A Sunday on the Berlin-Pankow golf course. Small, white balls fly towards the evening sun, sometimes the satisfactorily full, sometimes too hollow bangs are heard at the tee, now and then an exasperated cry: “The blow went completely wrong!” Everything was in perfect order, so in the idyllic way like emotional golfers world.
But wait – at second glance, something is wrong in the picture. Yes, right: These are not just best agers with a gel silver hair quilt, down vest and polo collar, which promise status and a little exercise in the fresh air! Lots of young people are beating the balls and look like they stumbled straight onto the driving range from after-hour: black skinny jeans, long gray T-shirts, messy hair, vans.
Hipsters conquer the Golf course. And not just in Berlin. When Adidas launched a golf collection in the spring of this year, which was designed in cooperation with the skate brand Palace, it went through the industry like a shock wave: How should the meticulously regulated etiquette of golf, a sport whose tradition goes all the way back to the core 15th century, do they fit together with skateboard fashion?
Golfing has long been the favorite sport of the wealthy class at an advanced age. Donald Trump, 73, is all too happy to retire to his hyper-exclusive club in Mar-a-Lago, where membership as a member costs a million dollars. It is precisely these associations that plunged golf into a veritable “millennial crisis” a few years ago: A study by the American market research company National Golf Foundation in 2015 showed that 80 percent of the young golfers surveyed appreciate the sport – the image of But classify sport as elitist, too conservative and too little inclusive. So the big question in the golf business was: How do you get the age group who prefers to drive a car-sharing car to the golf course and the pro shops? The scene cannot survive in the long run only with pensioners.
So you try a makeover. You have already got used to cell phone apps on the pitch that measure distances and calculate scores. Now the sometimes smiled golf look is finally experiencing an update. “In most places, a lot is overlooked when it comes to dress codes. In professional life, you got used to sneakers with a suit, ”says Hans-Jürgen Hohmann, golf outfitter in Berlin for 30 years. “The labels have therefore become significantly younger in recent years. The pants have become narrower, the materials more sporty. An 18-year-old doesn’t suddenly wear the same clothes as his own father on the golf course. ”
Adidas or Nike also release their most popular sneaker models in the golfer version with cam sole, from street to fairway so to speak. Ralph Lauren recently hired 23-year-old actress Kathryn Newton (“Big Little Lies”) for the golf line as a testimonial. But even small brands mix up the golfer style: The Swedish brand Röhnisch tries to convince golfers with body-hugging cuts, athleisure appeal and sustainable materials to move away from the dentist’s look. “Nobody still buys sports clothes that one just for golfing or just can wear it for yoga, ”says designer Cecilia Kvamme, who, by the way, is a golf professional and tests all parts herself on the course.
Other brands rely on the ironic breaking of old golf traditions and a wink: The Australian company Birds of Condor prints the word “Birdie” on sweatshirts, which is used to inform the environment about their own golfing success. The avant-garde label par excellence, the off-white of the golfing scene, is the Californian brand Malbon, which sews grinning golf ball logos on sweaters and polos. The spring 2020 collection bears the beautiful name “Golf is a 4 letter word”, fans of the brand include ex-skateboard pro Eric Koston or rapper ScHoolboy Q.
Long Drive star Troy Cherie Mullins in Malbon Golf:
The sales strategy of all these labels works with the same message: Golf can be sexy and cool. “Style is very important in our sport,” says 27-year-old German professional golfer Sophia Popov, who has won three tournament titles in the past few weeks. “We try to get fans’ attention when we spend up to five hours on the court at tournaments. People only follow you on Instagram partly because they like your look. ”
The young, international golf professionals fan out a new image of the sport on social networks, which traditionalists have to dismay in part, but which enthuses fans of the same age. For example, world-class player Brooks Koepka gives insights into his gym program and refutes the old saying that too much muscle mass is an obstacle to an elegant swing. Bryson DeChambeau, also a top PGA candidate, plays the “Fortnite” computer game on the streaming platform Twitch. And 20-year-old professional player Lily Muni He shows up on Instagram in oversized sweatshirts and hot pants while training, with the bag hanging casually over her shoulder.
The Millennial spirit However, it is most evident in small rebellions against the sometimes so sterile professional world that generations ago designed: When the American women’s professional association LPGA in 2017 imposed a completely out of date strict dress code for professional golfers (no more mini skirts, no deep cutouts) , the major winner Michelle Wie protested with her belly-free photos on Instagram. And the scene’s most followered social media personality, former college golfer Paige Spiranac, replied with an essay in Fortune magazine, in which she accused the LPGA Bodyshaming.
The rules have not been changed. The traditional golf world does not yet have to see itself threatened by social media activities. The world of traditional clubs, the world of major tournaments, on which the camera lingers for minutes on the flower discounts between the tees and seated men explain the progress of the round. But it is part of the millennial mentality to make sure of your own coolness by ironically distancing yourself from the status quo. Don’t be surprised if a 25-year-old wears a hoodie in the next flight. When Gloria Minoprio was the first woman in pants to go to a golf tournament in 1933, the world did not go down, contrary to what was initially feared.
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