Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak camouflage was the brain child of Toxey Haas of West Point, Mississippi, 28-years ago. In the beginning, Mossy Oak was a start-up company with one pattern, Bottomland, but has grown into a multifaceted family of companies under the Mossy Oak brand. Why has Mossy Oak continued to grow? Why are thousands of outdoor enthusiasts joining the Mossy Oak brand? What’s in the future for Mossy Oak? To get the answers to these questions, we went to the source and the founder - Toxey Haas.
Question: Toxey, what’s the future of Mossy Oak?
Haas: We will continue to do the will of the consumer and the team of great people that I work with at Mossy Oak. We have an extremely-long list of projects that we want to become involved in for the future, but we've started building now. We’re going to raise, breed and train a Mossy Oak line of hunting dogs. We’re starting with English Labrador retrievers and will add other breeds later. We hope to have blood trailing dogs, dogs trained to pick-up shed antlers and dogs trained to help our consumers find and take more game, recover game and be companions. We here at Mossy Oak love dogs, and they’re part of all our lives. Dogs also represent a huge part of the hunting industry. We want to develop dogs that will help the sportsman and help people who have kennels to train and raise sporting dogs. Right now, we’re building a training facility and kennels in West Point, Mississippi, to start this new project. We’re really excited about finding, breeding and training superior hunting breeds.
Another new project that we’re excited about is building a new golf course called Mossy Oak’s Nature Golf. In developing this course, we’re partnering with George Bryan and the Bryan family who owns Old Waverly Golf Course, which is on the “Golf Digest” top 100 golf courses. Old Waverly was founded in 1990, and it’s a fabulous golf course. The Mossy Oak golf course, which will be open to the public, will be one of the top golf courses in the nation. Gil Hanse, one of the foremost golf course designers in the world is the architect for the Mossy Oak golf course. He just designed and built an Olympic golf course for the country of Brazil and has built golf courses in Saudi Arabia too. We feel really lucky to have contacted him 2 years ago to do a study for us on the feasibility of building this new golf course. He designs courses that are called minimalist golf courses that take advantage of the existing terrain and just appear to have popped up out of the woods. All the roughs and the habitat will be native plants and grasses. Our slogan will be Mossy Oak is Nature’s Golf. We’ll have a rustic club house. Mississippi State University has a PGA training school and is planning to move that school to our course, once the course is completed. The construction already has begun, and we plan to have the entire course built and ready to play on in 2016. George Bryan, who’s partnered with us, is a real visionary. He chose to use the name of Mossy Oak for the course. Before we even became involved in this business, George asked me for permission to name the course Mossy Oak. Our research tends to indicate that of all the athletic sports, golf crosses over into hunting more than any other sport. Golf provides an opportunity for people to get into the outdoors who may not hike, observe wildlife, hunt or fish. Hunting in the morning and playing golf in the afternoon is what many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy doing, or playing golf in the morning and hunting later in the afternoon.
Question: Toxey, what was Mossy Oak’s first step into the golf industry?
Haas: Several years ago Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, the vice president of Mossy Oak in charge of video and television production, produced a show for the Golf Channel titled, “The Second Season,” hosted by Hal Sutton. Jack Nicklaus was on the first show as well as many other PGA professional golfers. We were made aware of the statistics that 78 percent of the people who play golf listed hunting and fishing as one of their favorite pastimes too. So, we learned that there was a huge crossover with the people who hunted and fished but also played golf. What I really like about creating a golf course is: I know that that course is permanent. My children and grandchildren, and the children and the grandchildren of all the people who are a part of the Mossy Oak family will be able to play golf on the Mossy Oak Golf Nature’s Golf Course, even long after I'm gone. A golf course is much like planting a tree. It has a sense of permanence. A golf course is a positive recreational outdoor activity that we can leave behind for others to enjoy. We feel that the golf course really fits in with the Mossy Oak outdoor lifestyle. The slogan for the golf course is Nature’s Golf, which also fits in with the mission for Mossy Oak.