My introduction to the Straight Down apparel company came some years back at the Stocker Cup in California. As I walked to the practice range before my first round in that competition, I noticed a 1947 Spartan trailer parked in back of the tee. Its doors were open, and there were racks of shirts, pullovers, quarter-zips and vests assembled outside.
Curious about the vintage vehicle, which was red and white in color, I stopped in for a visit. That’s when I learned that as a contestant, I was entitled to one of the items on display, each of which could be embroidered with the tournament logo on a machine inside the trailer. So, I picked out a navy blue fleece vest.
The trailer was a nice touch, and so was the way Straight Down used that vehicle at golf events around the country. Even better was the vest, which was made from recycled ECO2 cotton fibers that previously had been used in T-shirts.
Founded in 1989 by Mike Rowley and based in the coastal city of San Luis Obispo, California, Straight Down is a lifestyle golf brand for men and women. Its products are found mostly in green-grass pro shops at many of the top clubs in America.
“I’m a golf guy, and golf is our passion as a company,” said Rowley, who was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Santa Barbara and learned the game as a boy from a grandfather who worked as a cameraman at MGM Studios. “We started as a small T-shirt company, working out of my garage. Now, we have 1,800 active accounts across the country.”
Straight Down has a sustainability story, with the recycled materials used in the manufacture of many of its products. Some 40 percent of its apparel is made in the United States.
Rowley is a competitive amateur who has qualified for numerous USGA and R&A championships, and he likes how his goods stand out as individual pieces or work for those who like to layer up. Such as its Foothill Pullover and Fairway Quarter-Zip for men. And its Lotus Tee, Foxtrot Jogger and Dakota Jacket for women.