Let's get vocal about local.
One of the things that make the game of golf soothing to the eyes apart from lush, green, and highly manicured courses are the well-turned up golfers. Usually spotted in a collared t-shirt tucked in a pair of crisp trousers or shorts, finishing the look in an expensive pair of shoes. The added accessories are the golf bags that nestles as per the golfer’s preference, a driver, some irons, possibly some hybrids, wedges, a putter, etc. This is almost like the uniform without which one cannot enter a golf course. And it totally makes sense as it is important to honor the rules and regulations of any sport.
In all this, the only thing that is questionable is the dire need to be suited up from top to bottom in big international names that either facilitate in making a statement or succor in merging well with the crowd. This has notably made many international golf gear and golf luxury brands flocking to India. Does this mean that there is a lack of homegrown brands or just a lack of awareness about them? There is no ounce of doubt in stating that the big daddies of the golf equipment and apparel brands have already created a huge space for themselves in the market. Having said that, we are living in a time where local brands and products are getting many eyeballs. So, can this hold some value for the golfing industry as well?
One of the brands which pride itself to be born in India is +91 Golf Balls. Standing tall in the city of Bharuch with the head office in Mumbai, the company is successfully running its factory for a few years now. Specializing in manufacturing multiple varieties of golf balls, the brand was established with the idea of introducing affordable products in the market. “The concept took 4-5 years to come to existence because we were very focussed on developing the best possible product. It took us 7 months to come up with the first ball at the factory but it was defunct and we immediately went back to the drawing board to re-develop a better product as per the feedback we received. We have state of art facilities along with the latest technologies. We are one of a kind golf ball maker in the country with the vision to providing the best at the cheapest rate possible”, says Shreyam Shah, Director, +91.
The astonishing fact is that we are yet to talk about its existence and revel in the fact that India finally has its very own golf ball manufacturing company. “We started with the simple idea that the regular golfer is able to purchase a reasonable golf ball which is of similar quality as any international brand. Exporting the product was definitely at the center of conceptualization but the huge difference in acceptance within India as compared to the International market is remarkable. Our 90% of the business comes from exporting the products and the remaining 10% is what the Indian market gives us”, adds Shah.
It is definitely something to deliberate over that why an Indian golf ball manufacturing company, even though in its nascent stage has been well received by the global market, mainly the US, Europe, South Korea, and Japan as opposed to the Indian market. Shah further elaborates, “We believe that Indians will get more excited about the brand once they travel abroad to play golf and see our existence there. Maybe the same person once back home will be excited to purchase +91 balls.”
This goes to show that as a market, our belief and affiliation towards the international brand is so much that we are not totally open to accepting the names which are booming in our backyards. The lack of acceptance can only be overridden if we start creating enough awareness which can lead to acknowledgment of the brands that are being built within our country. There is a need to break through the pattern which we have established over the years so that brands like +91 get the kind of breathing space that they deserve. Of course, the advertisements and media available to us play a massive role in influencing our decisions but open-mindedness and a will to experiment can let the homegrown brands germinate in this environment too.
Vidisha Narayan- Communications and marketing professional. A mandala and doodle artist with a flair for writing about offbeat topics.