Sumi-G was the recipient of five different “Best of 2009” awards, so naturally I needed to visit the booth during the 2010 PGA Merchandise Show (Well that and my blogger buddy Tony Korologos was manning the booth 🙂 ).
I met up with Tony and decided to interview him blogger ‘a blogger and get the low down on Sumi-G
OGB: So, Tony, tell me about Sumi-G.
Sumi-G: My first exposure to Sumi-G was at the 2009 Pga Merchandise Show when I met the owner of the company, Marius Kvinge. He’s a Norwegian guy with a very dry sense of humor.
I had had an appointment with these guys last year to talk to them and I blew them off to play golf. So on the way out of the show, I saw the booth and thought “oh man, I’ve gotta go see these guys.” So, I stopped by and started talking to them and it turns out they had launched the entire product line at the show. The company didn’t exist six months prior.
During the conversation, I asked Marius where he was from and he said “Salt Lake City.” To which I said “I’m from Salt Lake City.” I mentioned that he and I should play golf together sometime and asked him where he played and he said “I play Bonneville every Thursday.” To which I responded “I play Bonneville every Thursday, when is your tee time?” He said “8:30am.” Well, I play 9:16am and I was shocked that we’ve been playing the same course on the same day only 46 minutes apart and we’ve never met each other.
So he got me some products and I blogged about it and I became a big supporter of their product line because it’s so cool. Over the last year, the owner and I became golf buddies and eventually he said why don’t you just join the company… so I did!
OGB:Where did the idea from the headcovers come from?
Sumi-G: The headcovers came as a result of the frustration of dealing with crappy head covers. You have the sock kind and the big fat 460cc driver and you try to get the sock over it and you cant, you put the driver between your legs and try to pull it over and it doesn’t work. Then you have the pom pom ones that go through and come out the other side leaving a big hole and there’s a lot of klunky, bulky, ugly headcover designs, so these came as a result of wanting to have a better, easier to use headcover.
OGB: Are there different models of headcovers?
Sumi-G: No, not exactly, there are headcovers for drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, this year we’re introducing a white version of the headcover whereas last year we only offered the black.
OGB: I noticed there’s different logos on the headcovers, what’s the story with that?
Sumi-G: One of our big initiatives for 2010 is custom logoing on our head covers for higher end golf courses, country clubs and other green grass establishments. Minimum order will be 30.
OGB: What other Sumi-G products are there?
Sumi-G: There’s our fine leather scorecard wallet with the custom logoing, there’s our forged stainless steel divot tool with a magnetic ball marker that’s interchangeable with the belts. Back to the custom logoing, you can get your logo put on the ball marker and since it’s interchangeable, all of the sudden you have a logo belt and divot tool. There’s also the Sumi-G money clip with custom logoing.
We have a line of Sumi-G shoe, shag and hold-all bags. There’s also a Sumi-G club brush that’s similar to a nautical choke cleat that you can affix to your towel when you’re not using it and the Sumi-G logo hat.
OGB: Anything big happening this year regarding new products coming out?
Sumi-G: Well, when we got here and started setting up, Wednesday night at about 5pm, we drove to the airport to pick up a shipment of the new belts, all of these belts are new as of two days ago. None of them have ever been offered before, they’re all brand new.
OGB: Could I purchase one of the belts now?
Sumi-G: We’re taking orders now and shipping in about six weeks, some of these are still prototypes and we’re in the process of tweaking a few of the designs.
OGB: Lastly, what does Sumi-G stand for?
Sumi-G: Well, Sumi-E is Japanese Romanji for for East Asian Ink and Wash Painting. Sumi-E is associated with Zen practice and is considered some of the highest quality art where the goal is to capture the essence or soul of the object. We dropped the E and replaced it with G. The name is meant to convey the quality of our products.