Golf fashion has historically been bland, and adheres to traditional looks. But Curry Brand, the Under Armour-backed label of NBA superstar Steph Curry, is out to change that.
“Traditionally, the apparel has been a little bit stuffy. One of the things we wanted to do is cater toward a more modern fit for a younger consumer,” said Nathan Todd, Under Armour’s global senior designer of performance essentials. “We’ve made conscious strides of having more of a seamless transition from your everyday look and bringing that onto the golf course.”
This week, Curry Brand added several apparel pieces to its golf range, including the Monarch Polo and the Icon Polo, as well as new colorways of its Golf Hat. All of the aforementioned looks, according to the company, are inspired by the spirit animal of the baller’s daughter, Ryan: the butterfly. The polos retail for $80 each and the hats come with a $35 price tag.
The selections are available now via UA.com.
The rest of the Curry Brand golf collection, which includes footwear, will arrive via UA.com next month.
Aside from the butterfly inspiration, Curry Brand created the lineup with trending elements “to inject a new liveliness and style into the sport” and was designed alongside the three-time NBA champion with “the intersection of street culture and traditional golf gear” in mind. Additionally, the golf line has several nods to Curry, such as the labels that feature the greater than and less than symbols that he has tattooed on his left bicep to represent the Bible verse from John 3:30.
This new injection of trends and style into golf fashion from Curry Brand comes at a time when people are participating in the sport significantly more than in recent years.
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association 2021 Topline Participation Report, 36.9 million people played golf on or off the course in 2020, a 7.9% increase over 2019.
Breaking down participation further, SFIA revealed when it came to play on a nine or 18-hole golf course, 24.8 million people took part in 2020, representing a 2.2% increase over the year prior. And when it comes to off-course play, which consists of a driving range, golf entertainment venue or indoor simulator, participation increased 21.7% from 2019 to 12.1 million people in 2020.
Todd cited changing demographics of players throughout the pandemic.
“We’re starting to see a bit more diversification in the sport and a lot more younger people are getting into the game. Traditionally, it’s an older crowd, a predominantly caucasian crowd,” Todd said. “Through the pandemic, it was one of the only sports that was open. It has built in social distancing, given its huge, vast tracts of land. Basketball courts were still shut down, gymnasiums were shut down but you could get out on the golf course.”
The company said it hopes the range will “complement the brand’s broader efforts to improve access to the game in underserved communities” and “help facilitate a more positive and inclusive environment in which all players can look, play and feel their best.”
“There’s a big-time conversation happening now around how to invest in the game so that you’re creating opportunity. There’s no clear-cut plan on how to do it, but I think everybody’s starting to ask the right questions to find out what those answers are,” Curry said in a statement. “Part of it is making golf fun. There’s a stigma around the game for being stuffy, being exclusive, and that makes it intimidating, so we need to make it more approachable by showing that you can have a great time with great people out there. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but the awareness around this specific problem is at an all-time high, and that’s the first step toward progress.”
Beyond apparel, Curry has engaged in several other efforts to encourage broader inclusion. For instance, the baller helped raise more than $3 million at a fundraising event for the Howard University golf program this month, two years removed from committing to six years of funding to the HBCU’s men’s and women’s golf teams. Also, the athlete donated funds to Ace Kids Golf, which is a golf program based in Oakland, Calif. The purpose of the donation was to help it expand its programming to include 75 additional area youth, which also serves as a nod to Lee Elder, the iconic golfer who became the first Black player to qualify, and play in the Masters in 1975.