Editor Emma Ballard speaks to Shauna McIntyre, the Co-founder of a new women's golf fashion brand AWGO Golf

Women’s golf fashion brand, AWGO Golf, was launched in 2023 by Irish women Shauna McIntyre and Stephanie Glennon. Having recently unveiled their spring/summer 2024 range, Women & Golf spoke with Shauna about their decision to create their own golf fashion line.

Shauna, who has played golf from a young age, developed her passion as a teenager through a Girls in Golf program at her school and spent summers at Grange Golf Club. Despite some teenage embarrassment due to the sport's reputation, she continued playing and now finds it to be a unique talking point in social and professional settings. Providing a common ground in work environments, particularly with senior colleagues and board members in her day job as a Chartered Governance professional.

What inspired you to venture into golf fashion?

The inspiration for diving into golf fashion came from the frustration my friends and I felt with the existing options. We wanted golf clothes that were not only stylish and functional but also something we would feel comfortable wearing outside of the golf course.

One day, my co-founder and I joked about starting our own golf brand. That joke quickly turned into a serious conversation about what our brand could look like. We decided on a logo featuring a woman with a ponytail, symbolising the nickname "the ponytails" given to us by the older women at our club.

We found a talented freelance designer Lamia Bikhazi who had worked with adidas and Umbro. Having such extensive experience, she understood our vision and helped us design our logo and first collection. It wasn't an easy journey. We faced challenges finding the right suppliers and getting satisfactory samples. But our determination kept us going, and we officially launched our brand.

Can you describe the initial steps you took to launch your brand?

Initially, we soft-launched last summer with a limited range of polos and skorts. Although we faced delays and challenges, we managed to get our products out. The feedback was positive, which encouraged us to expand our offerings. By winter, we introduced beanies, which turned out to be quite popular.

This year, we restocked our original pieces and added a new colour in our golf skorts with improved fabric. We launched our full collection recently, and the response has been encouraging, despite the unpredictable weather.

How did you come up with the brand name "AWGO" and what does it stand for?

The name "AWGO" has a secret meaning but really it doesn't have a significance. We wanted something short, memorable, and not directly related to golf. Pronounced "Awe-go," like what you say when you hit a putt towards the hole . We wanted name that was unique and didn't carry any preconceived notions, allowing us to create our own brand identity.

AWGO Golf Founders Shauna McIntyre and Stephanie Glennon
AWGO Golf Founders Shauna McIntyre and Stephanie Glennon

Can you tell us more about the products you offer and any future plans for the brand?

Our initial collection includes golf polos and skorts designed for comfort and style. We received positive feedback about the fit and fabric quality. For our autumn/winter collection, we plan to introduce golf trousers, high-waisted joggers, and golf leggings that look stylish off the course as well. We are also considering half-zip tops and possibly sweatshirts, which have garnered interest from our followers.

The focus is on creating clothing that women feel confident and comfortable in, whether they are on the golf course or running errands afterwards. Our designs aim to be versatile and flattering, breaking away from the typical, less fashionable golf attire.

How has the feedback from your customers influenced your product development?

The feedback has been invaluable. Customers appreciate the comfort and proper fit of our clothing. Many have expressed their struggles with finding golf clothes that fit well, and our pieces have addressed those concerns. For example, our polo shirts are two inches longer than average so that they don’t move up when you play. At the Irish Golf Show recently, it was great to receive such positive feedback about the fabric and the fit of our skorts.

We've also been expanding based on customer demand. For example, after receiving feedback about the need for better golf trousers, we focused on designing high-waisted, comfortable options for the autumn/winter collection. Our engagement with followers on social media helps us understand their needs and preferences, guiding our product development. We often get messages about what women would like to wear or responses to our polls when we are working on our next collection.

What challenges have you faced in the golf fashion industry, and how have you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges has been finding reliable suppliers and producing high-quality samples. It took us several attempts to get samples that met our standards. Balancing the launch timeline with product readiness was also tricky. We didn't want to miss key seasons, so we had to be strategic about what products to release and when.

Another challenge is the perception of golf as an older person's sport, which affects how young women view it. By creating fashionable and functional golf clothing, we aim to change this perception and make golf more appealing to younger women.

How do you see the culture of golf for women evolving, especially in Ireland?

While golf for women is growing in Ireland, there's still a way to go. My experience was unique because I had a supportive club with many girls my age. However, many women struggle to find peers in their clubs. Initiatives like Golf Ireland's "Get into Golf" programs are making a difference, with thousands of women participating and many continuing to play and join clubs. Golf Ireland also have regular “Chip and Chat” events that allow women get together and practice in a more casual setting - this allows anyone looking to try out golf do so at a low cost with minimal commitment.

I believe golf is an excellent sport for women, offering social, mental, and professional benefits. It's a great way to connect with others, enjoy the outdoors, and even advance in your career by finding common ground with colleagues. My goal is to promote these benefits and encourage more women to take up golf through our brand and community events.

What advice would you give to young women interested in golf or starting their own business?

For young women interested in golf, I would say go for it! It's a fantastic sport that offers numerous benefits. Don't be discouraged by stereotypes or the lack of young players at your club. Seek out programs and communities that support women in golf.

For those starting their own business, my advice is to stay persistent and passionate. The journey can be challenging, but if you believe in your idea and are willing to put in the hard work, you can overcome obstacles. Listen to your customers, adapt to their needs, and don't be afraid to take risks. Building a brand takes time, but the rewards are worth it.

To view the full AWGO Golf range, please visit their website here and for any other information email Shauna here.