9 Black Entrepreneurs and Creatives Changing Golf

As a general rule, black culture has always driven streetwear, sports and lifestyle trends, from the rise of brand logos as status symbols in the 80s, to the growth of sneaker culture that emerged from basketball in the 90s. In golf, the culture’s early pioneers are Lee Elder, who broke the color barrier at The Masters in 1975, and Calvin Peete, who was the winningest black golfer on tour before Tiger Woods came along. When Tiger finally arrived on the scene, he brought golf to a whole new audience and inspired a whole generation of young golfers to follow him.

20 years after Tiger’s initial rise, a new wave in golf is being led by black innovators not through the PGA TOUR, but through creative content and ventures that show a more dynamic side of the sport. There is an appetite for fresh voices in golf who come from diverse backgrounds, bringing fresh perspectives. And they’re often much more relatable to people new to golf than tournament players because they understand the struggle of learning the game, not having a perfect swing, and balancing the sport with a job and a social life. He created this new community of golf personalities, using the power of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to leverage different segments.

With Black History Month on our minds, Hypegolf has rounded up nine important figures in golf fashion, footwear and lifestyle who are leading the sport into a new era.

Roger Steele

Roger Steele grew up in Chicago and was introduced to golf at an early age. But he stopped playing for a long time, and it wasn’t until he finished college that he found his passion for the sport again. Steele started his own media company and in 2020 posted a video on Instagram that went viral in which he proclaimed himself “one of the coolest people playing golf right now” and educated newcomers on the unspoken rules of golf.

Today he hosts the YouTube series Scope discussion with Callaway Golf where he profiles the likes of Steph Curry, Jon Rahm and Larry Fitzgerald, and also works with other brands such as Trap Golf, Five Iron Golf and Nike Golf. Steele’s game is not to be sniffed at either. He plays off a low single digit handicap and certainly has a nice golf look. He quickly became a key figure in the movement to bring more youth and diversity to the sport.

Jack Slade

A multi-faceted and true creative, Slade is an actor, rapper, and most recently gained notoriety as “YouTube’s King of Sneaker Unboxing.” He provides insight on new releases from Jordan, Nike, adidas and others, and has increasingly become a voice in golf with the growing influence of sneaker culture, talking about the potential for brands like Jordan to grow the game.

In the last year he started a new series called Voices with the PGA TOUR through their YouTube channel where he explores different perspectives on golf. In the latest episode he talks to Macklemore about the Bogey Boys and why he got into golf.

Tiger Hood

Originally a street photographer, Tiger Hood aka Patrick Barr is a local New York celebrity known for bringing his unique ‘golf’ style to the streets of Manhattan. He has appeared in various campaigns for new golf brands such as Malbon, Top Golf, Radda and others.

He cruises around town on a Brompton folding bike with a selection of his best photos and recently acquired a golf in the drawer, often seen around Greenwich Village where he’ll set up his cartons and milk cart. His legend has grown through cameos with New York Nico, and just in the past few months he’s been seen playing golf with an eclectic trio of Ed Sheeran, Benny Blanco and Eric Andre.

Gavin Parker

If you’ve watched his videos before, you might recognize the catchphrase “golf isn’t that hard.” Gavin is a PGA Certified Instructor who was recently named one of the Top Young Instructors in America by Golf Digest.

They are part of a wave of millennial educators who are more social media savvy than their predecessors and therefore better equipped to expand their reach to new eyes. It presents information in an entertaining, digestible and undoubtedly powerful way. The latter is what gets people’s attention at first, but the quality of the information is what keeps them coming back for more.

Snappy Gilmore

It all started for Eliezer Paul-Gindiri, aka Snappy Gilmore, in 2021 when he picked up a club for the first time, turned on his phone, pressed the puck, and then took a wild one-handed swing at a golf ball. Fast forward to today, and Snappy has over 2.2 million followers on TikTok and just 170,000 on IG.

A natural athlete who first started football, his windmill-like swing defies logic and displays an exceptional level of hand-eye coordination. His rapid rise is a testament to the appetite for new faces in the sport, and his technique has even received the stamp of approval from golf swing and biomechanics experts.

Troy Mullins

Troy Mullins first arrived on the scene in 2017 as a long distance athlete, having previously competed in track during her four years at Cornell University. Her record of 402 yards makes her the longest female golfer in America and the second longest in the world.

Along with her pageants, the Los Angeles native now appears in campaigns for adidas Golf and Tonal, and shares tips for gaining distance via Instagram in her spare time. Just in the last year, Mullins was brought in as a host for LIV Golf, the groundbreaking team-based golf championship where she conducts pre- and post-round interviews with competitors.

Olajuwon Ajanaku

Olajuwon Ajanaku is the founder of Eastside Golf and the man depicted in the recognizable swing chain logo. After graduating from Morehouse College, he turned pro and still has aspirations of touring alongside his role as creative director for the brand. Eastside made its first big splash when it teamed up with the Jumpman on the Jordan 4 Retro Golf, the first golf brand to do so, and has since embraced celebrities like DJ Khaled, Chris Paul and Patrick Mahomes.

Giving back to the community, the brand supports initiatives that support black golfers, expanding the field of play beyond fairways and wood-paneled locker rooms.

Marissa Hill

Marissa Hill is a content creator who covers and styles sneakers and apparel on her YouTube channel called ShadeTV. He reviewed Eastside Golf’s “Out of the Mud” and “Red Clay” collaborations with Jordan in November, and then was part of the Hulu documentaries Grails: When Sneakers Change the Game where he sits with Ajanaku and co-founder Earl Cooper.

Look for her to become a more influential voice as sneaker collaborations become more common in golf.

Andrew Haynes

Andrew Haynes is a New York-based creative director and one of the people behind Fairgame, a new social app for golfers. The main plan of the app is to connect users for 18 holes, allowing you to create an open round that anyone can participate in, and then providing a platform to record scores as you go.

Backed by Hodinkee’s Ben Clymer, Fairgame is modernizing golf and creatively connecting industry media. There’s also a Fairgame podcast co-hosted by Haynes and pro golfer Adam Scott, where they delve into conversations with the likes of Tisha Alyn, Nelly Korda and Metalwood Studio’s Cole Young.

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