The culture of golf meets the power of commerce: 5 Shopify merchants shaking up the sport

April 10, 2024

Nothing evokes the history of golf quite like the Masters Tournament ⛳ 👀. But thanks to some Shopify merchants, this tradition-bound sport is looking less and less traditional by the day.

Golf is getting younger and more diverse. Since 2018, the number of Asian, Black, and Hispanic golfers in the U.S. is up 43%, female participation is up 23% and junior participation is up 40%.

Many factors are leading to these changes, but there’s one we’re really excited about: through commerce, entrepreneurs are making golf feel more like a game for everyone.

Historically, shoppers looking for golf gear were limited to a handful of big, legacy brands whose products dominated the racks of the pro shops and off-course specialty stores where nearly all golf commerce happened. This was a major barrier to entry for merchants with different ideas of what golf can look like, and who it should be for. Now, a growing number of direct-to-consumer brands are shattering that mold.

Here are 5 of their stories.

Blackballed Golf co-founders Matt Daniels (left) and Jordan Griffin (right)

Blackballed Golf

  • Founded in 2021 by Jordan Griffin and Matt Daniels as a lifestyle brand to introduce diverse communities to golf and help them fall in love with the sport
  • Matt’s grandfather played golf in the Pro-Am circuit, but was prevented from earning his PGA card because of the color of his skin—this history fuels Matt’s commitment to their mission
  • Blackballed hosts events for the Boys & Girls Club to introduce underprivileged kids to the game, and makes sure their brand is affordable to those who traditionally couldn’t afford golf apparel

“Golf has a way of pushing people away who might not fit the traditional mold and can be seen as an elitist sport, but we’re trying to break down barriers, celebrate our differences, and create more representation on the course.” – Blackballed Golf co-founder Matt Daniels

Fore All

  • A women’s golf apparel brand seeking to revolutionize this category, founded by Michelle Money and Jen Clyde in March 2023. They started with 20 pieces and are up to 64, with revenue growing by 40% from February to March 2024
  • Fore All seeks to challenge stereotypes, empower women, and redefine golf by taking women’s golf apparel far beyond the traditional “shrink it and pink it” approach
  • Customers use their branded app, built using Shopify’s Mobile Buy SDK, 80% more often than their desktop store 

 “There is no way we would be where we are without Shopify. It's been able to handle our growth and guide us to improve the interface and shopability of our website, alongside being flexible as we grow different facets of our business with our B2B model.” – Fore All co-founder Jen Clyde

Malbon co-founders Stephen (left) and Erika Malbon (right)


  • Founded in 2017 by culture and golf enthusiasts Erika and Stephen Malbon with the goal to inspire more youth participation in the sport
  • Since launching their first retail store in Los Angeles, they’ve opened three more locations in NYC, Miami, and Carmel by the Sea, all powered by Shopify POS
  • Malbon created a digital country club in the metaverse that does NFT collection drops and club memberships that give members early and exclusive access to product drops, giveaways, and events

“Our mission is simple: to inspire today’s youth to participate in the greatest game on Earth.” – Malbon’s Our Story page

Eastside Golf co-founders Earl Cooper (left) and Olajuwon Ajanaku (right)

Eastside Golf

  • Co-founders Olajuwon Ajanaku and Earl Cooper met on the Morehouse College golf team and built Eastside Golf together in 2019
  • The company’s logo depicts Olajuwon mid-backswing on a golf course in jeans, a hoodie, and a gold chain. The idea is to show that you can be your authentic self on the course, who matter who you are or where you come from
  • Eastside Golf has seen 600% growth in their sales year-over-year in both of the last two years

“We want to diversify golf and make it a game for everyone. We’re using fashion to change the cultural conversation and perception of the game for generations to come, and bring it to a place where we wanted to see it when we were younger, to let everyone know that you can be a part of this game in a way that is authentic to you.” – Eastside Golf co-founder Olajuwon Ajanaku

Bad Birdie

  • Founded in 2017 by Jason Richardson, whose goal was to appeal to a younger generation of golfers with colorful printed polos. Despite not having any background in retail, Jason googled “How do I make a golf polo?” and started creating shirts in his LA apartment
  • Jason appeared on Shark Tank in 2020, and Bad Birdie has since grown from a one-person operation to a team of 50 in Scottsdale, Arizona
  • After signing four-time PGA Tour champion, Si Woo Kim, Bad Birdie saw a 1,100%+ increase in polos that he has been seen wearing.

“We’re proud of our impact on the sport and the new generation we see on the course. As we grow, we want to keep the energy of those early days and develop new disruptive apparel that moves golf forward into a more innovative and inclusive space.” – Bad Birdie’s About Us page

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