Under Armour has grown remarkably in the last few years and now sits up there with the finest sporting apparel brands with a glowing reputation.
So when Golfmagic was invited to take the UA Innovations Challenge, it was a no-brainer. We headed to Old Thorns Manor in Hampshire to try out the latest technology and were introduced to Under Armour’s UK representative, Neil Heslop, who gave us a brief overview of the brand.
Founded in 1996 by then University of Maryland footballer Kevin Plank who wanted to provide a shirt which worked with your body to regulate temperature and enhance performance, the UA brand has grown and grown into a multimillion dollar corporation.
The first innovation we were to test was the latest technology in the range – the Armour Stability shirt.
Specifically designed to help you swing better and feel less tired from your round, the top has stabilizers built into the fabric to support the lower back to keep you balanced and help maintain posture throughout the swing while improving your core strength.
The design also features mesh ventilation that speed-up evaporation, helping regulate body temperature – and boy did we need it on this scorching May afternoon!
What was evident from the initial introductions was that not only are the UA team incredibly dedicated to innovation, but there is a constant drive to build game-changing products to give their golfers the edge. And that was when we were introduced to the second new product…
UA mouthwear. Yes, you read that correctly. And we had the pleasure of being the first group in the golf media to try it out.
There were audible murmurings among those in attendance. A mouth guard… for golf? Surely not. But research shows when golfers get stressed, they grind their teeth.
We may not know we’re doing it, but it produces excess lactic acids and other hormones such as Cortisol which produce anxiety, stress and fatigue - all of which have a negative impact on your game.
Well, they’re the brains and we had no reason not to believe them, so initial concern soon turned to excitement.
Armour Stability on, Performance Mouthpiece in, and we were on the first tee ready to go. Nine holes later there was a split view on the new products, with two of our fourball having already disregarded the latter.
“I double-bogeyed the first two holes with it in,” started one. “Then I took it out and birdied the third.”
Funny at the time, but he went on to claim concentration is a large problem in his game and he was very aware it was there in his mouth. Fair point, but the feeling in the Golfmagic camp was it would take time to get used to, which is when you’d start benefitting.
With the new products well and truly embedded into our affections, there was more of a chance to enjoy the course.
Old Thorns, between Guildford and Portsmouth on the A3, is currently undergoing a very promising series of upgrades, including the 86-room hotel and spa complex, and a sports bar packed with enough golfing memorabilia to start a museum.
There were a few surprises along the way, like getting the chance to play a hole with UA ambassador Ross Fisher, who was getting back in the swing of things – literally – having taken two weeks out for the birth of his son, Harry.
But the best was saved for last, as a nett birdie at the superb 18th – a 420-yard par-4 with a blind, tight tee shot before an approach over water – moved us into third and in contention for a prize.
But the main objectives of the day was to try out the exceptional new UA technologies first hand. The latest must-have apparel were professionally presented by a team glittering with experience, enthusiasm, and a touch of class to boot.
Under Armour will continue to push the boundaries of golfing innovation – and we’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on their work.
The Armour Stability carries a recommended price of £55 (short-sleeve) or £60 (long-sleeve). The Armour Bite Performance Mouthpiece will set you back £50. Both items are available from the www.underarmour.co.uk.
For more information on Old Thorns, including their Summer Sizzle deal, visit www.oldthorns.com