The FootJoy WeatherSof golf glove celebrates its 25th birthday in 2014 so I met with Senior Director of Marketing for FootJoy gloves, Maria Bonzagni to find out how the product has evolved in that time and to get the latest on golf glove performance and technology.
Hi Maria. The WeatherSof glove is 25 years old so can you tell me the secret to the longevity of that model?
In 1990 we launched the first WeatherSof glove and the beauty of that was its microfibre aspect gave golfers the look of leather but the performance of synthetic combined with high durability because it has a leather palm patch and a leather thumb. Now 2 out of every 10 golfers prefer the WeatherSof glove.
That's quite remarkable. In all that time has the WeatherSof glove changed in anyway?
We continue to evolve the WeatherSof glove in terms of improving the material both on the synthetic side and on the leather side. We have core relationships with Pittards of England on the leather front and this is the 9th generation of leather technology called Taction 2 that is found on the palm pad and thumb of the WeatherSof. We also have a core relationship with our Japanese synthetic supplier who were the first to launch this product back in 1990 and we continue to have that great relationship today.
That’s a great history for the WeatherSof. What is new in the gloves today? We can see a lot of colour on the table beside us so can you explain the thinking behind that.
It is great to bring colour back to the range. When we launched it in 1980 in StaSof we had a plentiful amount of colours. Today we have colours again with the FJ Spectrum which has a leather palm and a Hi Fast colour synthetic back so you get the benefit of feel on the palm when you need it, but having the colour fastness of the synthetic keeps the colour on the glove and not somewhere else. The synthetic back also provides a great fit, aids moisture management and consistency throughout the life of the glove.
You talk about the lifetime of the glove. What can ordinary golfers do to try and extend the life of their glove?
The aspects of a glove and how they wear depends on a number of factors. If the golfer hits a full bucket of balls before they play, that’s like a full round of golf. If you take a full practice swing before each shot then that is like another round of golf, so if you do all these things it is like 3 rounds of golf within one day's play. Generally for a StaSof glove if it is a perfectly fitting glove, then it should last around 15 rounds or so, whereas a WeatherSof glove should last twice as long as that.
How important is it to get the right size of glove?
Fit is such an important aspect of the golf glove as if it fits correctly it won't slip as much and therefore wear as much. It amazes me that, in the 20 years I have been doing this and also as both a golfer and working in a pro-shop, around 30% of golfers are in the wrong fitting glove. Much like footwear, you need to have a glove to fit you with a nice tight fit so that you are at one with the glove and the club. You should have no product interference, no wrinkle, no movement, no friction and therefore no blisters or calluses.
Most importantly the number one benefit of a glove during the swing is grip pressure and when you wear a properly fitted glove it reduces grip pressure to allow you to play the game much more freely, comfortably and with better performance.
How would you recommend maintaining the glove after play?
Absolutely. After you play you should allow the glove to dry naturally and then store the glove flat in the original package so that it retains its life.
Are there any new materials on the horizon for golf gloves?
There is a lot of technology derived with our existing suppliers both on the leather and synthetic sides, but we also have unique materials such as the 3M gripping material that we have in the RainGrip Xtreme product that gives an extra level of grip performance in adverse conditions. Why not extend the season of play by having products for rainy conditions, cool weather, as well as hot weather conditions. We are working with a supplier in Japan to develop a nano-fibre to have improved grip when the weather gets hot.
Something we have heard is people using wet weather gloves in hot weather because the sweat makes the fibres stand up like they do in the rain. Is that something you have ever thought of promoting?
Absolutely. When you have more contact points with the grip it improves performance. Leather has a grain to it, whereas synthetic products, such as the GTxtreme which is the number 2 glove in Europe, also have tactile points to them. So working with these other materials that still feel great it is an advantage of our gloves over others.
Do you ever work with any of the grip manufacturers to come up with a perfect combination of glove material and grip material?
We work with the equipment side of Titleist and with different vendors to develop materials that work with different types of grip. More importantly it is the durability of the glove over various cord or half cord grips and we want the gloves to last just as long with those type of grips as they do with a rubber grip.