By John Strege
Golfers won't be abandoning the polo shirt any time soon, but maybe a respite is in order. If so, Ryan Heiman has an answer.
Heiman, the pastor at Divinity Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minn., is an avid golfer who has set out to do his part to restore "the gentleman's look" to the game. Hence the hashtag on his company's Twitter page, #GolfLikeAGentleman.
Next month, his new company, Vesti Ascendi, will debut a line of shirts and ties made specifically for golf. The shirts, which resemble dress shirts, are made from Peruvian cotton with a blend of spandex included, to allow them to stretch in the course of swinging a golf club. The ties feature a loop that hooks to a button on the shirt, to prevent them from impeding the golf swing.
The idea arose from his frustration with finding comfortable dress shirts to wear to work, he said. "So I thought, 'I've got some ideas in my mind,' and I sketched some stuff and said, 'I think I've got a good idea here.'"
But rather than simply go the dress shirt route, he began pondering how it might work for golf. "I'm a product reviewer for Independent Golf Reviews, and I've been reviewing golf apparel and it gets difficult," he said, citing the plethora of polos and their tendency to look the same. Meanwhile, he had been looking at old golf photos and took note of how many of the players in them were dressed "kind of classy," he said.
"I thought, 'how cool would it be to back to that, only with comfortable, flexible modern fabrics?' I put them together and that's kind of how it started. Some people aren't going to like this. I understand that. But I still like that classy look, looking dressed up."
There is an additional benefit for those who do wear dress shirts and ties to work. If they have some down time during their day, they needn't change to hit golf balls.
Initially, Heiman will sell only the shirts and ties, as well as driver hats. He has not determined whether he will add plus-fours to the line. In the meantime, he is working on designing pants and, for women, skorts.
Incidentally, he does not intend to give up his day job, however the business works out.