Where do you want to fly?
I don’t normally write about fashion, but I’m making an exception since there is a sports connection.
Kaeli Smith, an Annapolis-based designer and entrepreneur, recently received the “Best New Product of the Year” honor at the 65th annual PGA Merchandise Show. This premier trade event attracts more than 44,000 golf industry professionals and 1,110 exhibitors from 70 countries.
Her firm, Kaeli Smith & Company, debuted at the PGA Merchandise Show by exhibiting custom artistic prints that can be replicated on a variety of apparel and accessories offered by golf courses and pro shops.
Smith personally works with clients to develop each print as an original work of art that captures the unique natural landscape, icons and architectural details of a particular property. Her company then creates products including dresses, tops, outerwear, tote bags, staff uniforms, towels, gifts and fundraising premiums, all manufactured in the United States.
“It’s really amazing to receive such a prestigious honor, especially when competing against so many larger, established brands,” Smith said of the Best New Product of the Year award, which was voted on by buyers from golf courses around the world.
“People are very passionate about the beauty and experience of their golf course, and our designs really capture the essence of the places they love,” added Smith, who often uses clubhouses or signature holes when customizing prints.
The PGA Merchandise Show focuses on innovations and products for every aspect of the industry – equipment, apparel, electronics, golf instruction, course maintenance, professional development and more. It features products from top golf brands, including Callaway, Adidas, Titleist, Under Armour and Puma.
Smith has already created custom collections for many top-tier golf clubs, including Tiburon Golf Club (Naples, FL), Riviera Country Club (Pacific Palisades, CA), Ocean Reef Club (Key Largo, FL), PGA West (La Quinta, CA), Pinehurst (Pinehurst, NC) and The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs, WV).
“We went to the PGA show for the first time last January and the idea was well received. Every golf club that came to our booth went with a custom print,” Smith said. “It’s awesome to be able to say that our products are displayed in the pro shops at such renowned clubs as Pinehurst and Ocean Reef.”
Smith said she thoroughly researches each club’s website to come up with ideas for the prints. She often incorporates certain wildlife and flowers native to a particular course or is asked to use a club’s logo or slogan. Kaeli Smith & Company has already done work for 75 different country clubs or courses since introducing the golf line of apparel.
Most of the product line consists of dresses that are athletic and functional yet also fashionable. Smith touts the dresses as being “from the course to the cocktail party.” Other items include tote bags, scarves, towels and staff uniforms.
“Honestly, we haven’t felt more confident than when we started working with the PGA. It really validates the brand and is a great steppingstone for the company,” Smith said.
Smith played field hockey and lacrosse at St. Mary’s High and majored in apparel design at the University of Delaware. She founded Kaeli Smith & Company with the help of her father shortly after graduating from college in 2016.
Andy Smith, a standout basketball and lacrosse player at St. Mary’s High, handles the business side of the company. The workhorse midfielder was the Baltimore Sun Metro Player of the Year for boys’ lacrosse in 1980 and enjoyed a solid career at North Carolina, earning first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference in 1984.
Andy Smith, who previously co-owned an interior design firm (Powers Smith Interiors) with his mother, takes care of shipping and receiving, bookkeeping and other details in order to allow his daughter to focus on the creative side.
BAYHAWKS CLINIC: Legendary player Ryan Powell and a pair of Anne Arundel County products will lead the Chesapeake Bayhawks’ 2019 Junior Major League Lacrosse Clinic, being held Sunday, April 7 (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) at Archbishop Spalding.
Powell, a four-time All-American at Syracuse University and the first fully endorsed Nike Lacrosse athlete, will direct the clinic that will provide education and mentorship to players aged 8 through 14. Attendees will receive in-depth instruction related to their specific positions.
Powell led Syracuse to the 2000 NCAA Division I national championship and was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. The prolific attackman was a six-time All-Star and two-time Most Valuable Player while amassing 353 career points – ranking 10th in Major League Lacrosse history with 186 goals and seventh with 167 assists.
Chesapeake goalkeeper Brian Phipps, an Annapolis native, will also provide instruction during the clinic. The former Severn School and University of Maryland standout, who is an eight-year MLL veteran and three-time All-Star, is head coach at Archbishop Spalding.
Nick Manis, another Annapolis resident and Severn School, will also represent the Bayhawks as part of the staff. Manis is entering his third season with Chesapeake and also serves as an assistant Coach at Spalding.
This clinic will focus on every position and the Bayhawks will put the youngsters through the same drills they use for their professional team. Whether you are a goaltender or faceoff specialist or play goalie, defense, midfield, defensive midfield or attack, this clinic is designed to make you more knowledgeable and talented.
MCNAMARA HONOR: Former Capital Gazette sports reporter and editor John McNamara will be honored this spring by the Maryland Football Coaches Association (MFCA).
McNamara will be posthumously presented with the Jerry E. Mears Service Award that is given annually for outstanding service and support of football in the state of Maryland.
McNamara covered high school football at every stop of his journalism career – first at the Hagerstown Herald-Mail then later at The Capital and for the Prince George’s Journal. The Silver Spring resident also covered University of Maryland football for all three of those newspapers.
McNamara was one of five staff members killed in the June 28 attack on the Capital Gazette Newspapers office. The 56-year-old was working as a reporter and editor of the Bowie Blade newspaper at the time of his death.
McNamara will be honored during a ceremony being held in the Tyser Tower during halftime of the Maryland Red-White spring game on April 27. Andrea Chamblee will accept the award on behalf of her late husband.
“John covered high school sports long enough to see Maryland coaches help their young prospects make great careers from their talents,” Chamblee said.
“Sometimes it was on the football field, but it didn’t have to be. John had a great memory for the sport, so that when he would run into players later, he’d be able to re-live their favorite moments with them. Getting to know them was one of his favorite parts of the job.”
HURLEY CASHES: Naval Academy graduate Billy Hurley lost his PGA Tour card after failing to earn the required amount of money during the 2018 season. However, Hurley elected not to return to the Web.com Tour in order to regain his PGA playing status.
The Annapolis resident reasoned he could make as much or more money by simply entering selected PGA Tour events. Early returns are favorable on that front as Hurley finished in a tie for 30th at the Valspar Championship and earned almost $40,000.