We caught up with the Island Green ambassador about his involvement with the rapidly growing brand, the future of Senior Golf, and what clubs are in his bag.
Gary Wolstenholme will always be best known as England’s greatest ever amateur golfer, appearing a record 218 times for his country and famously beating Tiger Woods in the Walker Cup. Turning pro at the age of 47, Wolstenholme’s path has been less than conventional but he quickly adjusted to the professional game finishing runner-up in his first Senior Tour event and winning his second. We caught up with him at his home club of Carus Green to chat with him about his apparel sponsor Island Green, life as a Senior professional golfer, and the little-known golf ball he’s planning to put in play this season.
As a professional golfer what I wear is important. The old adage of look good, feel good, play good has a real element of truth to it. I’ve worn some very expensive clothing brands in the past, and I was lucky enough to play for England my whole amateur career so I’ve been a position where I’ve never really had to pay for golf gear. But the Island Green product is as good, if not better as the products that have cost a lot more. I don’t know how they do it, keeping the price points as low as they are. Me as a golfer, if I was having to buy my stuff, the last thing I would want to do is pay triple for a product that isn’t any better. We’ve got a product line that covers every eventuality, and I’m looking forward to wearing it through 2018.
We’re now known as the Staysure tour. The word senior is no longer part of the name. I think this is a really positive step forward. I think this will lead towards a rebranding of the European Tour going forward. From our perspective as a tour, we’re looking to get back to where we were in 2010 when I started. The first two events of the season, we’ll be in Sharjah in the Middle East and then Sri Lanka the following week. It’ll be good to get traveling again and those two events will have decent purses as well, they’re very mindful that if you have these big journeys to make then they have to make it as lucrative as possible. It’ll be interesting to see how those events develop, as there is huge potential in Asia. India is a huge potential market as is the rest of the Middle East. Last year we were looking at 14 events and going into this season we’re looking at 18-20 events so it’s really impressive progress on that front.
We play in a variety of climates each season so layering up becomes very important. Island Green has been very good, recognising what golfers need
to play in the most comfort while still looking fashionably smart. It’s very difficult to keep everybody’s taste catered for however, the key to me is they offer a wide variety that will appeal to a range of golfers. It’s been remarked on I’m one of the smarter dresses on tour and generally speaking we as a tour are conscious of looking our best, looking professional.
I’m highly aware of skin cancer issues in golf, having had four operations to remove them. I always play in a broad brim hat and long sleeves. It’s something everyone in golf needs to be more aware of, as we are out on the course for long periods of time with no shade. I’ve known people to get burnt through shirts. Nearly all of the Island Green range has UV protection.
If you wear a brand, there has to be a working relationship between you and them. I’ve started to have input on new collections to help the garments play well. Playability is so important, but so is making sure it washes well and doesn’t look tatty after a few wears. I like something that gives me room to swing in, but at the same time, I don’t want it to be too bulky. I mentioned that to the team, and the range has a slightly slimmer cut, but with extra four-way stretch. But these guys are experts, they know this industry inside out. I know when I get a shirt it’s going to fit me and I’m going to look smart and it’s amazing how many brands where that isn’t the case. Every collection has got better and better.
I mainly use Ping equipment. I think they make the best customised golf clubs. I’ve got short arms so I need longer than standard golf clubs that are very upright. Four degrees upright, an inch longer than standard, and they’re all heavy at D5. I’m using the Ping G400 irons at the moment and testing the G400 fairways and hybrids. Ping wedges are also probably going into the bag this season. There are some new drivers to test from Callaway and TaylorMade, while the G400 drivers are very straight. I’ve just pulled out an old putter from the cupboards, one of the old white TaylorMade spiders. And I’ve been testing the OnCore Elixr golf ball, I think it will help my particular game.
People want clothes that are versatile in different conditions. In this part of the world though it seems to rain all year round. In the old days people would see a Pringle jumper and think they’re a golfer. Golf gear is much more versatile now, what we wear doesn’t have to scream golf in the same way.