Liquid Thinking

Golf Anybody

Why is golf being used to market drinks all of a sudden?

5th July 2023

Move aside hip hop. Stand down movie stars and Hollywood A-listers. Apparently the next culture and aspirational brand world being used to draw the trendy, the monied, and to an extent, the youth, to a drinks brand is golf. Yes, golf. Though the sport has a long history and a staunchly loyal fanbase, it’s not something that could ever be accused of being even remotely cool. So why are a number of brands now using the sport to market their brands?

Tweed trousers. Long socks. Car parks full of Jaguar F-Types and XEs. Polite clapping. Tucked in, overly crisp polo shirts, sexless slacks, and those annoying bright white visors. Whatever comes to mind when you think of golf, none of it is remotely cool. We’re sure it’s, like, a really fun game to play and everything. But cool? Nah. Never. Sorry.

And yet, here we find ourselves, watching a number of drinks brands use the world of golf to tap into youth culture. Yes, you read that right. Don’t believe us? Standby.

Heard of Casa Azul? The tequila soda RTD launched first in August 2022, but more recently in March 2023, it added Casa Azul Organic Tequila to the range. Now, it has just announced a partnership with US Women’s Open Champion, Michelle Wie West. If you’re not well versed in the sport – and if you are, we’re sorry – the Asian American pro has won five LPGA titles, including the 2014 US Women's Open. Recently retired from the sport, she’s joined with Casa Azul to “introduce Casa Azul to a wider audience”.

The very standard statement from founder Lance Collins, on the partnership said: "Michelle represents the best of golf today and her exceptional talent, dedication, and global influence perfectly aligns with our brand's values and vision for the future."

A cultural transformation

Next up, it’s funnily enough, another tequila brand. Golf is undergoing a cultural transformation” according to a press release from Tequila Avión. But in a slightly confusing switch-up, it has partnered with professional basketball player Nick Young and former football wide receiver Victor Cruz, on a golf-centric campaign. It has launched a Caddie's Caddy Kits, which includes golf course essentials “along with signature cocktails inspired by the famous golf enthusiasts”, featuring its Avión Reserva 44 Extra Añejo and Reserva Cristalino. Pitched at a millennial and above crowd, the packs are aimed at Father’s Day gifting.

However, the brand is still tapping into what it says is a new street-cred attached to golf, and is pushing to make itself a part of the game’s new traditions. To let the press release tell it: “Tequila Avión, an award-winning tequila that continues to redefine standards of quality and taste, is cementing its role within today's golf traditions with an elevated offering for golf lovers.”

Occupying new space

So, what the heck is it all about? Where is this new cool-factor, or street cred coming from? It’s notable that both brands have chosen partners that are far from the middle-class, or well-to-do older white male stereotype that for many years, the game has actively enforced. They’ll be those that deny it, but with exclusionary policies long in place across many of the most elite clubs, serving to gatekeep the game, it has traditionally and deliberately been the reserve of the few, not the many. It was only last year – LAST BLOODY YEAR – that championship course Muirfield allowed women to join its hitherto male-only Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Or to put it in a less stuck-up way, it only allowed women to join the club in 2022. Slow clap.

But according to that bastion of painfully cutting-edge coolness, Hypebeast, we’re all allowed to like golf now. It’s a shame that it’s mood board for its assertion that ‘Golf Excites a New Generation of Enthusiasts With Streetwear-Minded Fashion Brands’ is soooooo … how should we put this … sausage-heavy, but you know, one step at a time.

A Gen Z revolution

It espouses that: “The sport of golf is experiencing an evolution never seen before, especially amongst newer players and curious Gen Z enthusiasts. Names like Top Golf and Five Iron Golf have made the game more fun and accessible for casual players who want to play alongside friends and other beginners – think of arcade and bowling atmospheres but with golf.” Cool, cool. It points to a Netflix series, Full Swing, that shows Phoenix Open PGA Tour, a tournament unlike any other, for its “millennial fans, young players and non-stop party environment”.

And where the money, and anyone that’s just about pre their first grey hair goes, the streetwear brands cynically follow. Again quoting a slightly hopeful Hypebeast: “These newer, more exciting versions of how golf is played is where the sport is heading and its reputation is shifting with the times in terms of inclusivity, accessibility and even its fashion identity.”

New streetwear-minded golf wear brands are injecting both youth, and coolness, it says. Alongside this, the leaning-in of brands like Off-White and Louis Vuitton to golf wear-inspired garments has been notable. Both brands have been edging their way closer to hip-hop, urban cool, and frankly, black culture, for some years now. But this fusion of golf-inspired attire and streetwear is perhaps best encapsulated by Tyler the Creator. The rapper turned designer is known for his pretty fusion of streetwear and classic golfing garb with neat cardigans, pleated slacks, loafers and tank tops. He even has his own brand, Golf Le Fleur.

Radical exclusion

There is something radical about ethnically diverse youth tapping into this staid, buttoned-up world, and occupying spaces that they haven’t hitherto been frankly either welcomed into or able to access. It’s a bold statement that reminds us of Ciroc’s recent campaign for Ciroc Honey Melon which saw it reimagine that other bastion of WASP culture in the US, the Country Club. 

Sean "Diddy" Combs placed the brand within “the new breed of country club”. Walking through the grounds of a club, bottle in hand, he proclaims it’s a match with champagne, while dressed in “money green” and urging viewers “let’s keep dreaming bigger”. Here within lies a bigger statement about the generational wealth country clubs, and golf clubs for that matter, have been bastions of.

According to the campaign’s press release: “The limited-edition flavor will launch with the ‘No Reservations Needed’ campaign, featuring visuals that portray a reimagined country club experience explored through the lens of a diverse group of young adults that challenge the concept of class and exclusivity in a modern world where everyone is invited.”

Everyone is invited

It’s only in recent times, as some of the institutional barriers come down, and greater opportunity is afforded to more people, that many ethnic minorities are becoming able to build their generational wealth, and take up space in institutions that they were, and in some cases still are, actively kept from. Inhabiting them, and making them their own is the ultimate in aspirational lifestyle imagery as it demonstrates a massive power shift.

So is golf aspirational? Is it aspirational to a new, young, cool, energised, and trendy audience? Yes. But for much more complex reasons than it simply looks good. The emergence of partnerships between tequila-brands – not what come to mind when you think of the game – and ethnically diverse sports stars is a sign that things are changing.

Golf’s instantly recognisable visual-style is already being used by fashion brands as a statement on who does and doesn’t belong in an elite world. Expect this visual world to be something an increasing number of drinks brands will attempt to tap into.

Interested in finding out more about what this might mean for you and your business?

Please contact us at or 0207 101 3933