A breakfast ball after an errant tee shot on the first hole at Silver Spring Country Club took a sharp left turn into the woods and sparked the creation of Player 2. The idea for the brand’s logo and slogan Connecticut-based clothing company then took hold as the refrain ‘drop another’ was repeated often during the round.
The group consisted of three decent golfers who are far better businessmen and brand builders: AJ Romeo runs the sports marketing company Barnburner; Bill McGarry is senior vice president of advertising, sales and strategic partnerships at AccuWeather; and David Petrie co-founded Blue Buffalo, a pet food company that was acquired by General Mills
“We’re here to have a good time, be with friends and buddies and have a nice walk on a course on a Friday afternoon with a cocktail or two and it all came to life on the course,” says Petrie.
“It resonated. Anyone who’s ever played golf knows that if you’re at Pebble Beach or Pinehurst, you get to the first tee and you’re nervous. If you smack it, you hope one of your buddies in your band tells you to drop another one,” he adds.
The idea of taking a mulligan following a chunky shot, rocket hosel, or unexpected visit from the shank-a-potomus is very relevant territory for recreational duffers. It’s also not a name that demands no explanation from its target audience, especially when paired with the upstart brand’s cheeky logo of a gloved hand about to drop a golf ball.
“Some people call him player B. Some people call him second team All-American. In the south they call him ‘a Bubba’. But player 2 always comes up. It’s about trying to get player 2 to hit that shot for you all the time and the only way to do that is hang out with your buddies having fun where you can drop another one and get that breakfast ball” , said Romeo.
The trio behind player 2 have the utmost respect for the rules governing the game and would never play so fast and loose in a tournament setting. But they believe there’s nothing wrong with taking the occasional mulligan with friends, a sentiment shared by legions of weekend golfers.
Along with embracing a playful vibe – they dub the cooling technology in their shirts “Brrº Triple Chill Effect” – which separates Player 2 from the dozens of booming golf apparel brands offering striped polo shirts that wick away heat. perspiration as well as hoodies and graphics. t-shirts?
“A lot of these brands come out with what I would call extra-designed shirts that you can only wear once. of your regular rotation. You wear a Player 2 shirt once a week on a golf course and you feel good,” says Roméo.
Player 2 invested in a 20 X 20 island booth at the 2022 PGA Merchandise Show to show the extent of his front row to golf club reps and generate initial business. Thanks in large part to connections made at the annual industry show, the brand will be stocked in 20-25 pro shops by July. Current accounts include Richter Park, Essex Fells, Mountain Ridge and Knickerbocker Country Club.
Player 2’s goal is to make their way into 600-800 clubs by the end of 2026. With over 4,000 private and public green grass shops in the country, they consider their target is on the conservative side. Establishing a presence at guest-member tournaments, charity outings and also setting up prime-time activations on high-traffic courses is key to their growth strategy.
“We want to incorporate a mobile marketing strategy to enable us to talk to golfers and be in front of them. We don’t have a huge advertising budget like some of the established brands, so being able to interact with golfers face-to-face face-to-face on site is going to be a big boost for us going forward,” says Petrie.
While Player 2 attracted the interest of a major national retailer after the PGA Show, the time had not yet come.
“We want to make sure that we take care of our green grass accounts first, start small, expand and expand, and then eventually we can get into those big box stores. It’s something we want to do, but we don’t want to cannibalize the market just yet,” says Roméo.
The company’s goals are ambitious but very achievable, aiming to capture 3% market share in the golf apparel space over the next five years.
“It’s a huge industry that we believe will continue to grow and develop. If Player 2 could carve out a small segment for himself in the golf industry, that would be a home run for us. We’re young and just getting out of the gate and we’ll see where it takes us, but we’ll definitely have fun and enjoy it along the way,” says Petrie.