Meet Noonan Golf, a brand bringing retro (and affordable!) golf designs to the masses
Courtesy Noonan Golf
Marcus Dormanen disappears from the Zoom screen and returns a few seconds later, this time presenting a framed trademark certification he grabbed from the wall. He holds it like a proud father. Miles Marmo bursts into laughter.
A couple of months ago, Dormanen and Marmo, co-founders of Noonan Golf, trademarked their upstart golf brand, which immediately got the attention of curious Warner Bros. legal executives. Dormanen’s LinkedIn profile was proof — he could see the massive increase of hits on his page.
Who are these guys, and why did they create a golf company named after a famous movie line?
Dormanen and Marmo grew up playing youth soccer together in the Twin Cities. When they were about 12, their coach had a habit of yelling “Noonan!” when they took penalty kicks, an ode to the popular quote in “Caddyshack.”
Of course, they had no idea what he was talking about, but they thought it was hilarious anyway. Fast forward to more than a decade later, and when it was time to find a name for their new company — which aimed to deliver colorful, fun, retro and affordable golf accessories to golfers — they knew exactly what to call it.
They knew whom they wanted to target, too. Noonan Golf officially launched just over a year ago, when rounds were still booming due to Covid. The pandemic brought a ton of new golfers into the game, but Dormanen, who has played casually throughout his life, saw an underserved demographic.
“A lot of them didn’t necessarily want to spend a lot of money on golf, but they wanted cool stuff,” Dormanen said. “So the idea was, how can we make everything priced below an average round of golf to make it more accessible so everyone can have something that’s fun on their bag?”
They started with putter covers, driver covers, towels and hats.
“From that, it just kind of took off,” Marmo said. From their market research, they also found that as their company grew, their sales crept closer to a 50-50 male-female split. (It’s about 60-40 now.) “We found we were hitting the market place for a pretty wide range of people, both men and women, which is kind of exciting of us.”
You’ll know Noonan Golf when you see it. It’s different, but in a good way. Its headcovers and towels — the two biggest sellers — are splashed with colorful designs that are a throwback to the ’80s and ’90s. The price won’t sting your wallet either: all headcovers are under $40 and towels are under $20.
“We had this idea of, OK, let’s stick to the golf accessories side of it,” Marmo said. “Let’s make it affordable and as high-quality as possible, and let’s have fun. We are ’80s and ’90s kids at heart, so we went with the bright colors we know and love and with some call backs to some nostalgic patterns.”
The Zesty Zigzag and Bodacious Bayside headcovers and towels — for all those “Saved by the Bell” fans — are some of the most popular, and the Paul Bunyan plaid is a hit locally. So far they are in about a dozen pro shops in the Twin Cities, but also sell directly on their own website or Amazon. In the last year they’ve shipped to all 50 states and nearly a dozen countries.
Dormanen and Marmo, both 35, have full-time jobs — Dormanen is in operations, Marmo in marketing — and run Noonan Golf on the side. They also star, along with their wives and friends, in their own social media marketing.
Their goal for 2023 is to keep pumping out new designs — “Every day Marcus and I are messaging each other with stupid ideas,” Marmo says — and get into the retail space.
“There are a lot of great brands doing some really cool things, and all of that is exciting for us,” Marmo said. “There’s plenty to go around, and the golf community kind of likes that modularization of switching out covers or towels, and you are starting to see that expressiveness coming into golf. Whether you know it or recognize it or not, they are kind of working together to shift the game, which is fun to be a part of.”