Lakeside grad forms partnership with NASCAR driver

A Lakeside graduate who successfully started a golf apparel company after moving to Arizona will now see his company’s name on full display during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway today in Madison, Illinois.

Matt Erickson graduated from Lakeside in 2014 and then went to college at Arizona State University. While he was not a big golfer before the pandemic, COVID-19 forced Erickson and a friend he met in college, Nate Baker, to hit the course often as it was an activity that was outside.

Erickson and Baker soon realized that golf apparel tended to be a bit bland, solid colored and just generic. The pair created Two Friends Golf, a company that creates colorful and lively golf apparel that makes players on the course feel good and stand out.

“We spent a long time getting samples and all that, and it just went from there,” Erickson said. “When we did our first order of 50 shirts, it was sold out instantly, and that was just word of mouth with our friends.”

Since creating Two Friends Golf, Erickson has grown his company by reaching out to influencers and professional athletes across social media. The company sends those influencers and athletes apparel and creates a working relationship with online and athletic personalities.

Instead of starting with more traditional ways of marketing like paying for promotional posts and calling into different golf clubs, Two Friends Golf created partnerships with influencers like Tik Tok personality Too Turnt Tony.

“We started reaching out mainly through Instagram just to a bunch of influencers or professional athletes saying, ‘Hey, we’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. We’ve got this polo company going, and we think our culture, if you will, would really fit you guys,'” Erickson said. “That really led us into getting a bigger view to other people out there.”

Through various connections in NASCAR, Erickson eventually reached out to GMS Racing driver Jack Wood, a 21-year-old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, about a potential partnership.

After sending Wood and his team some shirts, the relationship kept developing. Two Friends Golf even created shirts embroidered with the team’s logo.

The team came to Erickson and Baker a few months ago with an opportunity to wrap Wood’s truck in a Two Friends Golf primary partnership design — a custom design with the company as the main sponsor — for the race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

“Jack’s personality really fits it,” Erickson said. “He loves wearing our polo shirts to the races. So it just went from there.”

Two Friends Golf worked together with Woods’ team to create a wrap that represents the brand well. The truck will be decked out in purple, blue and pinkish flowers with a black background, closely resembling the look of one of the company’s polo designs called Lights Out.

“We got to sit down with their graphic design guys, their PR people and design not only his car but his fire suit, too,” Erickson said.

The truck will also display the Two Friends Golf logo on the hood, bed and sides of the vehicle.

“Me personally as a longtime NASCAR fan, it was a dream come true,” Erickson said. “Getting to see that graphic design mockup of it was just amazing.”

Just looking at the wrap made Erickson and Baker think about the journey of Two Friends Golf from a startup to becoming the primary sponsor on a NASCAR truck.

“That’s when Nate and I were just sitting there and looking at it,” Erickson said. “We think this company, our first order was just some 50 something odd shirts, and we go from there. Now he and I are sitting down looking at a NASCAR truck we got to design. It was truly an amazing feeling, and it made a lot of the hard work that we both did start to feel like it’s really paying off for us.”

The future relationship between Wood and Two Friends Golf is still in the works, and Erickson said both sides look forward to a long-term partnership.

Two Friends Golf looks to keep growing its brand by working with more wholesale accounts including retail locations and golf course clubhouses across the country. Of course, Erickson and Baker still look to develop relationships with influencers and athletes, something they have been quite successful in doing in just a short amount of time.

“This is something we always talked about and sought out,” Erickson said. “We definitely didn’t see it coming this quickly in the time frame we’ve been running Two Friends Golf.”

Fans can see the No. 24 Two Friends Golf Chevrolet Silverado RST at 12:30 pm today on Fox Sports 1 (Resort Channel 34).

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