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A Sneak Peek Inside the U.S. Open's Booming Promotional Hats Business

Promotional hats and golf go together like peanut butter and jelly (or peanut butter and pickles, if you're our weird friend from college). The baseball cap has long been a staple of any golfer's wardrobe, which is why the U.S. Open hats continue to be a thriving promotional business.

Credit: Getty Images by Rob Carr

Golf Digest spoke to Mary Lopuszynski, also known as "Merchandise Mary," the senior director of licensing and U.S. Open merchandising for the USGA, about the U.S. Open promotional hats business, and our hats go off to her.

Here's the important takeaways:

1. Everyone loves buying promotional hats

When asked about the state of the U.S. Open hat business, Lopuszynski's response proved promotional hats are bigger than ever:

Units wise, hats are the number one item that we sell. In a good year we’ll sell over 100,000 hats. It’s an easy buy for people. They’re buying for their foursome, for their family or friends. They don’t have to know their friends’ sizes and there’s a lower cost.

2. Consumers want name brands

Lopuszynski said the U.S. Open is pretty consistent with its chosen vendors. After intense market research and observing what people are wearing, the U.S. Open has six different vendors: Ahead, 47 Brand, New Era, Nike, Imperial and a private label.

3. The hat is now a fashion statement

Lopuszynski said the U.S. open is pushing several colors and styles this year.

"Hunting camo has become a thing the past few years," she told Golf Digest. "We'll do the logo in orange, to give it that hunting feel. That's popular. We have some bucket hats in that camo. In recent years, military type camo in colors has become a fashion statement."

"This year, we'll try to do fun things out here on a Hampton beachy nautical theme," she added. "This year, we have a Navy hat and spelled out U.S. Open in nautical flags. Some years, straw hats are bigger. We have women's hats, visors and kids' hats down to a baby-bonnet type hat."

So, for those of you working in promotional hats, don't be afraid to go bold. End-users are using their hats to communicate their personalities and fashion sense, so there's no need to play it safe.

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