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G/Fore challenges norms in golf fashion, aims for “disruptive elegance”

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In a sea of sameness, clothing and accessory brand G/Fore provides a refreshing escape from the norm; owner and designer Mossimo Giannulli calls it “disruptive elegance.”

As the creator of G/Fore, Giannulli started by making leather gloves in nearly every color for golfers. Bored of all the white and black options that lined shelves in pro shops around the country, Giannulli sought to provide something different; a spark to otherwise drab golf outfits.

Related: G/Fore golf shoes were a “Show Stopper” at the 2017 PGA Show

Giannulli, a longtime fashion entrepreneur from California who is well known for the “Mossimo” brand, actually got his start in golf fashion when he sponsored David Duval in the late 90s. He’s the self-proclaimed creator of the mock turtle neck that Tiger Woods popularized (Giannulli had Duval in a navy mock turtle before the craze hit). In recent years, Giannulli has sought to bring the outside fashion world into the realm of golf through the G/Fore and the result is a fresh take on performance wear on the course.

ForePlayGFore

The other shoe says “Fore” on the sole.

With a different outlook on golf clothing, Giannulli is making waves in the industry with his slogans and designs, whether it’s teaming up with Peter Millar on a fashion-first performance shoe, or a limited-edition headcover featuring a G/Fore glove flipping “the bird.” G/Fore is changing the game whether you like it or not.

Below is our Q&A with Giannulli, who gives interview responses like he designs golf clothes; disruptively elegant.

WRX: Why did you start a golf fashion brand? Did you intend for G/Fore to be counter-culture?

MG: I had sold my namesake brand and wanted to stay active and creative. I love the game and its traditions but wanted to be part of the movement making it more relevant for today’s fashion environment. I knew that whatever path I was going down it had to be decidedly different as the golf world has enough “me too” brands. Given my history and design esthetic I figured we’d play on the edges.

WRX: What statement are golfers making when they wear a brightly colored G/Fore glove? How should they coordinate a colored glove with their outfit?

MG: This was never about a statement as much as a great fashion accessory for the game. I liken a colored glove to a pocket square. You can wear a very traditional suit and add just a touch of color; for me it’s the same thing. Some folks like to be all color and some tend to be very neutral with a burst of color just on the glove. We make so many great colors you can also be very subtle with color if you prefer.

There are no do’s and don’ts as it relates to color…. It’s just a glove have fun with it.

WRX: What do you say to golfers who complain about non-traditional golf apparel? Hoodies on the golf course, for example.

MG: I guess you’d have to define traditional golf to me. The game and apparel have changed dramatically over the years. Technical fabrics are non-traditional but absolutely necessary. Our goal is to fuse proper fashion with great technical fabrics while always adding a sense of whimsy.

WRX: Tom Watson and Bubba Watson are drastically different golfers and have very different fashion tastes. What makes them both right to be G/Fore endorsers?

MG: I just like the name Watson.

WRX: What are your favorite fashion brands? Do you have any fashion idols?

MG: Idols…. not so much. I’m a huge fan of many designers from fashion to architecture and everything in between.

WRX: How did G/Fore’s relationship with Peter Millar start?

MG: The CEO (Scott Mahoney) and I are friends, and we started a dialogue and figured it would be very cool. Although we are both in the same space, our DNA and design esthetics are so different it felt like a natural fit. It’s been great working with them and we are both excited to get this product to market.

See more photos from the G/Fore’s 2017 PGA Show booth.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Golfingbiker

    Feb 17, 2017 at 9:47 am

    “He’s the self-proclaimed creator of the mock turtle neck that Tiger Woods popularized”… right. And Al Gore invented the internet.

  2. Ts

    Feb 17, 2017 at 3:08 am

    Shankerama

  3. JThunder

    Feb 17, 2017 at 2:14 am

    This article feels as forced and disingenuous as the pairing of “rebelliousness” and “golf”.

  4. Steve

    Feb 16, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    I looked on their website, and I can’t be the only one that thinks most of their stuff looks pretty basic… Nothing really stands out to me like I expected after reading the article…

  5. Bert

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Guess their growing the game.

    Where’s your “Shank” tag?

  6. KK

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Giving this brand “the finger.”

  7. BunkieBill

    Feb 16, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Why was my comment ripped down? Saying that Arnold Palmer would be appalled by this product was against WRX law? Go stuff your “comment ripper” in a Canadian snow drift!!

  8. Philip

    Feb 16, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    So you block various words on posts but an image of giving the finger is classy for this site????

  9. Double Mocha Man

    Feb 16, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Colored golf gloves are not new. Most of the major brands supplied them about 20-25 years ago. Just wasn’t profitable… so many sizes, so many cadets, so many hands…

  10. RonaldRump

    Feb 16, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Everyone needs to relax, don’t buy it if you don’t like it…

  11. Tom

    Feb 16, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I think this would be a great gift for some of our wrx members.

  12. Paul Webber

    Feb 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

    That headcover is so douchy

    • Douche Expert

      Feb 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      I wholeheartedly agree. Get one like that and no one has to wonder about your character.

  13. birdie

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:11 am

    As I predicted….go to the g/fore website and look at the shirts. pretty classy. look good. but of course the author sticks a middle finger headcover as the main pic. journalism is spiraling the drain…..no longer about the story. its about clicks.

    • Douche Expert

      Feb 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      I wouldn’t support the brand simply because they produce such a head cover.

      • TR1PTIK

        Feb 16, 2017 at 12:59 pm

        It says in the introduction that the headcover was “limited-edition”. Not a big deal. I’d never buy one, but that’s just because it doesn’t fit my personal tastes.

  14. birdie

    Feb 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

    i’m wondering if the article picture is indicative of the actual line of fashion that g/fore represents or if its a lame attempt by the author to get more clicks. is this a rude and crude fashion line or simply an alternative style that many enjoy wearing. the shoes, although not my style, look to be just another type of fashion. the headcover looks over the top. i’m willing to bet its not representative of the entire line

  15. Robert Mitchell

    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:15 am

    while I don’t yet wear G/Fore stuff, I applaud the position they are taking. Golf needs more of this. Make it more fun and let the young be young and the old hipsters be themselves. Make it cool. G/Fore is just that.

    • Thunder Bear

      Feb 16, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Agreed. It’s time to get ride of the 30 year old saddle shoes, cargo shorts, and the cotton polo. I like the push to get golf to be a little more fashionable. Just means more options to choose from.

      • Frank Gifford

        Feb 16, 2017 at 9:23 am

        Double agree but I personally feel the middle finger head over is too much.

      • S Hitter

        Feb 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

        This middle finger thing is not fashion. And it’s not punk, if that’s what they believe. Their stuff is expensive and for no reason

      • The dude

        Feb 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm

        Ya more options…..except cargo shorts …saddle shoes and polo shirts…..such a crime

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Let’s Retire Old Man Par: A Modest Proposal

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In 1729, Jonathan Swift wrote a satirical essay entitled “A modest proposal,” in which he suggested that the Irish eat their own children. As might be expected, the piece drew a great deal of discussion and controversy. He was of course not serious, but simply attempting to make a point. As you will read this piece contains “A Modest Proposal” as well, but it is not intended to be satirical. I am for the record dead serious.

The golf industry is wringing its hands, trying to find a way to bring new players into the game, while at the same time keeping those that are in the game from leaving. They have initiated any number of programs designed for this purpose. How successful have they been? I would venture that they have barely moved the needle.

Barriers to the game

What we do know is that today there are three major barriers that confront the industry. They are first, the time required to play the game; second the costs associated with playing the game; and third the difficulty of the game.

There are among those adults that start the game, three distinct different groups:

  1. Those who would like to start playing golf but for any number of reasons decided not to take up the game.
  2. Those who once played more frequently but have reduced the number of rounds that they play.
  3. Those who started to play the game but then after a short period decided to leave it.

Those who leave the game

Those in the golf industry, the hand-wringers, have developed any number of programs to bring new players to the game. I would ask the question, “What is the point, when almost an equal number of players that start playing the game each year, decide to give it up within a span of a few months.

Does it make any sense to continue to put water into a bucket when there is a hole in the bottom? Of course not, but that is effectively what is being done. The first question to be ask, why do these new players quit the playing after a short time? In my opinion, the number No. 1 reason is the method of scoring being used.

Were an exit poll to be conducted asking these people why they quit playing, I seriously doubt they would answer truthfully. Who would want to admit that they were discouraged by their inability to succeed at any endeavor? The two answers that would be given the most often would be 1) that golf is too expensive to play; or 2) that they simply didn’t have time.  In this case both answers serve to preserve the individual’s dignity. And who could blame them?

The concept of par

Why did these individuals find the game difficult? The short answer is that while golf is a hard game to learn, there  is a more compelling reason.  I would venture, that the underlying reason they quit the game is that it ceased to be fun because of how they viewed their performance. And for one central reason… the concept of par. The idea that an amateur golfer, especially a beginner, should measure their level of success against an imaginary set of numbers that represents what an expert player would score on each hole is on the surface ridiculous.

You might imagine a beginning player scoring an eight on a par-four hole after hitting six good shots and then two putting for an eight. In the context of their ability, they should be ecstatic — but of course they are not (because as their playing partner reminds them) they were four-over par on that hole. The time has come for Old Man Par to retire. And retire permanently. He is killing the game.

Perceived failure

In another scenario, the beginning player scores sixty for nine holes, which is an excellent score given the short amount of time they might have spent playing the game. And yet their nine-hole score was 24-over par. How would that make you feel? Would you be encouraged or discouraged? You might imagine yourself back in school and regardless of the amount of work that you put into a given class you always receive an “F.” At some point, would you give up?

Why should every golfer be judged by the same standard when there is such inequality in their ability? The equivalent would be placing a high school freshman in a graduate-level college course, expecting that they could perform at the same level as the other graduate students. The disparity in knowledge, based on age and experience, is precisely the reason why there are different grades in school. The same disparity exists among golfers. In this case, the difference being the ability to perform on the golf course as opposed to the classroom.

What about the second group of players that now plays less than they did in the past? Could it be that they are no longer having fun playing the game?And then there is the third group, those that consider playing the game but abandon it for another sport. Could it be that they are intimidated by the scoring system, knowing that as a beginner par is an absolute impossibility?

Old man par 

The legendary Bobby Jones was the first to coin, perhaps with the help of his friend O.B. Keillor, the phrase “Old Man Par.” Jones was, of course, the greatest amateur to have ever played the game. He won the Grand Slam in 1930, retiring then at the age of 28.

The time has come to retire “Old Man Par” and devise a new system for measuring a golfer’s progress in the game. I know that those in the USGA. would reject the concept immediately for fear of, and here is a $10 word used primarily by attorneys, “bifurcate” the game. What that word essentially means in this context in having more than one standard. The USGA is responsible for preserving the nature of the game, but at the same time it should be equally concerned with preserving the future of the game.

Personal par

What I would suggest is a system based on the principle of what might be termed “personal par.” This was essentially the system that was used to groom a young Tiger Woods. As a young child, he was not capable of reaching the longer holes in regulation, making par a virtual impossibility. Consequently, his coach wisely devised a system in which par was adjusted upward based on his ability at a given point in time. This served to keep the young child feeling good about his performance and subsequent progress.

This is the type of system that needs to be devised for the health of the game. The system would begin at a nine-hole level using a par of thirty-six as a basis. The actual numbers are not as important as the basic concept. There would be within the nine-hole and the eighteen-hole groups five different levels as follows with assigned par for each hole and eighteen holes roughly equal with the player’s ability.

As players improved, they would graduate from one level to another based on their total score. The handicap system would work in similar fashion as it does now with a single modification. The strokes give from one player to another would depend on the level in which they fall and the par assigned to that level.

The personal par handicap system would not be as exacting as it is presently used, but it would be sufficient to allow players to be reasonable competitive without any significant sacrifice. There would then be two scoring systems then, allowing players to choose which one they wanted to use. Or a recommendation might be given that until they reach a given scoring threshold that they use the personal par scoring system.

There would, of course, be the usual concern with something new being injected into the system, but the proposed change would be no greater than when the system of equitable scoring was introduced or when courses were first assigned a course rating number.

A few years ago, when life-long teacher and educator Dr. Gary Wiren was inducted into the Golf Teacher’s Hall of Fame, he wanted to pass along a single piece of advice to those teachers in the room. “Gentleman,” he started and then paused for emphasis. “We must find a way to make the game more fun for our students.”

I’m in full agreement with Dr. Wiren. The question is, “What is the best way to accomplish that goal?” I believe that that the first step in that direction is to change the scoring system so that golfers experience more satisfaction and accomplishment. That is what makes learning fun.

And so, I would have you consider “The Modest Proposal” that I have put forward. And rather than attempting to find reasons why a revised scoring system couldn’t never work, for the benefit of the game, look for the same number of reason why it could work. The time has come for Old Man Par, as we know him, to retire. He has served us well, but he has become an anarchism. He is as obsolete as the horse and buggy. Let’s hand him his gold watch and let him enjoy his golden years in peace.

And at the same time, let’s welcome the “new kid on the block” who will pave the way for the next generation of golfers pioneering a scoring system that promises to make the game more “fun.”

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