on, Bill began sending sporadic shipments of True Temper hats and apparel to both Curl and Dunlap – and something got stuck. Dunlap had a fondness for a True Temper American Steel camo hat that came his way. He liked the hat so much that he ended up wearing it when he won the US Junior Amateur two years ago.
Dunlap not need to wear the hat, but he liked the look and continued to support True Temper when not attending college events. It was around this time that True Temper began to place a greater emphasis on elite amateur gaming, and Keenan Phillips, True Temper’s manager of product marketing and development tours, began seeing Dunlap at events.
“Our goal was to be a resource to support our OEM partners and aspiring gamers to ensure they had everything they needed from a knowledge or product support standpoint and that they were taken care of,” Phillips said per E -Mail to GOLF.com. “From then on I’ve been seeing Nick at more and more events over the past few years and we just hit it off.”
True Temper hadn’t considered the idea of a NIL deal or anything like that until Dunlap reached out to True Temper inquiring about a partnership to wear their hats at amateur events. Given the organic compound, they felt it made too much sense to put Dunlap on the company’s first and only zero for the hat.
“[H]”He felt a connection to our company and appreciated the support we had given him throughout his career,” said Phillips. “Also, he liked the idea of wearing a different hat from everyone else he played against, as wearing a True Temper hat had become unique to him.
“We care about Nick as a person and as a player and we never wanted to force him to play any of our products – our contract is based solely on stipends to wear our hat. We are lucky that he has played all of our products for a long time.”
In fact, Dunlap’s True Temper shaft setup that he used to win the US Amateur title was exactly the same one he used at the US Junior Amateur title, aside from a bespoke cosmetic Project X HZRDUS driver shaft , which was made for him earlier this year.
While it’s nice to have the lion’s share of the shanks in both of Dunlap’s biggest amateur wins, Phillips admitted that having the True Temper logo on the front and center of the US amateur’s hat made the moment extra special.
“That doesn’t really happen with well companies, so it was great for us to witness this win,” said Phillips. “Nick is one of the most ambitious, talented and kind people you can meet. He means a lot to us and we are very happy for him and his achievements.”
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https://golf.com/gear/nick-dunlap-us-amateur-grateful-gear-brand/ Nick Dunlap’s win in the US Amateurs put the spotlight on a grateful gear brand