Nice Kicks got to chat with Ankur Amin, CEO of Extra Butter about the adidas x Happy Gilmore Collection for the 25th anniversary of the cult classic comedy. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
NK: What does the movie mean to you? How’s your temper on the golf course?
AA: Happy Gilmore is iconic. It’s my favorite Sandler movie. It’s infinitely rewatchable and quotable. It’s a silly comedy on the surface but there’s a lot of depth beneath it, I hate to call it a golf movie. To me, it’s more like an anti-golf movie made by people who love golf.
Do I have a temper on the course? Absolutely not. It takes a lot for me to lose it and not much in golf can make me do that.
NK: How did the collection come together? Who approached who?
AA: I have been talking about doing something around golf for 3-4 years. I love the game and want to see it grow. I took up the game so late in life and I would have benefitted so much had I picked it up at a younger age. The game builds character and opens doors in the professional world, but access to the sport was difficult for us back in the day. There were financial barriers and then there were stigmas around the game being too stuffy and for old people. But things are different now, golf is becoming more diverse and it’s represented by people of varied age, economic backgrounds, and ethnicities. Even “the culture” is picking up the game and trying to bring its own style and flair to the game. We at Extra Butter love that and want to be a part of this conversation.
The initial idea was to do a golf-inspired lifestyle sneaker back in 2019. We had a relationship with NBC Universal and knew that Happy Gilmore’s 25th anniversary was coming up in a couple of years. We first discussed this idea with adidas informally in the Summer of 2019. We were all focused on the Cableknit collab at the time so talks didn’t advance too much at that time. But once we had time to dive deeper into the film and this project, it became apparent that there were richer deeper stories here and a bigger opportunity to story tell around performance golf apparel and footwear.
NK: When I came up with these questions initially, the commercial spots you guys did for this collaboration with Christopher McDonald, PK, Tanya, and Roger didn’t drop yet. Do you have any stories about the production of it and how it came together?
AA: I’ve got tons of stories. In some ways, this collaboration was meant to be because a lot of things came together perfectly while things were in motion. Happy Gilmore is a vastly underrated film. So many people have connections to this film, and no one really puts it on their top list of anything. When we started, we thought of it as a lifestyle sneaker play but when we dove deeper, we found there were more underlying themes that were richer and more important for golf. So we started building towards it.
As for adidas, once we started thinking of on-course footwear they put us in touch with the adidas golf business unit to select the model and get marketing support. The product design was still a collaboration between our team and the amazing consortium team in Germany. Once the design process was complete, the workaround marketing was done with adidas golf. The adidas golf marketing team absolutely fell in love with this project. Brandon Carr, Senior Brand Manager at adi golf in particular loved the direction and supported us from top to bottom. He shared that golf products rarely get this level of storytelling and that’s what excited him.
Matt Myers, Senior Director at adi golf also loves stories around product and design. But in the golf world, that doesn’t happen a whole lot. Seeing their enthusiasm around this project gave us a lot of confidence to push the limits. The creative came from our Creative Director Bernie Gross and Brand Manager Louis Colon but adidas was able to elevate everything with their relationships and resources. For the shoot, adidas golf set us up at the Fairmont Grand in San Diego. Shawn Cox, Director of Golf at the Fairmont was incredibly hospitable and locked down a couple of holes for the day to get the shoot done. It’s a beautiful place, as you can see in those clips, and we were on the course with our 20 person film crew doing whatever we wanted. Even members stopped to check out the scene and supported the initiative. We just had such a ball there.
NK: That seems like a dream to just hang out with Christopher for like the whole day and just kind of just shoot the shit with him.
AA: We wanted Christopher McDonald to be a part of this project since day one. The intro was made by Brandon Carr. Chris wasn’t all that interested at first. “Sneakers?” he thought. Then we started talking about the whole vision with Bernie Gross pitching the concept. Bernie is so passionate about everything he does that his passion is infectious. So Christopher McDonald after hearing Bernie’s pitch started getting more and more interested and eventually went, yeah, I want to do this. He thought it was a great way to bring this iconic character back that’s still constantly referenced in golf culture. Chris has a magnetic personality and he is such an awesome person to work with. He gets approached so many times on the streets and restaurants and he’s cool with everyone. He even gets into character and throws a signature Shooter one-liner their way. I mean, Shooter is Shooter, I think the movie is more about Shooter than Happy.
NK: He’s the greatest sports villain in a lot of people’s opinion.
AA: Totally agree. I think he’s the best. He has so many memorable lines in the film. He’s the absolute golf douchebag and he owns the role in the film. So we were all juiced to have his co-sign.
NK: It’s Happy’s movie, but if it wasn’t for Shooter, Happy Gilmore doesn’t happen.
AA: Exactly. So that was great. He fell in love with the concept and loved working with our team. PK, Roger Steele, Tania Tare, and Christopher McDonald had great chemistry and the energy was amazing around the set. I mean guys like Xander (Schauffele) were involved and interested, Daniel Berger was interested, Joaquín Niemann was interested. I believe Joaquin Niemann and D.J. are gonna actually be wearing the Chubb ZG21 this weekend.
NK: That’s one of my follow-up questions. I was wondering how many adidas athletes like D.J. (Dustin Johnson) or Colin Morikawa were going to be wearing them.
AA: A lot of them have posted on social media already because I think they all have that connection with Happy Gilmore. They like the storytelling that we put out there, and they like the products that we’ve made. Our team is going to the Travelers Championship this weekend as a way to celebrate this drop on Saturday. From what I hear, D.J. and Joaquin are going to be on course and hopefully, they’re wearing the shoes. That would be amazing.
NK: It makes sense to bring P.K. Subban on, how did that come to be because he seems like the perfect cast.
AA: As I said, a lot of things on this project just fell into place. At first, it was going to be Xander but there were scheduling conflicts. P.K. is an adidas athlete and when he heard about this, he wanted in because he’s an absolute fan of Happy Gilmore. And the first thing he said was that “I’ve seen this film 75 to 100 times. I know every line in this film, I want to be a part of this.” He was a perfect fit. As Happy says in the film, “I’m a hockey player but I’m playing golf today.”
NK: Happy Gilmore has so many unique characters. Happy himself, Grandma, Happy’s caddies, Mr.Larson, the list goes on; why Shooter and Chubbs?
AA: The collection is centered on 3 different characters. Chubbs, Shooter, and Happy. We chose those as they embody the past, present, and future of golf. Each character also has different entry points and perspectives in golf and style.
Chubbs is the OG golf lifer. He’s a teacher, loves the game and respects tradition. So we did an on-course collection for him and used retro design elements like the kiltie and brogue on the shoes, and argyle and pastels to evoke Arnie’s style in the ’60s. And of course, there are wood and alligator details on everything to fully tell his story.
Shooter is the quintessential golf douchebag. He comes from privilege and wants to keep golf exclusive and unapproachable for people different from him. His collection is somewhat lux with a modern style. There’s a gold-colored bomber jacket and an Ultra Boost with gold flecking. He has his own shooter logo and a bunch of hidden detailing in his collection.
Happy is the next-gen golfer; aggressive athletic mentality with a DGAF attitude. His fashion choices are about comfort and repping his lifestyle. His collection is cozy, super comfortable sweatpants, tee shirts, slides to lounge in, and a cooler for those days on the muni – or the couch.
NK: Sneaker culture has roots mostly set in basketball and skateboarding. Does golf have a place in the greater sneaker culture?
AA: Golf most certainly has a place in sneaker culture. The sport can use some freshness and levity. It’ll take time to catch up to other mainstream sports but it’ll happen. The game is aspirational and signifies success. Ballers are flexing their swings on Instagram in the off-season and even rappers are taking up the game. Also, Men’s and Women’s professional tours are being dominated by young players who are active on social media, so golf is only going to be a bigger part of the conversation in the culture.
NK: Got to sink a 9-foot putt to win the Gold Jacket. Describe your happy place.
AA: Gosh. I haven’t thought about that. It’s nothing like Happy’s, I can tell you that. Although, Julie Bowen in lingerie, Gene Simmons, and Chubbs on the piano singing “It’s Only Just Begun” is not a bad happy place. My happy place is probably at Augusta National or maybe watching a film at Extra Butter.
The adidas x Extra Butter x Happy Gilmore Collection will be available at Extra Butter in-store in Lower East Side and Long Island City, online at extrabutterny.com, and the Extra Butter app on June 25th.