Monday, September 26, 2022

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    Keith Mitchell Is Bringing Old-School Golf Style Back

    It turns out that they might not need all that spandex-kissed poly-cotton. When Mitchell dropped by Sid’s Atlanta shop for a fitting, he made sure to put them through a golfer’s paces. “I was squatting up and down, reading putts, taking swings, doing all these crazy athletic things in these pants,” he says. “I was like, ‘If I can’t do this in here, I’m definitely not going to be able to do it out there.’” The goods made the cut, and Mitchell wound up with a small wardrobe of pants, polos, sweaters, and one alligator belt. (Mini-empire of stores notwithstanding, Mashburn is not Nike. This is a different sort of sponsorship: Mitchell purchased his own gear, albeit at a discount.)

    There was a brief conversation about where to put the logos of Mitchell’s sponsors—the Sid team would have preferred none, for the look, while Mitchell, who derives a chunk of his income from them, explained that they’d be staying—and another about hems. “Their style might be a little shorter than mine, but I was like, ‘As long as the pants touch my shoes, I’m okay,’” Mitchell says. Footwear was easy: “He’s got a deal with FootJoy shoes,” Mashburn says, “which to us is cool because that’s a little bit of a throwback golf brand, as well.”

    The golf season picked back up in January with a swing through the sunny climes of Hawaii and southern California. Mitchell’s new pants—which, again, can be your pants, if you’d like—are designed to hold up in all sorts of weather. They’re made from the brand’s plain weave, Mashburn explains. “The yarns are fat, so it breathes naturally. In a weird way, it’s a natural performance fabric—because it’s like it just came off the dadgum sheep, you know? I mean, it really is made for this, without having performance properties.”

    And while they might perform just as well as a pair of stretch-fabric, moisture-wicking technical marvels, Mitchell’s Mashburn pants catch looks on the course. “The first thing everybody says is ‘old school.’ Then they look and they see the pants with no belt loop, and then they see the pleats, and then they see the cuffs, and then their heads start spinning because I got all three. Because everybody now is wearing five-pocket, no pleat, belt loop, no cuff. That’s just across the board. And I’ve gone completely the other way.” The irony that Mitchell stands out for wearing what are, by design, attention-deflecting clothes is not lost on his designer pal. “[He] doesn’t look like anybody on the Tour right now,” Mashburn says. “In a weird way, it’s almost like normcore for golf.”

    Mitchell’s hoping for some linen looks as spring gives way to the heat of summer, while the Mashburn team is eager to ease him—slowly, they promise—into colors and prints. He’s gotten off to a slowish start in 2021, but he’s hopeful that he’ll start playing a little more like the guy who inspired his makeover. “I would like to play more like an Arnold Palmer,” Mitchell says with a laugh. “I haven’t necessarily done that yet, but that would be pretty cool.”

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