Streetwear – from time immemorial New York hip-hop and California wave culture – has made its way to the green grass of the golf course.
“Golf is getting colder, and it’s starting to shrink because there are other aspects of the game they’ve received,” said Jacques Slade, a YouTuber sneaker and golfer who has been talking about the importance of more golf shoes that feature sneakers. culture.
Hip-hop culture and footwear have always been in harmony, but the connection between hip-hop and golf may not be far off, ”said Ankur Amin, owner of the New York streetwear boutique Extra Butter. He said the passion for golf has helped his style connect with his clients.
“A lot of what we do in street culture is in search of a better life,” he said, “and more about golf represents, as does Moët & Chandon or Louis Vuitton.”
Tiger Woods, a Nike-supported golfer, brought many new fans to the game in the late 1990s, but a decrease in interest in its sales in the 2010s paved the way for the golf course. Nike and its co-founder, Jordan Brand, have begun rolling out the sleek golf shoes, such as the Air Max 1 and the original Air Jordans.
Sneakerheads got into the saliva. “You have people who grew up with Jordan Brand,” says rapper and golfer Macklemore, who has played sneaker with Jordan. “No wonder people are making progress.”
And the sneaker golf course has continued to grow. While the epidemic has devastated a number of organizations, it has also encouraged participation in golf, as well as other social activities such as running, mountaineering and cycling, according to the NPD Group, a market research company.
“Once golf courses were reopened, the business started,” said Matt Powell, vice president of the NPD Group and a sports business analyst, who said participation had begun a bit before the epidemic.
More and more people are buying golf at the price of entry in 2020, he said, indicating that newcomers are starting the game. “Every beginner who buys golf sets for $ 400 will not lose $ 120 on golf shoes,” he said. “They play in sneakers.”
Sneakers have been an important part of the millennial choice, but now some adults in their 20s and 30s have the money to play golf – or, experiment. The Top Golf and Five Iron Golf facilities, in some ways similar to the Bowling alleys, have re-opened across the country, making the game available in towns where education is hard to find.
“Golf is a very traditional sport, but if you look at the millennium and all the generations that follow it, they are not afraid to do something different,” said Gentry Humphrey, vice president of shoes in Jordan. The brand that led the company into the game.
Before retiring from the final mission, Humphrey also had time to lead the Nike golf business. Part of Humphrey’s philosophy has been the transformation of Nike and Jordan shoes that collectors have envied as shoes that can be worn on the fairway. “The kids want to go there,” he said, “and they’d better go there with something new.”
While making golf skirts may seem as simple as adding straight ridges, there are other things like waterproofing and changing pins.
“We didn’t want it to be just a basketball shoe that goes to the golf course,” said Humphrey, adding that Nike developed new shoe technologies like integrated traction bottom – a rubberized outsole with no tight spikes that players could wear all day. .
Another part of Humphrey’s strategy has been to provide a broad platform for the development of a golf course through a combination of products. For example, Eastside Golf, a brand that was launched in 2019 by golfers Olajuwon Ajanaku and Earl Cooper, who played together at Morehouse College in Atlanta, wants to promote the sport and educate young people.
“Who said you can’t play golf in a T-shirt?” said Cooper, the first African American golfer in Delaware. “Once the rules were in place, young people were not allowed to play. People are still clinging to the tradition that was broken or broken. ”
Ajanaku, who made the Eastside Golf clothing brand, featured a black man wearing blue jean wearing a gold chain and a baseball cap while rocking the club, he said the recognition of a foreigner on the company’s assets is a very important factor.
“To have the mark of a Black man playing golf on our clothes speaks to anyone who didn’t enjoy the game,” he said.
The Eastside Golf logo was clearly displayed on the tongue of their Air Jordan alliance, which uses the original Air Jordan IV form, retro shoes that are highly respected among sneakerheads. Golf spikes were removed so skirts could also be worn along the way.
Shoes that change or can easily change from green to clubhouse are one of the new features that have helped open up the sneaker culture within the golf course. For fashion lovers, half-inch spikes under a sneaker can dramatically change the beauty of a shoe. As a result, more and more brands are opting for more sophisticated styles under their golf shoes instead of straight spikes.
“There were a lot of people who bought golf deals, but they didn’t play the game,” Humphrey said. “My phone was ringing louder for the Eastside Golf conference than for any other project we did with Christian Dior. The game is looking for more power, and this was a great way to learn something new.”
Along the way, eagle-eyed golfers or shoemakers may have seen these shoes at the feet of Bubba Watson, 43, or Harold Varner III, 31, but even the youngest professionals are bringing a different change to the PGA Tour, Slade, sneaker. YouTuber, he said. Many of the players on the tour now, he said, “grew up listening to Travis Scott or Tyler the Creator. They are coming to this country with very different ideas.”
Last summer, Extra Oil, Amin’s boutique, teamed up with Adidas for a street golf club sponsored by the “Happy Gilmore” movie that featured golf shoes, boots, balls and putter covers. The store is also introducing new golf brands on its platform, such as Radda, Whim and Manors Golf.
“Since the beginning of the hip-hop culture, there has been an atmosphere of ambition,” said Bernie Gross, creative director of Extra Butter. “We come from areas that do not represent this, but this is what we hope to achieve one day. Golf is part of this. “
Rapper musicians are also entering the golf business. Drake started a 10-round golf team with Nike wearing Brooks Koepka, a four-time champion. And Macklemore, a Seattle rapper, started his own golf course – called the Bogey Boys – in February 2021.
Macklemore started playing two and a half years ago on vacation, and was immediately attracted. But even before he hit his first 5-iron bar from the fairway, he was a fan of golf appearances since the 1970s.
Since its inception last year, the Bogey Boys, whose appearance was inspired by golfers like Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino, have sold from his first small-scale production team, which teamed up with Nordstrom and opened its first commercial. place in Seattle in September.
However, beyond the collection, style and functionality, the founders of Eastside Golf believe that there are great carriers in the popular game.
“Golf can learn from a sneaker culture,” Cooper said. “The culture of sex workers is just about being private. That’s what golf is all about.”