Loudmouth helps golfers stand out on the course, whatever their score.
By Bill Bauer
Y’all must remember Al Czervik (played by Rodney Dangerfield) in the movie Caddyshack—the boisterous golfer in outlandish attire!? Czervik uttered, “Hey, did somebody step on a duck?” “What is this, the dance of the living dead?” and other classic, quotable lines while obnoxiously making his way around the clubhouse and golf course.
To say he was loud is an understatement. No wonder Scott “Woody” Woodworth made reference to Czervik when responding to a question about how he arrived at the name Loudmouth for his fast growing company of golf clothing and accessories.
It was 2000 when Woody was asked where he got the colorful, bold patterned golf pants and matching shirts that he wore to tournaments and charity events—including, as noted on the company website, a pair of powder blue pants with Bugs Bunny on them—that the successful graphic designer decided to enter the golf apparel market.
Seventeen years later, and with the ever-popular PGA Golf Professional John Daly dressing the part, Loudmouth has emerged as the fashion frontrunner in golf garments. Loudmouth’s vibrant prints and bold patterns are instantly recognizable; the brand is popular in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Europe and Australia.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Woody on the phone about Loudmouth and the conversation was, as expected, entertaining.
You wore loud pants to play golf, but what inspired you to enter the golf apparel business?
I wanted to wear what I call slightly annoying or somewhat obnoxious pants for golfing. That’s the way it ought to be played. That’s the way it was played back in the ‘60s and ‘70s and back in the 1800s; like in Palm Springs circa 1972. I wanted to be like that and I couldn’t find any. So I went into a big fabric store in the Bay area and looked for something colorful and loud, and slightly annoying. I didn’t make the pants, but I found a seamstress to make them for me and I just started showing up at charity tournaments. As a single it took a lot of guts and I was a little self conscious, but not too much. Guys just started coming up to me saying, “Where did you get those?” “Can I buy some of those?” So after a while I thought maybe I ought to just make these and sell them!
How long did it take before you began to sell your first Loudmouth pants?
I actually had the idea in the back of my mind, but I wanted to take a couple of pair out there and see what the reaction was. And when I got the reaction I expected I was going to get, I was ready to jump in. I found a place in Sacramento that made motocross jackets, so at least they knew how to sew. I went up there with a pair of pants from my own closet and gave them 200 yards of fabric and told them to make pants like these. That was it. My first order was for 72 pairs of pants. I took them back to my home office and stored them on plastic shelves, made a website, and ran an eleven word classified ad in the back of Golf Digest. I think it cost me about $300 bucks a month, and the phone started ringing. I was one of the original e-commerce people! I sold about half of them in six weeks!
What was the reaction of the production folks?
The people that made my pants all had a pretty good laugh at my expense. I brought them pink fabric with polka dots and another fabric with playing cards with pin up girls on them, and they asked me what I was going to do with the pants. I told them I was going to sell them and they just giggled. With the profit from my first 40, I went back and ordered 144 pairs. They could not believe it when I drove up and said, “Here’s twice as much fabric and I need twice as many pairs of pants.” They asked me what happened to the other pants and I told them I sold them all. They said, “Welcome to the rag trade!”
How did you arrive at the name Loudmouth for a golf clothing company?
That’s a two-part answer. The word loud refers to clothing, in some ways it is a sartorial term, and you’ve heard of a loud tie or a loud shirt. That’s part of it. These are loud pants. Loudmouth comes from; well that’s how Rodney Dangerfield’s character Al Czervik was in Caddyshack. He was a loudmouth and he sort of personifies the whole reason for wearing clothes like this. And also, if not the best movie made of all time, Dumb and Dumber is right up there. As far as movies go, it goes like this: Dumb and Dumber, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and the Caine Mutiny. Dumb and Dumber is at the top of my list. It’s a very intellectual movie, and when Lloyd and Harry are in the Animal Society Preservation Ball, one of the first things Harry says is, “Let’s go get a couple of bowls of loudmouth soup.” So it is all there…that’s why. Loud has an apparel meaning to it, Al Czervik is a loudmouth, and loudmouth soup is in my favorite movie.
What do you say to the traditionalists who might frown upon your outlandish colors and patterns?
In a perfect world I would take out this photograph that I have in my wallet or on my phone of Johnny Miller in 1970. He’s wearing a pair of the loudest pants—as loud as any pants we are making today. I have a picture of the people from the early 1800s, the people who invented golf, and they’re wearing loud stuff. To the traditionalist I’d point to these photos and say well if you are going to call Johnny Miller and this guy Fred MacGillacuddy (I just made him up) in England non-traditional when they were playing in this stuff centuries ago, then you better change your definition of traditional.
One of your clients is the Norwegian Olympic Curling Team. How did that come to be?
That is interesting. It was 2010. They simply Googled “loud pants” and our website came up and they just bought them without us knowing about it. Like a regular customer, they bought ten pairs and we shipped the pants to them in Norway. Our shipping department didn’t tell us. I mean they just went to some dude in Norway. That’s all we knew. The only way we found out it was the curling team was because one of the pairs didn’t fit one of the guys. They emailed us and said they needed to exchange one of them and we need it really fast because it needs to be shipped to the Olympic Village in Vancouver, care of the Norwegian Curling Team. I found out about the email and said, wait a minute, you mean the curling team that represents the whole country? We didn’t believe it. We emailed back and then put them on a plane, sent the pants up there, and made sure they fit. They weren’t sure that the Olympic Committee would even allow them. Curling had been performed in black pants since, like the year, I don’t know 200? It might even have been 200 BC! They checked the rulebook and let them do it. The rest is all history. We were on the Today Show. I was on everything. Our website stopped working after the Today Show from too many visitors at one time.
[Author’s Note: Loudmouth also outfitted the team in 2104 and is contracted for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.)
Did you always have an affinity for loud clothing and how do you decide on a pattern that you design?
That’s my secret, but I do every design that you see; every piece of cloth goes through me. Now back when I was in grade school, my family didn’t have a lot of money. My mom would take me to Zayre Department Store where I grew up on Rhode Island. My mom said, “Pick out two shirts and two pairs of pants.” So I spent a lot of time because if I was only going to get two, I was going to get the two best in the store. I guess I was in 6th or 7th grade and I wanted to get the pants that popped off the shelf the most.
Loudmouth.com sells many more products than loud pants. How did that come to be and what sells the best?
It just sort of developed. First it was, well let’s be sure people had the right shirt. There weren’t a lot of bright orange or yellow shirts to match our patterns. Shirts were natural. Caps were natural. Then we license designs to companies that want to make Loudmouth items with our designs like a wine company or a belt company. Umbrellas, towels, sunglasses are made by other companies and we get royalties. Men’s shorts are the No. 1 seller, followed by pants. The ladies’ apparel, mostly skorts and shorts, accounts for 35 percent of our sales.
What is in the future for Loudmouth?
Well, I have another idea for some clothing, and I’m still fighting with my own company. They say, “Yea sure Woody, that’ll go over.” I’m going to make it, I’m going to sell it, and about six months from now I’m going to have that same look on my face that I had 17 years ago.
What will that product be?
It’ll be easier for you to get the recipe for Coca Cola than to get me to say what this product will be!
So the ‘loudmouth’ isn’t a loud mouth. I guess I’ll find out when it’s released, and I look forward to that. Thanks!
– Photo Credits: Bill Bauer in Loudmouth pants courtesy Bill Bauer; remainder courtesy Loudmouth.
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