Eastside Golf and Jordan Brand team up for first golf sneaker collaboration
Golf is a sport that can be played at any age. Golf is a sport that you can play regardless of your ethnicity. But golf has never been a game for street kids filled with young people. Eastside Golf is here to change all that. With their very first collaboration, Eastside Golf teamed up with the Jordan brand, creating Air Jordan Retro IV sneakers with studded soles for peak golf performance. From Friday July 23, 2021, there will be a raffle to access purchases on August 7.
Eastside Golf is a lifestyle clothing brand that connects youth and street culture with golf traditions. The traditional aesthetic of golf is combined with the eclecticism that emanates from founders Olajuwon Ajanaku and Earl Cooper. These two Morehouse College alumni have established their presence in the golf community as the PGA’s Top Teacher to Cooper and Ajanaku as the PGA Minority Champion.
Ajanaku started playing golf at the age of six in his hometown of Eastside Atlanta. He will eventually get a scholarship to Morehouse College. Cooper would start carting at the local country club in his hometown of Delaware. The two golf enthusiasts met and bonded at the university around a true love for golf. But, it’s unlikely that they thought they could make a career out of it and advance beyond their Alma mater’s court.
Ajanaku originally founded the brand while living in Detroit. Ajanaku says, âI grew up in golf – middle school and high school. I ended up getting a scholarship to Morehouse College, and that’s how I found Earl. In college, we won the national championship in 2010. [Weâre] used to winning together. The duo would establish the network they needed for each other at such times.
Ajanaku can remember his early professional career, “after college [Earl] made his way to professional PGA [teaching]. But, I became a golf pro after college. I did this for two years. I won a few mini-tours so I have a few pro victories under my belt. But, it got to the point that I couldn’t afford to play golf anymore. It’s an expensive sport, and when it comes to professional golf, you need around $ 100,000 to $ 150,000 to maintain [your career]. “
Ajanaku became frustrated with the mundane tasks of office work. He says: âI followed my professional path – my specialty was accounting. I worked in commercial finance for about nine years. I was about to become vice president of a financial company in San Diego. It got to a point [where] i came home [one day] and was just like, ‘that’s not it.’ I wanted to play golf. I knew I wouldn’t find any sponsors, it was going to be tough.
Keeping his spirits up, Ajanaku immersed himself in his passion and leaned into himself. âI just created a logo. The logo you see, jeans, sweatshirt and [gold] chain, it was supposed to be just me. I put it on my polo shirt and my bag. I showed it to Earl and he said, ‘put this on a t-shirt,’ “Ajanaku recalls.
“I found a Gildan [tee]ironed [the logo] on, and it probably cost me $ 20. I have been to downtown Detroit and have possibly been arrested 50 times. Same questions; ‘Who are you?’; “What is this logo?” “; “Do you play golf?” “; and “Where can I get it?” Â»I ended up creating a clothing brand of sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats and socks, finding the highest quality [material] for each room. I created the company in June 2019. â
Ajanaku would manifest the necessary resources to finance a career as a professional golfer and simultaneously begin his entrepreneurial journey. He remembers âselling clothes in November 2019 and [it] sold five times between November 2019 and February 2020. I called Earl and asked him to go to [with me] the PGA [trade] show and see what the rest of the [golf] the world is talking about it. I started the brand because I wanted to afford a way to practice this sport.
Collaboration with the Jordan brand on an Air Jordan Retro IV would solidify Eastside Golf’s name in the golf world, as well as its entry into the sneaker game. âOur brand means something. This means that Jordan [Brand] truly believes in golf. Same [speaking] with Michael Jordan, and him believing in Eastside [Golf]. This is very important and it shows that we are on the right track. This golf course can’t wait to get a new take on what it is supposed to look like and what it will look like in the future. There is a lead for that.
The Eastside Golf x Air Jordan Retro IV golf shoes are available in the Eastside Golf colourway in Navy and Gold. The tongue bears the player’s logo designed by Ajanaku, sewn and embroidered. The shoe’s classic cement details have navy blue specs that complement the Eastside logo and a white upper. On the sole of the shoe is Ajanaku’s personalized “Be You” artwork.
As all traditional aspects of golf subsist, the energy and vibrancy of the sport is attracting a younger audience, swapping beige polo shirts and khakis for hoodies and denim, and white golf cleats for fresh J’s, literally. âOver the years, golf was meant to look a certain way. We come with a whole different [swag]. We keep the same [street] style, and they have to accept it. It shows the culture, and it shows that [now] we have a shoe, this [is] part of the culture that people should enjoy in this game. These things go into what makes Eastside Golf. And important to all blacks and people of color. Use it as a tool! “
Ajanaku created these works of art which are staples of the Eastside Golf brand promoting the black presence in golf. âWith this design and with Eastside Golf, I hope to show future generations the value of being your true, authentic self,â says Ajanaku. He continues, “The Eastside golfer logo and ‘Be You’ artwork is a representation of who I am and how I feel as a black man on the golf course.”
The launch of the Eastside Golf Air Jordan IV shoes with a raffle starting Friday, July 23. The only place you will be able to participate in the raffle will be through the Eastside Golf website. The raffle winners will have the chance to purchase the shoes on August 7th. Eastside Golf also offers a clothing capsule that features crewnecks and polo shirts launched alongside the Air Jordan Retro IV shoe.