Meet the man behind the brand, Jace Lipstein, a true 5i fan — and learn about an exciting collab dropping just in time for the holiday season.
Give us your 5i story. How’d you hear about Five Iron and what made you come in?
I had spine surgery (L5, S1) which put me out of sports and all physical activity for three years. I describe myself as an active person and thrive on a good workout, so it was very challenging for me. The pain was excruciating. At times the end did not seem near and I was worried I would not be able to do anything active ever again. I said to myself, if I ever beat this I want to learn golf and made that my goal. To this day, I still struggle with back pain from time to time but I feel way better now. I am BEYOND GRATEFUL for that.
Five Iron is located very close to my apartment in NYC and as you know, playing golf can be challenging living in the city without a car. When I went inside for the first time, I could not believe how cool the place looked, how amazing the equipment + setup was and how knowledgeable the staff was. Plus as a member, I could keep my bag stored in the venue. For me, not having to lug it on my back daily was a game changer.
How did you get your start in fashion and where did Grungy Gentleman come from?
Grungy Gentleman was an online publication creating all original content and I also worked for other publications such as Robb Report and ESPN.com. My career began as an editor where I was able to shape a point of view on all aspects of the fashion industry. I worked on features with top brands, designers, retailers, publicists and manufacturers. Also as an editor I was constantly being pitched so I formed an opinion on proper approach and presentation when doing so. This helped me immensely. When attending runway shows in Milan, Paris and NYC I would study back of house and front of house. I began forming my own opinions on what I liked and what I would do differently. This gave me confidence for what was to come…
Grungy Gentleman was gaining traction as an online publication so we began to do one off limited edition collaborations with emerging designers which then lead to capsule collections. Luckily the media began to cover what we were doing which helped spread the word. I eventually was approached by hip hop legend Nas to co-create a premium streetwear brand together consisting of 33 pieces. I am very passionate that still to this day, it holds up as one of the best streetwear collections ever created by a celebrity. The response was humbling, incredible and I learned what going viral meant (thanks to Nas) lol. About a month after the release, I was at a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Event and I was chopping it up with their brass. It started off as a very casual conversation with drinks in hand. Early into it they had told me they saw my collection with Nas and loved it. I was so happy to hear that. They asked me if I had any designs of my own. My response was yes I do, so I handed them my cell phone and watched them scroll through my designs. What happened after this changed my life forever! They said “how would you like to open NY Fashion Week next season?” After that moment, Grungy Gentleman became a stand alone brand and we launched on the catwalk at NY Fashion Week. The rest is history.
What was your golf game like before Five Iron, and what is it like now?
My golf game was nonexistent before Five Iron. As mentioned, I began my golf journey at Five Iron and I cannot recommend it enough. It truly is the best place in the world! Through a comfortable environment, amazing instructors like Dan McCracken and incredible feedback from Trackman, I was instantly hooked. I showed up 3-4 times per week at Five Iron and got on course practice once a weekend for 3 months straight. As you can expect, being a brand new golfer, year 1 was met with a ton of high and lows. The inconsistency kept me coming back for more. Some days I could not hit the ball straight for the life of me. One day I came a foot away from knocking in a hole and one on a par 3 (it is on my IG Reels lol). Overall I was trash but I held onto the small victories.
Currently I am trying to rebuild my entire game from the ground up, pretending like I am starting all over from scratch. I felt like winter was the perfect time to do this. I am starting with the basics all over again and will be progressing to focus + improve all facets of my golf game. My plan is to practice and take lessons at Five Iron while studying tips + lessons from MeAndMyGolf during the offseason.
What made you want to collaborate with 5i?
I compare Five Iron to the hit TV show Cheers. It is a family atmosphere where everybody knows your name. Five Iron and its staff promotes golf and overall positivity everytime I enter their venue. That contagious spirit makes me a proud member and honored to partner with Five Iron.
Additionally Sean Pixley, the GM of the Financial District location in NYC has become a close friend and we play golf together. Sean spearheaded the idea for this apparel collaboration and I am very grateful for that. I will never forget how cool he looked in our sample; I knew we had a hit. I am very proud to collaborate with Five Iron and bring stylish gear to the course + their simulators!
What can we expect to see in the near future for GG?
In the next few weeks, we are collaborating with NBA2K, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, an MMA promotion called BTC and of course Five Iron! As for golf….I’m going to try and play in moderation. Two rounds per day is plenty lol.