Review by: GolfSpy_Matt, MyGolfSpy.com
While you may or may not know the name Rick Martin, you probably know the first brand that he founded: Fairway and Greene. After leaving that company and taking some time away, Mr. Martin is back in the golf apparel game heading up a brand that bears his own name: Martin Golf Apparel.
I’ve had a chance to test a bit of Martin apparel and speak to Rick Martin on the phone. The thing that stood out to me during my conversation with Rick was his focus on the quality of the shirt. Often, when I speak to apparel people, they tell me about the style or look that they’re going for, but Rick was focused primarily on the quality of construction. This focus on making the best possible shirt is evident in the final product. Read on to find out more about what sets Martin Golf Apparel apart from the competition.
I had read that Martin Golf Apparel was cut a bit larger than many of the new, young, fashion brands in golf, so I opted for mediums instead of larges (I vary between the two depending on brand). In retrospect, I might have been able to get away with a small (for reference, I’m a hair over 6’ tall and 200 pounds). While not unflattering, the cut of Martin shirts is definitely more relaxed. As Rick Martin puts it, “I design shirts for the guy with a big back swing.”
One important point: even though the cut is more generous, the sleeves are not overly long. The sleeves on the polos fall about an inch and a half short of my elbow.
If you prefer a snug fitting shirt, Martin probably won’t be your go to, but if you want room to move, you’ll love it.
On a scale from “Baggy” to “Spandex”: Room for a big back swing
The motto of Martin Golf Apparel is “Timeless as the Game.” With that in mind, you would correctly expect to see more understated, traditional, and classy garments. Rick told me that everything he designs is meant to pair with khaki pants or shorts because those are things that “every guy has” (as opposed to neon orange shirts and pants which are best worn in a matchy-matchy prison jumpsuit look). He went on to say that these are shirts that are meant to be worn for years and years without looking dated.
Another important aspect of Martin’s style is the focus on natural fibers. Everything from Martin is cotton, wool, or cashmere, which really sets it apart in a pro shop full of tech fabrics.
On a scale from “Dull” to “Fowler”: Classic
As I mentioned earlier, Rick Martin designs the shirts with the golf swing in mind. He told me that you will never find a player in Martin Golf Apparel picking their shirt off their back as you often do with other shirts. I’m not sure if that is a result of the material or the cut, but he’s definitely right.
Ultimately, the Martin golf shirt moves very well. When swinging a club, the shirts and vests were barely noticeable.
On a scale from “Bust a Move” to “Busting Seams”: Satisfactory
With prices ranging from $78-88 for polos and $125-250 for sweaters, Martin Golf Apparel is definitely staking out a spot on the higher end of the golf apparel market. However, price objections are probably not something that Martin will need to worry about too much because the line will only be distributed through private clubs.
While the prices are on the high side, I will say that the construction and the quality of the clothes is superior to almost every other golf shirt I’ve come across. This is best seen in the collar: far from the limp, lifeless blob that you get with so many other shirts, the thick collars on Martin golf shirts stand at attention even after some washings.
On a scale from “I’ll take one of each” to “You must be joking”: Worth the splurge
So here’s the takeaway on Martin Golf Apparel: super premium quality, natural fibers, larger cut.
As I mentioned, you won’t find Martin in your local big box, but it’s something that you will find at the better private clubs throughout the country. They are currently only making tops, but the line will expand to shorts and pants in 2013. If you want a shirt that will not only last for multiple seasons, but a shirt that will look good year after year, check out Martin Golf Apparel.