'Look good, feel good, play good it's the secret of my success'

“LOOK good, feel good, play good” wouldn’t exactly be the mantra for too many sporting champions, but for golfing hero Ian Poulter, it appears to be working a treat.

Victory in the Singapore Open a fortnight ago has propelled the 33-year-old to a career-high 13th in the world rankings while all but securing his place in next year’s Ryder Cup.

But as style gurus on the course will tell you, there’s more to Ian Poulter than just a rhythmic swing and an eye for a putt.

With a passion for clothes stemming from a young age, Poulter’s desire to look good led to him scribbling down a few designs on hotel letterhead paper and airline coasters as he travelled the world on the golfing circuit.

Now, just six years on, those scribbles have been turned into reality and Poulter now finds himself at the forefront of one of the most unique and dynamic golfing fashion ranges on the market.

IJP Design (Ian James Poulter) was launched in the build up to the Open Championship back in 2007 when the flamboyant Englishman wowed the crowds at Carnoustie with a different radical outfit for each of the four days.

Two years on and IJP Designs has hit the City along with 22 territories worldwide with his latest collection for Autumn/Winter 09, including the striking ‘limited edition’ and Tartan range, enjoying record sales.

But despite his immediate success in the business field, Poulter believes the best is yet to come, strong in the belief that looking good and playing good go hand-in-hand.

“If I feel good about what I’m wearing then I feel good about my game,” the father of three told City.A.M. “It’s like when you put on a new shirt or go out in a clean car, you feel better about yourself, and it’s the same with me on the golf course.

“‘Look good, feel good, play good’ has always been my mantra and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my world ranking has improved with the pride I have taken from the launch of the business. I came so close to winning the Open Championship at Birkdale last year and now I am probably enjoying my most consistent season to date.”

Poulter’s passion for fashion began as an 11-year-old when he worked at Stevenage market, merchandising and selling clothes while he learned his trade on the golf course.

He then turned professional at the age of 19 when a certain American golfer by the name of Payne Stewart was enjoying the mantle of golfing fashion icon of the 1990s.

Stewart met his tragic death in a plane crash in 1999, but Poulter took much inspiration from the three-time major winner.

“Payne Stewart was someone I looked up to as the first proper icon,” Poulter added. “He went out there to look good and wore what he wanted. There haven’t been too many inspirations when it comes to golfing fashion, although there is certainly an influence in my designs from the 70s with the gear that Jack Nicklaus, Arnie, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player wore. Jesper Parnevik was a cool dresser too.”

Poulter is also unusual in the fact he is one of the few sportsmen who gets involved with the business, from the design process to testing out the prototypes on the course, while turning his back on other lucrative sponsorship deals.

Indeed, his designs have brought him luck on tour this year. Dressed head-to-toe in a pastel colour palette from Collection 4, Poulter finished second in the Players’ Championship at Sawgrass, before claiming his 10th professional victory at Singapore two weeks ago in a pair of striking pink trousers.

Now, all eyes are on Poulter’s choices for next season as he goes in search of a first major title and a place on the European Ryder Cup team at Celtic Manor.

“Launching IJP was a dream come true for me,” Poulter added. “Fashion and golf have been my life since a young age, so I feel mighty proud to be back in the world’s top 20 with my own label on the shelves.”

l Poulter’s range is exclusively available in London at Nevada Bob’s in Broadgate, while the full collection can be viewed at www.ijpdesign.com.