Golf's fashion sense has never been better
Back in the late 1980s, I had a friend who looked an awful lot like Corey Pavin. Same mustache, same build and damn near as good a golfer. On occasion he would hang out with me at the local PGA Tour event, and unlike most golf fans, he didn’t wear shorts to the course, he wore golf attire, neatly pressed and fitted, complete with a pair of teaching shoes to pull off the look.
On one particular occasion, during the Shell Houston Open at the Tournament Course at The Woodlands (formerly the TPC at The Woodlands), we were following a group of pros off the 17th green and worked ahead of them toward the 18th tee. An elderly lady who was handling the ropes saw us approach and welcomed my buddy: “Right this way, Mr. Pavin,” she said as she unhooked the ropes and motioned him forward.
I nearly fell off the side of tee box, busting out from laughter. Better yet, I wished I had a driver, ball and a tee to hand him. Wouldn’t it have been grand had he went ahead and hit a tee shot before the real group showed up? We might have seen that on SportsCenter later that night. Of course, he might have been watching from jail. Regardless, the incident still amuses me.
I bring this up because my friend loved dressing the part. Even in the late ’80s, golf apparel was becoming cool.
Remember when golf clothes were a joke? You know back in the ’60s and ’70s when tour players were wearing crazy plaid flared pants, pastel shirts and shoes with kilties. Of course, it really just reflected the age of bell bottoms and leisure suits, but golf apparel is en vogue across the board now.
It’s the attire of casual Friday, worn by golfers and non-golfers alike, appropriate for sporting events, going out to dinner or even church. Golf shirts, which can run upwards of $150, have become business casual, and the best part about that is they’re a heck of a lot comfortable than a button-up shirt and a tie.
My philosophy for dressing for the course has always been to be most comfortable, but today’s golf apparel is more than comfortable; it’s performance wear. Moving away from the cottons to the microfiber synthetic blends produced by such companies as Antigua, Ashworth, Nike, Tehama, Bobby Jones and so on, golfers have never had it so good
The cool thing, though, is that unlike the ’40s and ’50s (or even before that) when golf was fashionable but conservative, players today can express their individuality and still look good.
I’ve heard some guys my age make fun of Rickie Fowler and his Puma getups, but I think what he’s doing for golf fashion is great for the game. It’s not for me, but neither are John Daly’s Loudmouth pants (man, that stuff is hideous.) I really like a lot of bright colors. I can’t pull it off, but it looks good on a lot of guys
You have to love the belts a lot of these guys are wearing, too. I miss those huge buckles Anthony Kim was sporting, but I’m guessing he figured they were starting to get in the way of his action, so he toned them down. Speaking of belts, I’m glad the white belt is back, but like any fad, too many guys are doing it.
So who’s the most dapper on the tour? Besides Fowler, there’s Ian Poulter (man, that guy’s got style), Camilo Villegas with his own designer clothing line, Ricky Barnes’ golf hat, and even Rory McIlroy’s conservative look. Would love to hear from the ladies out there. Because to play the part, it helps to look the part.
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