Adam Iversen Explains the Inspiration Behind His Trendy Golf Apparel

(From left) Matt Stang, Sam Swanson and Adam Iversen of Swannies.

It began on the golf course with two college friends and their sandal-covered feet.
   
Victoria native and University of Minnesota graduate Adam Iversen was back in Minnesota after traveling abroad, catching up with Matt Stang, a friend from a college business course, over a few rounds of golf. Both were wearing flip flops. “We thought it would be funny to create flip flops for the golf course,” Iversen says with a laugh.

What started as a joke shared among friends has evolved into Swannies, golf apparel tailored to a generation that seems to view golf through a different lens. “There wasn’t anything out there in the market for younger, casual golfers, who don’t want to be all buttoned up,” Iversen says. The buddies launched the idea on Kickstarter and soon discovered they had happened upon a mostly undiscovered market.

Iversen, who grew up in Victoria and attended Holy Family Catholic School, started playing golf in second grade. “My mom would drop me off at the course with my buddies and $5, and [she] would jokingly refer to it as cheap daycare,” he says. Years later, at age 14, Iversen was a caddie at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska. He never pursued the game formally but, “it’s near and dear to my heart,” he says.
 
Once Iversen and Stang had gathered interest and funds from Kickstarter, they began visiting golf shows. Swannies grew to include other golf apparel—polo shirts, long-sleeved tees, hats and more—with the same casual style. Swannies was one of the first golf companies to produce mesh-back hats—stylish caps in grey and navy, adorned with the Swannies logo, an S in the shape of a swan ($25). “It’s another testament to us understanding our market,” Iversen says, referring to the hats. But the sandals that started it all ($59), continue to be a large part of the business. “The sandals are definitely a niche product for us that nobody else is doing,” Iversen says.

These days, customers can find Swannies apparel in just over 250 shops in 24 states across the country, including Southern Hills Golf Course in Farmington, Minn. General manager Nate Cardin was originally attracted to Swannies for its affordability. “Number one is the price point,” Cardin says. “The majority of people who buy from our shop also need it to be multipurpose,” he says, explaining many items from the Swannies collection can move from home to office to the golf course with little effort. “The feedback has been awesome,” Cardin says. “It’s exactly what you’re seeing in modern apparel.”

Last year, Southern Hills hosted Swannies’ annual event, The Swannies Beer Bash. Attendees started at a local brewery and then traveled by bus to Southern Hills, where inflatable swans covered the area, and attendees were invited to compete in a golf scramble event and play party games. “It’s all about having fun,” Iversen says of the event, a sentiment that reaches across the entire Swannies brand.

At its core, Swannies is more than just trendy golf apparel and events tailored toward millennials. “We want to break down the barriers that golf is elitist,” Iversen says.
 
What’s next for this growing company? Expanding into Japan and South Africa is on the agenda. Regardless, Iversen will continue giving back to his roots, including providing  Swannies attire for Holy Family’s Ready, Tee, Fire Golf Classic. “It’s just a fun opportunity to participate and give back,” he says.