Southern Tide and Orange Whip are Among Homegrown Brands Golfers Encounter at Family-Focused Course and Club in North Greenville
In 2017 when Cherokee Valley owner Matt Jennings and his uncle Ted Levine were looking to buy a golf course, they considered acquisitions in a handful of metro areas in the Midwest and Southeast. It didn’t take long for Greenville to stand out among the other options.
“This is an amazing place for golf, to do business and to raise a family,” Jennings says. “From the onset we wanted to be part of this community.”
You see, Greenville isn’t just a good golf city; it’s a great one. It isn’t home to a host of bigtime PGA TOUR players like Southeast Florida. Nor does it have big name golf resorts like Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Charleston.
But the connections to the golf industry in this region run deep. There’s a wildly popular (Korn Ferry Tour) professional golf tournament, the BMW Charity Pro-Am. TOUR players Bill Haas (and father Jay), Lucas Glover and William McGirt live here, albeit quietly.
For golfers, the area offers an array of value-packed public venues (like Furman Golf Club), an innovative and inviting family-focused club (Cherokee Valley) and time-honored private clubs (Greenville Country Club and Thornblade).
And in the ultimate sign of golf legitimacy these days, a new TopGolf opened off Pelham Road near the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport earlier this year. While it didn’t make as big a splash, popular golf instruction and custom club fitter GOLFTEC recently opened a branch around the corner from TopGolf.
Following the tried-and-true “think globally, act locally” mantra, Jennings and the team at Cherokee Valley have made it their mission to form strong relationships with other homegrown golf brands.
“One of our goals is to forge strategic partnerships with golf and non-golf businesses in the area to better serve our members and customers,” Jennings says.
Many of these partnerships are obvious. Others are “hidden in plain sight.”
But as you make your way around the golf course, practice range and golf shop, keeps your eyes peeled for these local golf offerings.
If you’ve perused the clothing racks in the golf shop you’ve likely come upon Southern Tide and its iconic Skip Jack logoed apparel. Or, maybe you’ve spotted Jennings and associate director of operations Lauren Landreth rocking the premier coastal brand’s performance golf polos and outerwear.
Founded and based in Greenville, Southern Tide has carved out a niche in the resort and collegiate golf categories. Its Instagram account is a must-follow, with posts from SEC and ACC tailgate parties, sugar sand beaches and pristine golf courses.
And keep an eye out for the brand in 2020. In one of the most perfect golf marriages of all-time, Southern Tide was named the official “Style Sponsor” of the PGA TOUR’s RBC Heritage at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island in April.
Additions to its performance fabric-based offerings and women’s lines will be a big focus next year, according to Southern Tide officials. Keep an eye out in the golf shop for new Southern Tide gear and potential co-branded events.
Based in Easley, TaylorMade’s $13 million, 120,000-square-foot golf ball production plant opened in 2013. The behemoth company’s headquarters is in Carlsbad, California. For Upstate South Carolina to land its golf ball manufacturing, research and development operation was coup d’étatof epic proportions.
“The opportunity to have a permanent home in Pickens County was too good of an opportunity for our company to pass up,” said John Kawaja, executive vice president at TaylorMade Golf, shortly after the site selection was finalized.
Cherokee Valley and TaylorMade are official corporate partners. The company uses the practice range to test innovations for the development of future golf balls, as well as the durability and performance of current product offerings.
This co-op also speaks volumes about the quality of Cherokee Valley’s practice range. Proudly flying the North Greenville University brand and logo (Cherokee Valley is home to the men’s and women’s golf teams), it is one of the best game improvement facilities in the Upstate.
The Orange Whip
General rule of thumb for turbocharging sales when starting a business within an hour’s drive of Clemson University: make something orange. Orange Whip has become one of the most recognizable training aids and fitness products in the golf industry.
Founder and PGA teaching professional Jim Hackenberg setup shop in Easley in 2007 and has been keeping golfers around the world in “rhythm and balance” ever since. The product is what it sounds like: an orange rubber ball attached to the end of a heavy, black, flexible golf shaft with a grip at the end.
Cherokee Valley head professional Trey Wyatt is a big believer in the swing path and lag Orange Whip groves. Whenever he’s giving a lesson on the practice range, he’ll have one or two of the company’s five models available.
“It is simple, portable, affordable and powerful,” Wyatt says. “Some swing aides are overly complex and difficult to use. Orange Whip isn’t one of them.”
Let’s just get this out of the way, socks matter. Just ask Bubba Watson, who wore (and swore by) KENTWOOL golf socks during numerous PGA TOUR victories, including the 2012 and 2014 Masters. We know what you are thinking … wool socks … on the golf course … in the South Carolina heat?
KENTWOOL has been spinning cotton in Pickens County since 1843, so they’ve got the wool sock thing completely mastered.
How they it: the golf socks are crafted using “WINDspun” air-infused technology and a proprietary blend of fine merino wool and high-tech fibers. This creates a micro-climate system for superior comfort, moisture management, wicking and odor control.
Look for KENTWOOL socks coming soon to the Cherokee Valley golf shop.
Cherokee Valley Membership
As we round into late fall, let’s be honest: Greenville isn’t Florida. It’s better. Afternoon temps reach into the high 50s and even mid-60s by way of our 225-plus days of sunshine, yearly. You can walk 18 holes in the crisp autumn air without sweating buckets. And all those awesome golf sweaters and vests in your closet … break them out.
Autumn is also the perfect time to explore membership at Cherokee Valley. No initiation fee, no annual assessments and no food and beverage minimums. A variety of membership plans are available to suit you and your family’s needs.