Apparel maker B. Draddy pivots from polos to surgical masks

B. Draddy

It's another example of a golf company getting creative to join the fight against Coronavirus

As COVID-19 has spread throughout the U.S., a large portion of the country, and its golfers, are stuck inside. With the golf business in turmoil, several companies, including Seamus and Linksoul, have found creative ways to join the fight against the virus. Add another business to the list: fashion brand, B. Draddy.

A subsidiary of Summit Golf Brands, B. Draddy found itself with ample fabric resources at their Wisconsin production facility and dwindling demand for polo shirts. About two weeks ago, a customer reached out to founder Billy Draddy with the idea to turn that unsold cotton into hospital masks.

Draddy spent a weekend mocking up a few prototypes and the following Monday presented them to his executive team. Later that day, its Wisconsin shop reprogrammed embroidery machines to produce masks and on Wednesday was able to make its first delivery to the Wisconsin Emergency Agency. “Sometimes, in times like these, you just have to do the next right thing,” Billy Draddy said. “This just felt like the next right thing. We’re hopeful that it can help.”

It could help more than Draddy ever expected. On Friday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the stunning recommendation for all citizens to wear masks in public to avoid spreading the virus. N95-rated masks are considered the best of the best, and they're built for frontline healthcare providers and first responders, but “surgical-style” masks are approved for widespread use. B. Draddy masks, made from the same quality materials as their comfortable golf polos, fit the bill. Draddy is able to convert material from one golf polo into about four masks.

They’re ramping up production and can crank out 500-1000 masks per day. (Social distancing measures within the facility prevent them from producing more.) For now, they are working fulfilling requests from frontline healthcare workers and first responders, but plans are in the works to get their masks to consumers as well. Expect to see more of them soon.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, Golf News Hub is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public departments.