We’re officially halfway through 2020 and this revolutionary year is just heating up. Protests against police brutality and systemic racism have raged across the country for about a month. The world of golf in particular has a long, long way to go in making the game more welcoming for BIPOC. Laz Versalles wrote a wonderful article on Golf.com regarding golf’s efforts to engage Black golfers, why it hasn’t worked, and what a new approach shot to this could look like. The piece harkens back to the original Bag Bandit article “Build A Caddie Shack”, and I highly recommend everyone remotely interested in golf take the time to read both of them. In this month’s Under the Bib, I’m going to highlight a few brands in golf that are pushing this conversation forward and putting their money where their mouth is.
Eastside Golf, Eastside Golf Staple Sweatshirt, $100
Eastside Golf has the freshest logo in the game, hands down! It completely embodies their brand and tells you who they are at a glance. They’re not laying up for anything and are here to play. This guy is swinging so hard he defies physics. His chain is flying in the opposite direction and by the time he follows through it’ll do a 540 around his neck and that golf ball will be dancing greenside. Eastside Golf was founded by Olajuwon Ajanaku, who grew up on the Eastside of Atlanta and is now based in Detroit. In their words, “Eastside Golf is a stylish brand made to build awareness to the youth and non-golfers how cool golf is.”
Everything Eastside has made is CLEAN. Their rope hats and t-shirts are classic looks that proudly display their logo. The brand just dropped some socks that sold out in less than a day. The best piece they have right now has got to be the Eastside Golf Staple Sweatshirt. A crewneck sweatshirt can fit into almost any outfit. With a large chenille patch of their logo stands out on the front of the sweatshirt and another patch is placed on the back up on the neck which says Eastside Golf in script. This crewneck will make a statement, and that statement reads “Golf is Cool”.
Eastside was founded one year ago, and I can’t wait to see where they go. The duo of Olajuwon Ajanaku and Earl Cooper have all the bases covered in the world of golf and golf business, they would probably make a really good best ball team too. Eastside is a great follow on Instagram and they have been doing an IG Live interview series with recent guests like Trillium Rose, Maurice Allen and Cheyenne Woods. The conversations they’ve had are insightful and enlightening. Give them a follow, tune into their IG Lives, listen, and look out for more socks to drop!
Radda Golf, Vardon Polo, $59
You all know we’re team Radda. Founder and owner Jason Fields was nice enough to do a Q&A with us about their brand, which you can find here. They’re one of the few brands that really seems to be putting their money where their mouth is by donating a portion of all sales in the month of June to Black Lives Matter, Color of Change and the Minnesota Freedom Fund. For a young upstart brand still grinding, that really says a lot about who they are as people.
This is the Vardon Polo by Radda Golf. 100% dry-fit polyester will wick away the sweat like water off a duck's back. The Vardon polo is a minimalist polo, fit for any occasion. The polo is available in two colors, green and black. The buttons are concealed and they threw in a chest pocket to keep they’re new “Fuck You Pay Me” ball markers in—pure class. The Radda pennant logo is detailed on the sleeve and the back of the collar on the Vardon Polo. If the Vardon Polo isn’t your style, check out their many other polo options on their website—I’m sure you will be able to find something that fits your wardrobe. The code “BAGBANDIT” will get you 10% off an order, but act fast it’s good until the end of June.
Random Golf Club, All Are Welcome Hat, $35
Random Golf Club is exactly that: a random golf club where upwards of 50-60 people join in and play a few holes together. Started by Erik Anders Lang, Radom Golf Club breaks down a lot of the molds golf is traditionally meant to fit in, especially playing in a foursome. RGC has had meetups all over the world and is a way for EAL to create and share merch. EAL and RGC have been stepping up to discuss the issue of race in golf and they haven’t been afraid to have difficult conversations. Erik has a couple of IGTV videos that I highly recommend watching, particularly this one with RGC member Matt Kennard, who details his experiences with racial inequality on and off the golf course.
The All Are Welcome hat underscores Random Golf Club’s mission. It reads, “our mission at Random Golf Club is inclusion. A place where all are welcome no matter their race, gender, religion, or sexuality. We stand with anyone who needs to be accepted, heard, treated equally and treated fairly.” The hat is available in this dad hat style and a rope snapback version. Hats are starting to ship out, so order yours ASAP. All of the proceeds from this hat will be donated to Know Your Rights Camp and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Golf is a fair game. You are going to get bad breaks every once in a while but then you will also skull a chip that hits the flagstick and drops into the hole every once in a while. With handicapping and different tee boxes, everyone—no matter their skill level—can have an even match on any course. The game of golf doesn't care what you look like or what clubs you have in the bag.
The reality is that golf is not a fair game off the course. We’re making progress, but we have a long way to go to make golf inclusive for everyone. Golf’s self-perpetuated stereotypes have all but closed the game off to a lot of people, especially toward BIPOC. Eastside, Radda and RGC are all working hard to chip away at these walls around golf, and simultaneously offer merchandise that supports those messages. If you see something you like, go support these brands and their missions. Peace Banditos.