Rebranding tradition: meet the trio giving golf a new look
11 Oct 2019
Perceptions of golf have stayed stagnant for centuries: stuck up, expensive and definitely not cool. Yet three guys are ready to tackle the sport’s elitism with a fresh new look and burgeoning community. Jojo Regan (26), Luke Davies (25) and Nick Watts (22) are the founders of Manors Golf; the streetwear-inspired golf brand.
In the age of instant gratification, one of the problems with golf is patience; games last hours, courses require the space in far-flung suburbs and application processes are drawn out: “It’s quite difficult to commit to five hours, drive out of town and go play a game,” explains Jojo. Setting out to change this, the Manors founders want to rebrand golf for the urban millennial by eventually opening their own inner-city clubhouses.
Starting the mission with their collections, Manors always believed kits were too focussed on performance over style. Yet Jojo believes they’ve got the balance right: “we make sure everything’s engineered for the game. For example, you need to lean down a lot in golf so we made sure the trousers have that flex but still look good.” The pieces are also versatile, can easily switch from day to night, and definitely wouldn’t look out of place in the pub.
All Manors Golf clothes are designed, sourced and manufactured in England with a look that skews towards streetwear: “Fundamentally it’s about the cut, fabrics and comfort,” explains Jojo. Featuring classic turtlenecks, caps, polo shirts and cardigans, the palette is fresh in coral pink and powder blue - classic magpie colours for millennials. Everything is premium, well-considered and organic cotton takes priority.
Rebranding an age-old sport meant defying stereotypes. The Manors team approached this problem by commissioning Vicky Grout, one of London’s leading grime photographers, who brought an urban edge to the content. Far from the images of trundling middle-aged white men, Manors models are young and diverse in both ethnicity and gender. As for the second collection, Manors understood the importance of paying homage to Scotland and celebrating its heritage as the place where the sport first began. Baggy corduroy trousers were sourced from one of the UK’s oldest manufacturers and included bright flashes of tartan, naturally.
For the launch, Manors opened a pop-up that attracted a crowd of 150: “this was the first time people were able to come in and touch our products,” said Jojo. Now they have a few pop-ups under their belt, Jojo recognises that these physical spaces have proved extremely useful to spread the word, learn more about the Manors community and show off the quality of their pieces. Following the events, Manors saw a big spike in social following, boosted by their carefully created feed: “Everything is premium, from our Instagram to our website. When you see something Manors you know it’s going to be cool, quality and aspirational.”
In September, the brand signed its first player sponsorship deal with Adem Wahbi, who currently ranks fifth in the World Disabled Rankings. When Manors goes on to open their clubhouses, Jojo believes implementing what they’ve learnt from their growing community via these pop-ups will be crucial to their success: “Wearing the Manors crest means being a part of something. If people can align with that then we’re doing our job right.”