At SWET Tailor, we take great pride in dressing the ambitious, style-driven men who inspire us. So when PGA athlete and golf style icon Erik Flores told us he liked our pants, we jumped at the opportunity to collaborate.
Not only did he give our CEO Adam Bolden a thorough rundown of the evolution of golf style, but he also agreed to fill us in on what’s on the horizon for his career.
In this exclusive interview, Erik reveals how he became a professional golfer, how he balances the demands of being an athlete, husband, and hobby guitarist, and his top restaurant recommendation for the next time you’re in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Get to know all things Erik Flores right here:
First things first, we’d love to get a little background about you. How did you get into playing professional golf?
I grew up in Grass Valley in Northern California. I specifically remember being in the car with my dad when I was five years old and telling him that I was going to be a professional athlete. I was a pretty confident kid!
My dad suggested I try golf, because he enjoyed the game. We played at a semi-public course with a dirt range near where we lived (definitely not your typical snooty country club). As soon as he introduced me to the sport, I fell in love.
Initially, I only played golf seasonally. I would play pretty much whatever sport was in season back then – basketball, baseball, cross country, soccer, etc. Then, when I was 12, I qualified for the Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego and placed second in my age group. That’s when I began to take golf more seriously.
When I went to high school, I dropped the other sports and focused on getting a golf scholarship. That led to a college career at UCLA and playing professionally.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
There are two moments that really stand out:
Winning the NCCA Championship in 2008 with my UCLA team was extra rewarding, because we won as a team. Golf is typically an individual sport, so it was really fun to accomplish what we set out to do as a team. We worked really hard for it.
The other highlight was playing in the Veritex Bank Championship this year on the PGA Korn Ferry Tour. I hadn’t played in a PGA Tour event in seven years, because I was working through an injury and some other personal projects. My dad had been battling cancer during that time, and right before the Veritex, he was announced to be in remission. My mom and dad were both there to watch me do something I wasn’t sure I’d ever do again after all that time away from the game. I made the cut but didn’t have a great weekend finish, but it didn’t even matter. The whole event was very special to me; I had a lot to be thankful for.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Two things come to mind: music and food.
I started playing guitar when I was in junior high, and I almost always travel with a guitar when I’m on tour. I can usually find a few guys to jam with. I play at church and in a duo called the New Natives. We perform at outdoor events, bars, and breweries around Charlotte, North Carolina (where I live). I find it to be a great way to engage the other side of my brain and create an atmosphere with others.
My other passion is cooking and, of course, eating. In the seven years I took off touring, I got involved with a local restaurant group. We opened a new spot called Vana (which translates to “wooded area” in Sanskrit) and was recently featured in Forbes. It’s a rustic wood fire-driven restaurant in the South End area of Charlotte. The chef owner, Mike Noll, and managing partner, Jayson Whiteside have done an amazing job bringing the vision to life. I’m only a small partner, but it’s been really cool to be a part of hosting people, seeing how they react to good food, and sharing a good time with family and friends – what food is all about to me.
You’re on tour a lot. How do you balance a personal life with all the travel demands of being an athlete?
The key is to be intentional. In the time I’ve been getting back into full time golf, my wife has been in nursing school (no easy task!). We’ve spent the past two years going after our own goals in our own ways, and we support each other doing that. We’re patient with each other and look at it as a team effort. I try not to be gone for more than two weeks at a time, because it’s so important to recharge together.
As for taking care of myself on the road, I seek out a good meal wherever I go (I really do love eating). It’s a great way to connect to the local culture. Just asking someone “Hey, where’s a good spot to eat?” is such an easy way to start a conversation. Plus, quality nutrition is optimal for performance. It’s my favorite pastime on the road.
You're known for your epic style! How do you feel the image of golf and golf style has evolved in recent years?
Not only has golf style changed, but who’s playing golf has changed. During the pandemic, a lot of young people got into the sport, because it was a safer way to socialize outside.
Golf style is evolving with the new generation of players. I see more and more streetwear on the course, like joggers and hoodies. For me, I focus on functional clothes that transition from the course to the rest of my life, so I don’t always have to change in between.
How does SWET Tailor fit into the evolution of golf as well as your busy lifestyle?
To put it simply, SWET Tailor is super comfortable. They make the best kind of basics. All of their styles can be easily accessorized with golf shoes, a belt, and a hat. It’s a very versatile brand.
SWET Tailor gets the details right. Their clothes are fitted (for performance), but still comfortable. Golf clothes used to be much baggier, but SWET keeps up with the trend of slimmer, European-style cuts.
What are your favorite SWET Tailor styles on and off the course?
Across the board, I love all of their pants. The All-In are the most comfortable pants I’ve ever worn. I also appreciate the elevated details on their Joggers. From the front, their Joggers look more like Chinos, and they have belt loops, so you can tuck in your shirt neatly. They’re a lot more presentable than your typical jogger and the material is very light.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying the Tipped Polo. The fit on that style is incredible. I’m built a bit lankier, and the length on their medium size shirts still works for me. I stock up on the Softest Tee for the same reason.
I really appreciate that they have a 31” pant leg. Not many brands carry in between sizes. The wide range of sizes means everything fits, and I don’t have to worry about that extra little scrunch around the belt.
SWET Tailor fits well, which makes me feel better. In golf, we always say, “Look good. Feel good. Play good.” That little extra confidence can go a long way for your game.
If you had one piece of advice for aspiring athletes – style-wise, or not – what would it be?
In terms of style, be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be different, and be comfortable in what you’re wearing.
As for Life, I recommend having a good community around you. Surround yourself with a tight knit circle of people you trust that have your best interest in mind. You're going to get a lot of advice from a lot of people who think you should do things a certain way. Be respectful of those opinions, but hold on to your core values and the people you trust in guiding your path.
If you want to “look good, feel good, and play good” like pro-golfer Erik Flores, check out his faves: the All-In Pant, Joggers, Tipped Polo, and Softest Tee.
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