Editor’s Note: This post was written for Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club’s blog to introduce iliac golf to their golf shop. Photos are courtesy of iliac golf.
Arroyo Trabuco is excited to announce the addition of iliac Golf to its pro shop line up! Iliac is a luxury lifestyle brand that has existed only online and the exclusive clubs (Pine Valley, Royal Portrush, etc.) since its founding in 2005 but has established a loyal and sizeable following.
Founder Bart LaMar says he is now bringing the brand public at a select number of Southern California courses, including Arroyo Trabuco, to better serve his existing customers and grow the exposure to the product.
“I feel like I owe it to my customers,” said LaMar, who’s based in Carlsbad. “We have a big customer base on the web site (www.iliacgolf.com), but they don’t have a place to go and try it on, unless you can get into a Pine Valley.
“So I think it’s really important to put it in a few places, but I’m putting it in places where I can still be really hands-on. I want people to discover the quality and the brand.”
The Iliac line started with a specialty in premium leather head covers and uniquely styled shirts – you’ve likely seen one on the back of PGA Tour pro Jimmy Walker – and is now a full-scale lifestyle brand (shoes, pants, belts, etc.).
Arroyo Trabuco Head Golf Professional Michael Block said the brand is a natural fit for Arroyo.
“It was a no-brainer for us to work with Bert and iliac because their style fits so well with our culture at the club,” Block said. “To be able to offer the iliac brand in our golf shop is just one more way that we can set ourselves apart, not only from other golf clubs, but even local clothing stores.
“It’s a unique and exciting opportunity to offer that label at Arroyo Trabuco.”
In this Q & A, LaMar shares the story of the founding and growth of the iliac brand, educates you about its merchandise and apparel and discusses the launch at Arroyo.
Q. You had previous successful ventures in skateboarding and snowboarding. Why the move to golf?
A. I’m a golfer and tried to turn pro for a few years, but didn’t make much money at it. I fell in love with the vintage classic style of the sport and wanted to do something that honored golf’s rich tradition. Everything iliac is rich in tradition.
I started by making luxury leather head covers and shirts and basically pioneered the head cover category.
Q. Zach Johnson and others have donned the brand on the PGA Tour. What do you think the appeal is to Tour pros?
A. I think us being fashion-forward inspires a lot of these guys and the flavor of it. It’s different. I don’t make khaki pants and striped shirts.
There’s also a higher level of support, design and service that you don’t get from the biggest companies.
Q. Jimmy Walker is one of the current Tour pros to have worn your apparel. How did that relationship come about?
A. He was ranked around No. 100 in the world at the time and nobody really knew him about and he dressed like everyone else. Our clothing was a big step for him. He started with blacks and solids and was getting a lot of compliments.
His game started to ascend at the same time, and I really think there’s a connection between looking good and playing well.
Q. What’s the best benefit you and the brand get from your clothing and apparel being on Tour?
A. From shirts to pants to belts to shoes, I’m always kind of inventing things out of Tour necessity. I’ve sometimes solved a problem they didn’t even know they had. That’s designing from the highest level. The Tour is where a lot of my ideas come from.
Q. How does that process and the appeal of wear Tour-quality apparel trickle down to the amateur player?
A. This is Tour-level high fashion but also the technical performance of the product carries over to the amateur. We’re for people who are serious about their game and serious about their apparel. There’s also a learning curve with the product because it’s different than anything else out there.
But once people become an iliacker, they’re usually and iliacker for life.
Q. You didn’t make the brand public until just the year. What do you hope the biggest benefit will be?
A. Our brand was under the radar for a long time. We didn’t even have the name iliac on our gear until two years ago. We just had a red crest.
We were promoted mostly by word of mouth. But to me, it’s like a good restaurant. If it’s good, people will tell people.
We’re vintage, but we’re also very fashion-forward.
But we want to bring golf’s classic style to today’s golfer.