What do you think of when you think of "golf clothes"?
If you're anything like me, it's a combination of Ted Knight's old-man country-club lewks from Caddyshack and a jaunty Scottish cap out of the old Disney cartoon Donald's Golf Game. With apologies to the toned birdie hunter-killer fits of Nike pros like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie, golf clothing has never been cool.
Chris Bailey and Maxton Reinland want to change that—and in the process help open up the game of golf to a new generation of fans and players. They are the founders of the newly opened Portland Golf Collective, a self-described "fun factory" dedicated to the cooler side of golf.
"We grew up on a public course," Reinland says, "so not a country-club background. It's supposed to be a brand for people who are more casual about the sport and playing at city courses."
Reinland grew up in Walla Walla, Wash., as a municipal course kid, going on to play college golf for Washington State University and working as a golf pro. He and his mother, Marti, own a business together called Reinland Golf Co., which produces a line of handmade golf equipment and apparel. He and his brother, Drew (a golf coach at Lewis & Clark College), also run an apparel brand together called Muni Kids, which has found a following at the cutting edge of the nascent golf streetwear scene.
Being anti-country club is at the core of Muni Kids, and it's expressed in the brand's product line: baggy hoodies and graphic tees with phrases like "BOGEYS SUCK" that look as if they might draw a complaint at the 19th Hole Lounge.
Bailey, originally from the U.K., is a 20-year apparel and graphic design veteran. His career includes previous stints at brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Nike, where he served as senior men's apparel designer—indeed, the outfits Woods wore as he won the recent 2019 Masters tournament were Bailey's handiwork. Today, he manages Origin Golf Club, a golf lifestyle retail brand specializing in golf's newest and coolest indie brands, with a pronounced streetwear influence.
Together, the duo have teamed up to launch the collective, which occupies a sprawling second-floor loft in the Southeast Industrial District. Inside the vast space, the tableau includes racks of select vintage sportswear curated by Laundry PDX; more racks of new and original designs by Muni Kids, Origin Golf and several of the other brands Origin represents; a full-sized golf simulator and pull-down projection screen for showing tournaments (or playing Xbox); plus decades of golf collectibles and ephemera.
"I'm hoping the shop evolves into a space to show things that are amazing and take time," says Bailey. "It gets to become a spot to do the coolest of the cool stuff. We want to be the first golf sneaker store where people come get drops at midnight."
Turns out you don't have to wear your worst ankle-cut duffer's knickers and collared golf sweater to play a round. But in an industry in which municipal courses are closing, retail shelves go dusty, and the average golfer's age creeps higher and higher, something like Portland Golf Collective might not just be cool—it could very well be the future of the sport.
"We get these golf fans who follow us strictly from the golf scene, and we're opening their eyes to a whole new world while the pro shop scene is dying," says Reinland. "But we're also about showing people who aren't already into the game that golf doesn't have to be this dweeby old sport. You can wear clothes just like you're wearing, and you don't have to be from a traditional golf background to love the game. That's how you spread it."
SHOP: Portland Golf Collective, 425 SE 3rd Ave., Suite 214, 971-400-7533. 11 am-7 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am-1 pm Saturday.