Why Yealimi Noh is so important to the golf style revolution

At just 21 years old, Yealimi Noh is still establishing herself as a professional golfer. And yet, in the blink of an eye, she gained a lot of credibility in an emerging space where golf and fashion intersect. That’s because West Coast golf brand Malbon Golf introduced her as its first official ambassador, part of the brand’s push into the women’s golf market.

While there are options like Nike and adidas for female golfers, the selection of streetwear-influenced apparel is decidedly leaner. Noh understands the potential her partnership with the LA brand has to reach new female golfers, as well as the broader power of fashion to change the game.

The question remains: who is the woman who went from relative unknown to the poster child for Malbon Golf’s foray into women’s apparel overnight? For starters, she was born and raised in the Bay Area and dropped out of college to go pro at just 17. Noh qualified for the LPGA Tour the following year in 2020, and is now heading into her fourth season on the tour, where she will wear the Malbon buckets logo for the first time.

Hypegolf sat down with the up-and-coming professional golfer to discuss why she partnered with Malbon, how she lives her life on and off the course, when she got into the sport, and much more.

Golf is becoming more fashionable and a lot more people are starting to worry about what they wear on the golf course now.

How did you get started in golf?

I was about 7-8 years old and my dad had just started playing, so he took me to the field. I think it’s rare to have started playing golf with both parents at the same time, but it’s been a good experience to improve, learn and have fun with each other.

Who were some of your role models in golf or sports growing up?

A role model I had growing up, like most golfers, would be Tiger Woods. His aura, work ethic, determination and many other aspects are qualities that any athlete would want to possess and replicate.

What made you want to be a professional golfer? And when did you know?

When I realized how much I loved playing in front of people and showing off my skills, that’s how I knew. The summer before I turned pro, I had to make the decision whether to stay in college golf or start my professional journey. This was a difficult decision, but a milestone in my life, and I believe it was the right decision for me.

What has been your favorite moment of your career so far?

My favorite moment in my career so far would have been my best major finish at my favorite event, the Evian Championships in France. Having the chance to play that course and just enjoy every minute of it, whether it’s the stressful moments, or simply enjoying the beauty of Lake Geneva and the (French) bread of course.

What does it mean to be the first Malbon Golf Ambassador?

It means a lot to me. I feel very honored and grateful that they chose me to represent their style and motto. Malbon has a unique vibe and I hope to portray that well on and off the golf course.

What attracts you to the brand?

Malbon’s casual, cool style is what really drew me to the brand. The way some pieces are oversized and comfortable, but still very trendy. I also like how the styles range from preppy to athletic and relaxed. I won’t have to stick to a style and I’ll be able to express myself more with Malbon.

How would you describe your personal style on the golf course and how does it compare or differ from your style off the course?

I would say my personal style on the golf course would be simple and chic. Which would be similar to my off-course style.

Are there other golfers, men or women, past or present, who you think dressed particularly well?

I would say that Paula Creamer had the best style as a golfer.

Do you think style and fashion have the potential to change golf?

Definitely, and I would say it has changed drastically already. Golf is becoming more fashionable and a lot more people are starting to worry about what they wear on the golf course now. And not exactly “traditional” style, I feel a big change has been that brands are starting to provide more clothing that would be considered “lifestyle” clothing. For example: hoodies, joggers and collarless shirts are now very acceptable on the course, when in the past they would not have been.

We’ve seen you wear the Air Max 90 G on some occasions and the Air Zoom Infinity on others. How do you decide which one to use on a given day? Will you be adding new models to your repertoire?

Ever since I first tried the Air Zoom Infinity, I’ve loved it. They’re the kind of golf shoe that doesn’t take a long time to put on, so it’s super convenient when you know a new pair of shoes will be comfortable to get into right away. It also has a sporty and clean look, so I find it easy to pair with any outfit. The Air Max 90s are also great, mainly because they come in more colors which are nice to combine with outfits. I’ll probably stick to these two styles for this year until I find something that’s equally comfortable and looks good.

Whether it’s the fashion, the competition or the people you connect with, golf has so much to offer and it’s time for women to be a bigger part of it.

What do you like to do when you’re not playing golf?

I enjoy spending quality time with friends and family. Since I have a very busy year-round schedule, I think it’s really important to take the time to connect with the people I care about. Doing normal things like just going out to dinner, watching movies, and shopping are things I really enjoy. As much as I love to travel and play golf around the world, taking a break from it all and relaxing is essential.

Do you think of yourself as a golfer first?

I like to think of myself as a person before a golfer. I feel like there’s a very fine line between the two and it can get blurry at times. Everyone is looking at the Yealimi golfer and I have my own expectations and goals as a professional golfer. However, it’s really important to me to always keep my mental health in check and remind myself that I’m more than just a golfer and luckily I’m lucky to have amazing people around me to help me keep up with that. I still believe I have areas to grow as a person and a golfer, but I’m going to enjoy the process and appreciate every second of it.

In your opinion, what is missing for women’s golf to continue growing?

I think it’s very important that golf develops a more welcoming image for girls so that women’s golf continues to grow. We need to show girls how fun and exciting golf can be. Whether it’s the fashion, the competition or the people you connect with, golf has so much to offer and it’s time for women to be a bigger part of it.

Leave a Comment