Our agenda was simple and fun. Check out Yale, eat pizza and play golf. When most people think of New Haven the most obvious and famous thing that comes to mind is that it’s the home of Yale University. This part of central Connecticut also has two wonderful connections to golf, the CB Macdonald and Seth Raynor designed Yale Golf Course and the most excellent Holderness & Bourne. True aficionados may also recognize it as the best pizza city in America. All of these things converged for me this summer as I walked the city with Alex Holderness and John Bourne to talk about their influences, how H&B came to be and how New Haven has played a part in shaping their lives.
Officially, Alex and John met at the Yale School of Business, but their friendship blossomed on the Yale Golf Course. That’s where they bonded over a shared appreciation of golf and an affinity for menswear. These two interests eventually led the the creation of Holderness & Bourne in 2015 with its menswear-influenced golf clothing collection. The concept of classic style with an attention to detail appeals to those of us who want to own better things.
We spent a sunny summer Connecticut day walking around New Haven paying visit to campus, to Mory’s with a stop at Frank Pepe’s along the way. After lunch we made our way to the Yale Golf Course to play 18. It was the first time John, Alex and myself been able to play golf together and it’s still remarkable to me how great the game is at forging friendships.
Over the past seven years Holderness & Bourne has quietly developed into a beloved brand for those who care about quality, fit and the importance of classic style. The collection is well structured and everything works together. This cohesiveness makes it easy to dess well on the course. The other unique factor I notice, as someone who loves classic clothing, is how well H&B incorporates menswear details into the line. The sturdy collar on the polo shirts looks good and differentiates H&B from other golf polos. Modeled after the traditional shirtmakers on Jermyn Street, the structure of the collar stands up when under a sweater or jacket and just looks better than floppy collars which you see everywhere.
The intersection of menswear and golf clothing is a welcome development for people who don’t want to deviate far from their traditional wardrobe. What H&B has created is a smart evolution of golf clothing — pushing it back into the zone of menswear while incorporating subtle performance when needed.
I’ve noticed that I play best when I’m relaxed. Often that is at a place where I put my shoes on in the parking lot, but it doesn’t mean I’m wearing “relaxed” clothing. I always want to try and remain true to my normal everyday appearance regardless of where I am and what I am doing.
The first time I met John and Alex it was clear we have a shared outlook on many things including golf and style. Their take on style puts the brand in the zone I find most appealing for golf apparel. I would describe it as unfussy but particular. To me, Holderness & Bourne is the perfect intersection of golf and style. It’s the brand I needed in my life. I’m glad everything came together in New Haven the way it did.