Red Rooster Gloves is the answer to a question you have never asked.
What do you get when you cross two Canadians—one a pro golfer and one a serial entrepreneur—with a big red chicken?
“I used to have red hair and my dad used to call me the Red Rooster,” says co-founder Kerry Moher. “We tried to come up with ‘golfy’ names for the company. I threw Red Rooster Gloves into the mix when we started. If we could come up with something better, we’d use it.”
Starting a business during a worldwide pandemic/supply chain nightmare isn’t easy but it appears Moher and partner Brad Fritsch, his longtime friend and PGA TOUR pro, have pulled it off.
And it doesn’t hurt that they’ve come up with gloves that copped the gold and silver in MyGolfSpy’s 2022 Performance Glove Buyer’s Guide.
So here’s the story of why this chicken crossed the road during a worldwide pandemic and how it got to the other side despite a global supply chain crisis. Red Rooster, you see, is no ordinary barnyard bird.
Red Rooster Gloves: Hatched at Pinehurst
Moher and Fritsch have been friends since the early ‘90s when they started playing junior golf together in Ottawa, Ont.
“We had some interesting experiences together that we probably shouldn’t repeat,” says Fritsch.
Both played college golf. Fritsch, however, made a career of it, playing on the PGA TOUR Canada and Korn Ferry tours, as well as three seasons on the PGA TOUR. The two lost touch until the second round of the 2014 RBC Canadian Open in Montreal.
“He showed up on one of the holes and I did a double-take,” says Fritsch. “He saw me make a 60-foot putt for birdie on the 36th hole to make the cut right on the number. I went on to have an awesome weekend and finished ninth. We had a lot to talk about that week.”
Fast forward to the fall of 2019. Moher and a couple of other buddies travelled to Pinehurst and visited Fritsch for a golf weekend. As Kerry was teeing off on a par-3, Fritsch decided to razz him a bit about his ratty, torn glove.
“It was an expensive trip and I’m using this glove I’d had since last year,” says Moher. “Everything else was nice but why am I playing this old, crappy glove?”
Tour pros like Fritsch know gloves are important. Pros get all they want for free. The rest of us definitely don’t.
“Most of us have an unhealthy relationship with gloves,” says Moher. “We really don’t value them. When you do need one, you may have to overpay for one at the pro ship. That doesn’t feel good.”
That was the start. Within a month, Moher was pitching Fritsch on what would ultimately, and quickly, become Red Rooster Gloves.
Gloves and Indonesia
Moher’s pitch to Fritsch was simple: a high-quality direct-to-consumer glove with a subscription option and a philanthropic give-back to junior golf. That was the easy part. The hard part was learning the glove business which was more involved than either expected.
“It started with finding out where gloves are made,” says Moher. “Everything pointed to Indonesia. Titleist is the only company that has its own glove factories. Everyone else uses a third-party supplier and they’re all in Indonesia.”
Moher and Fritsch set out looking for a partner. One thing they didn’t want was a supplier who simply had a menu and said “pick what you want.”
“When I got over there, it really blew my mind,” explains Moher. “I didn’t realize how labor-intensive it was. It’s basically a hand-sewn product. Just the leather-making process itself takes six to eight weeks to get the very best leather.”
As with anything, there are good glove manufacturers and there are cheap ones. Moher and Fritsch eventually found the right partner who would work with them on design.
“There are all kinds of different stitches you can do,” says Moher. “If you flip a glove inside out, you’ll see a lot going on in there. Where you put the stitching, what kind of stitch, what kind of elastic you use, and where you use it—we played with all of it.
“We’re on our fourth or fifth production run. And every time we’ve made a least some small tweaks and, in some cases, big ones.”
Learning the Ropes
Neither Moher nor Fritsch had done much business in Asia so they had quite a bit to learn about the way things are done.
“What I’ve learned about the Asian culture is they don’t want to give you bad news,” says Fritsch, “so they won’t tell you unless you ask.”
“They’re always willing to work with us,” says Moher, “but they don’t proactively solve anything.”
The Red Rooster boys learned this the hard way with their first order of red gloves. On hot days with sweaty hands, the dye would basically turn your hand red.
“We talked to them and said, ‘This is a problem,’” says Moher. “And they’re like ‘nobody’s really ever said anything’ and they’d just apologize. I said, ‘Why not give me a head’s up that this was going to turn everybody’s hand red and they never thought to mention it?’ They were happy to solve the problem but no one else had ever asked.”
The company launched last year with a Kickstarter and they’ve had to learn on the fly how to deal with an ever-evolving supply chain.
“We really don’t know a time when life was was normal,” Moher says. “Maybe that’s good but we don’t know when supply chains worked quickly, efficiently and cheaply. We only know it costs more and takes longer.”
“We started ordering gloves in February of 2021 and it was a 60-day turnaround,” says Fritsch. “Now it’s about eight months. And with shipping, it used to be sea shipping was a lot cheaper than air freight. But now, since there’s no room in containers, it’s six of one and a half dozen of the other.”
A Rooster By Any Other Name…
As mentioned, Moher threw Red Rooster out as a placeholder when they were naming the company.
“I’m a branding guy and I wanted our name to stand out,” he says. “We were sure we’d come up with something better but once we got into the branding exercise, we came up with a clever tag line and we really loved the logo.
“It’s kind of unique and it’s pretty memorable. You’re not going to forget it.”
“I said to Kerry, ‘What’s a Srixon? What’s a Titleist? What do those names mean?'” says Fritsch. “A few people here and there will say it’s a crazy name but they do remember it.”
Both Fritsch and Moher insisted on including a charitable element in their business. Red Rooster’s Play It Forward Program partners with First Tee programs in Ontario and North Carolina and the Kevin Haime Golf Centre outside of Ottawa. For every glove it sells, Red Rooster will donate one youth glove to those programs.
“Kids don’t expect very much when they go to those programs,” says Fritsch. “They expect to be introduced to the game but they don’t expect to walk away with anything. They try the clubs for an hour but have to give them back.
“We brought a ton of gloves to a First Tee Triangle program and they handed them out to the kids. After it was done, this one kid who was about nine took off the glove and tried to give it back. The instructor said, ‘No, man. This is yours to keep.’ The look on his face was really cool. That might not be a big deal to some people but this kid will definitely be back.”
Subscriptions and Such
An old friend and I were, for some inexplicable reason, discussing disposable razors many years ago. And what he said about razors is equally applicable to golf gloves.
“You’ll never know how long a razor will last until you’re down to your last razor.”
Which is why I have a disposable razor subscription.
“To me, the subscription is the best service we offer,” says Moher. “It’s meant for golfers who won’t get a new glove when they need one. They’ll just keep using it.”
Red Rooster’s subscription service is pretty flexible. Monthly is most popular but it can be adjusted to bi-monthly or even quarterly. You can adjust for the off-season and simply skip a shipment if you don’t need one.
“You get an email just before shipping asking if you want the glove,” says Moher. “Without the reminder, you might wind up wearing a glove longer than you should.”
And buying a glove online from a company you don’t know might be a fitting crapshoot. Red Rooster will offer free exchanges until you get the right fit.
“A lot of people will put on a glove and say, ‘Yeah, that’s fine.’ But a glove should be tight at first,” says Fritsch. “Not so tight it can’t get on your hand but once you get it on, the Velcro shouldn’t go all the way over.”
And wearing a glove that’s too big has a big impact on durability.
“The grip kind of grabs at the excess leather as you swing,” Fritsch says. “It’s supposed to be flat on your hand, not wrinkled at all. If you get a tear in the palm, it’s probably a fit issue. If it feels tight right away, it’ll stretch a bit in time and will fit perfectly.”
Birds of a Feather
For a golf startup, Moher and Fritsch seem to have the ideal blend of skills. Moher is a serial entrepreneur with considerable startup experience while Fritsch brings Tour-level knowledge and credibility. Along with its unique carrying case and some special-edition gloves, Red Rooster has recently added a line of accessories including head covers, ball markers and hats.
“We started this because we thought we could make a really good product and that it would be fun,” says Moher. “Brad and I are both in our mid-40s and we have a lot of good years ahead of us. As long as we’re making money and enjoying it, we’ll continue.
“I’ve built businesses to flip but that can be a bit soulless. I wasn’t as tied to those as I am with this business and with Brad.”
That bodes well for Red Rooster. When you start a business with an exit strategy already in place, shortcuts get taken and all eyes are on the bottom line and quick return. “Soulless” is an accurate description.
“We’re not thinking of exiting,” says Moher. “We’re thinking about what to do next.”
“We didn’t know the glove business when we got started but we sure do now,” adds Fritsch. “By and large, our customers will say, ‘Wow, this lasts longer and stays softer than other gloves I’ve used.’
“A lot of times when gloves get sweaty or wet, they get that crusty feel and the tackiness goes away. We’re trying to sell gloves but we’re also trying to make them last as long as possible.”
*This content is backed by the MyGolfSpy Integrity in Advertising Promise.
*We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.