Why Niall Horan is behind the youthquake happening in U.K. golf
In the era of prodigious purses and savvy strategic thinking, pro golfers are making it their business to be in business outside of their sport, while show-biz stalwarts and superstar athletes like Steph Curry, Peyton Manning and Andy Roddick are discovering that the smart money is in golf itself. In our Golf & Business package (which you can also find in the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of GOLF Magazine), we’ll go inside their wallets.
Part 1: Why Abraham Ancer and Mark Wahlberg teamed up in the tequila business
Part 2: Bubba Watson the businessman is a lot like Bubba the golfer
Part 3: How ascendant attire brand Johnnie-O made a splash on the golf course
Part 4: Why Peyton Manning is making cold calls about this 9-hole golf course
Part 5: Jason Kokrak’s passion is collecting. The payoff is a houseful of liquid gold
Part 6: On the course, Stephen Curry is scoring just about everywhere
Part 7: Meet Sportsbox AI, a swing app with potentially revolutionary swagger
Part 8: 6 PGA Tour-player-backed restaurants serving up dynamite eats
Niall Horan, of One Direction fame, is easily the most, well, idolized caddie in Augusta National history. He looped for Rory McIlroy during the 2015 Masters Par 3 Contest, a globe-trotting star lugging a Tour bag around the short course at ANGC.
The move may have surprised his fans, and most likely the UK tabloids, but those closest to Horan knew his love of the game ran remarkably deep. So, later that year, as his 1D mates began pursuing individual careers, it was only a little surprising that Horan’s inaugural solo splash was to launch a golf management company.
Five years later, its self-effacing name — Modest! Golf — belies how flourishing the business is. Horan’s management group now claims 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Tyrrell Hatton, two-time European Tour winner Guido Migliozzi and 2021 Solheim Cup standout Leona Maguire as clients, with a dozen more talents among the ranks. The company’s mission? Inclusivity and opportunity.
“When I started, my intention, always, was to do my bit to get more young people into the game and to support the younger generation of professional golfers,” Horan said last year.
Consider that mission accomplished. A third of the players represented by Modest! are women. It also represents Brendan Lawlor, one of the top-ranked disabled golfers in the world. Key stakeholders have taken note of the agency’s ability to deliver on its promise of inclusivity. The R&A recently commissioned Horan’s group to design grassroots programs targeted at young people. England Golf has worked with them to establish the English Under 18 Championship, a junior event that places boys and girls in the same competition, vying for the same trophy.
“I’m particularly excited to try and get more young girls into the game,” Horan said of his goals for the brand. “I feel this is a huge opportunity to grow numbers in the sport.”