Q&A: Radda Golf Founder Jason Fields
Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Let us put you on to Radda Golf, real quick. They’re dipping their toes in things that most golf brands don’t go near—like recipes for Szechuan-style duck wings, and mixtapes. But they also peddle style pieces. Bold and jumpy style pieces, at that. Simply put, we think Radda’s model of putting out what they enjoy and believe in is not only a refreshing departure from the prototypical makeup of golf brands, but a model for what golf companies will all be doing in 5 or 10 years. They’re just ahead of the curve.
For these reasons, we jumped at the opportunity to connect with Radda founder, Jason Fields, and threw some questions at him. Jason clearly harbors a great deal of passion for his brand, and also for making golf a more accessible environment. For the month of June, Radda’s proceeds will benefit Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, and the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
ALSO, we’ve partnered up with the Radda crew to give you 10% off at checkout through the end of June, using the code BAGBANDIT. As a reminder, proceeds are headed in a good direction, benefitting several social justice organizations. So hit the shop, use our code at purchase, give Radda a follow on IG, and enjoy this interview.
The Bag Bandit: Who is Radda Golf? What does Radda stand for?
Jason Fields: Radda Golf is a lifestyle driven golf apparel brand, we launched last June and we’re based in both Bushwick, Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
There are so many antiquated associations when it comes to the game, and what it means to be a golfer. Radda is here to help push the game’s aesthetic, culture and experience forward,
making the game more diverse and accepting. Golf doesn’t define us, we don’t want to scream the game at our audience. We know golf is only a part of a more dynamic set of interests and passions that our audience maintains. This is the future of golf apparel brands.
Nobody on the team has worked in the golf market before, which I consider to be a bonus. Fresh takes.
BB: Tell us about how and when Radda got started. Who's on the team and how did you
all meet? What are your professional backgrounds?
JF: The journey started in 2013. I was living in NYC and wasn’t golfing much at the time. I decided to get a lesson at Chelsea Piers and get my game on point to begin playing again that summer. Being a traditionalist at the time I showed up for my lesson in full golf regalia. Golf polo, golf pants, and hat. Immediately after the lesson I headed downtown to meet some friends for a drink and as soon as I sat down I got ROASTED. They’d never seen me in golf apparel, they didn’t even know I golfed. I have tattoos, I don’t shave much, I worked in fashion, they never would’ve guessed I loved playing the game. After about twenty minutes of jokes at my expense my friend asked a simple question “Why does golf clothing need to look like THAT. It’s a polo shirt and pant?" It was a simple question I’d never asked myself. I was just fine up to that point choosing whatever bland options I was offered at the local golf shop. My eyes opened and I began thinking about the idea from that day forward. My co-founder, Ivan Dominguez, and I began making the idea a reality in 2018.
The team is pretty small, it’s my co-founder (Ivan Dominguez), our partner/Creative Director (Alvin Manalo), myself and a few creatives at-large that form the team. Ivan and I were friends for many years before coming together with the idea for a golf brand. Ivan and our Creative Director, Alvin, have been friends for many years and that made our search for the creative partner easy. We all come from fashion, collectively we have over 4 decades of experience in
multiple areas. Nobody on the team has worked in the golf market before, which I consider to be a bonus. Fresh takes.
Anyone these days can build a site on Shopify and buy some blanks and call themselves a brand. The challenge is in the brand minutia and creating something that is bigger than the product itself. We want to be a presence in the market for decades to come. Consumers are extremely informed and see through poorly executed and shallow brand development. We have a very high standard for how we execute, I think it shows in our product quality, our social platforms and content. It’s also been a challenge to maintain a perceived balance between fashion and golf. We’re not a fashion brand, we’re a golf brand. Quality, stylish golf apparel made by golfers. We want to make sure we convey that we’re not interested in just being “cool” or just fashionable. We want to make sure those that wear Radda feel good about what they’re investing in and know that our products perform on the course and look natural when in off-course environments.
Also, money is hard. We always need more…
Brands need to stand for something more than just a product... Standing in opposition against racism and injustice should not be controversial.
BB: Are you golfers? If so, how long have you been playing? What is it about golf you like the most?
JF: We all golf. Alvin and Ivan are beginners, but have taken to the game after learning that golf isn’t just khakis and old men. I’m a lifelong golfer, I began playing at age 9. I played
competitively in school and for many years in junior golf programs, but these days it’s mostly for fun with the occasional money game sprinkled in.
So many people love to talk about the spiritual growth and life lessons that come with a round of golf and how it’s come to define their love for the game. I agree, it can be a very spiritual game, a window into one's soul—but for me at this stage in life…gimme a fucking beer and some music. Let me relax and have fun for 18 holes without contemplating my existence. I’m 40 now, I’m married, I have a daughter and little to no time at all for myself. So, golf has become more about the social experience and desire to have fun and talk some shit with friends who I don’t see as much as I’d like.
BB: Where do you most often play golf? What's your dream golf trip and who are you
bringing (dead or alive, duh)?
JF: I love Rustic Canyon in Moorpark, I think I’ve played that course the most in the past six
months. I consider myself pretty lucky that I have a lot of friends with country club memberships here in LA. So, the majority of my rounds played are as a guest at someone else’s club. Some local public courses I love are Sand Canyon, Sand Piper and the Roosevelt Par-3 in Los Feliz. There’s no better golf experience than a discovery property golf course. I’d pick Gozzer Ranch.
As for the three joining me… Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, Larry David.
BB: Radda’s look is unique and you can tell inspiration for looks comes from many different
places. What are the Brands/People/Movements/Art etc. that have inspired Radda the
JF: The influences come from what our peers are wearing on the street. We then take those
references and design with added golf functionality. We never look TO the golf market for
influence, we’re always looking at what’s happening on the street.
The three of us are all pretty eclectic, and this speaks to our social media approach. We want to touch on all of the sincere interests we have and we know our audience is no different.
Architecture, art, music, food are all influential to our process. John Lautner, Balthazar Corab,
90’s style and culture, NYC in the 90’s, a young Tiger Woods, vintage cars, old video games…you name it.
Check out our Instagram and mixed in with the golf content you’ll see an Insta-story with a series of photos from NASA in the 50's, a post about our favorite burger in LA, a cocktail recipe, a series of shots of a Lautner house we love. We don’t want to scream golf at you. We know you’re more than the game you play.
BB: Radda has worked with Tiger Hood. How did that partnership come about? Why Tiger
Hood? Can we expect to see more partnerships like this in the future?
JF: I grew up in the South LA County area. Obviously not known as a golf hotbed. I was introduced to the game by my uncle who thought it would be a good influence, keep me focused and out of any trouble that was prevalent in the neighborhood I lived. I feel lucky to have found the game when I was young. I know it’s been a positive influence and I cherish that. When I first saw Tiger playing on the streets of SOHO it blew me away. The contrasts made me think about my journey with the game and how lucky I was to have found golf while living in an underserved area. I felt Tiger, without knowing it, was offering the same opportunity to those who stopped to watch him. He was growing the game, pushing the game to be more inclusive, offering a unique glimpse of golf to those who may think the game wasn’t for them. Radda is very driven to make the game more inclusive and fighting the antiquated associations of what it means to be a golfer. Tiger inspired us and we reached out via Instagram. He’s a legend and the game is better with him in its orbit.
We have some ideas we’re working on with Tiger and other brands with bigger platforms to help make the game more inclusive.
BB: What is Radda’s short (1-3 months out) and long term (5 years from now) goals? Any
releases coming out that you’re most excited about? Does Radda see itself sponsoring tour
JF: We have a lot of product in the pipeline that will be released in the next few months. We’re also very excited about the upcoming launch of The Radda Proshop. We’ll be selling a collection of third party product on RaddaGolf.com to improve your golf experience. All the brands we showcase will be sustainable or will be focused on your health and wellness. We’re very excited about this.
Five years from now? Have a Radda Golf Course…everyone welcome. Continuing to open the game up to diversity and acceptance and being at the forefront of defining the golf experience and aesthetic.
Unless a pro golfer comes up who has the flavor and vision that aligns with us, we’ll most likely pass on any pro sponsorship effort.
BB: What’s been the idea behind doing Digest pieces on your website? Where do you see the Digest going in the future?
JF: Well, it all comes back to understanding that golfers also have jobs, they eat, some drink, they love other sports, they watch movies, listen to music, and have a life off the course. We see the Digest as a platform to connect with them on things not golf related.
As for the future we would love to develop a weekly video series that’s released via the Digest. Loving that a lot of proceeds from sales have been going to COVID relief and BLM funds.
BB: Is this something Radda will continue years down the line? What’s Radda’s message to
everyone with what is going on right now? How do you think we can make golf more
inclusive and welcoming for people of color and other underrepresented groups?
JF: YES! It’s part of my personal journey with the game, and it's baked into the DNA of Radda. Brands need to stand for something more than just a product. With the current cultural climate, it's more necessary than ever for brands to be vocal about where they stand and what or whom they support. Working to make the game more inclusive and diverse is something that exists close to the heart of the brand – we will always take a stand and this approach will never go away.
Standing in opposition against racism and injustice should not be controversial. Radda’s
message would be to take action, this isn’t the time to sit on the sidelines. Donate, protest,
educate yourself and listen. By taking action you become part of the solution. Generations
before us took to the streets to improve our lives, it’s time our generation stands together to
improve the lives of the next generation.
There are so many ways we can make the experience more inclusive. But top of mind I think a more welcoming and inclusive golf culture begins with how we represent the game to non-
golfers. Take a look at the advertising and e-comms of major golf brands these days. I can’t tell any of them apart. All of the models look the same, the language is all the same, they all speak to the 55 year old white male. That needs to change.
Look at the Tiger boom, the phenomenon wasn’t just because he was insanely talented. Minorities saw an African American man playing—what’s perceived as—a white man’s sport. He had personality and he dominated! People all across the world saw themselves in him and thought for the first time that maybe the game could be for them. We want non-golfers to look at Radda and think the same thing.