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|PGA Tour star Hunter Mahan is sponsored by golf apparel upstart Under Armour. (Courtesy of Under Armour)|
Remember when the legends of golf like Arnold Palmer and Byron Nelson used to wear heavy, cotton polos and wool cardigan sweaters?
That's probably why they couldn't hit the ball as far as the players these days. Who could knock it 300 yards with such flexibility-hindering clothes?
Golf now places a premium on performance as much as any other sport. These days, golfers want to be viewed as athletes more than simply souls of leisure.
There's no bigger indicator of that than golf apparel, which over the last few years, has turned from traditional, country club wear to performance-based materials and fits.
Under Armour, a relatively new athletic apparel brand, is joining the golf market with its own line of bold, performance-enhancing gear.
Those familiar with the Under Armour brand from football, track and basketball might be hesitant at first. After all, the brand started out offering just as the name implies: tight-fitting shells that go beneath shoulder pads. Its in-your-face advertisements, with sweaty, muscular football players bellowing "We must protect this house!" drew plenty of attention.
They've set out to take a chunk out of bigger, more established athletic apparel companies like Nike and Addidas, and now they've brought the fight to the golf market too. The biggest name on tour wearing Under Armour fittingly is Hunter Mahan, an up-and-comer in his own right.
Golfers unfamiliar with their golf line may ask themselves what country club is going to allow a skin-tight, sleeveless shell onto their golf course. But fear not. The line blends lightweight, performance-based fibers with a more traditional fit and look. The line is more loose fitting compared to European lines like J. Lindberg and Puma, so you don't need a linebacker's body to fill out their apparel.
Their designs are made up mostly of solid bright reds and blues with little pattern work, though the women's Playoff Polo features a sharp.
The main material used is PolyArmour, a performance-enhanced type of Polyester. Its fabric stretches up to four ways for enhanced breathability and flexibility. They have two classes of apparel. Their "Heat Gear" is designed to keep you cool (and odor-free with an anti-bacterial material) under the sun in the summertime. Their "Cold Gear" is designed to let you enjoy yourself even when the weather isn't cooperating.
An added bonus to the traveling golfer, their clothing is practically wrinkle-free, even their pants absorb wrinkles quite well, so you don't have to worry about doing an hour's worth of ironing the night you arrive to your destination.
The golf brand currently features a full line of men's, women's and kid's clothing, including shirts, pants and outerwear. The women's line is especially extensive, offering everything from skirts, to shorts and full-body golf dresses. They've even got a bright, pink, white and black headband.
Under Armour's line really shines with its cold weather and rain gear, from long-sleeve mock turtle necks to its All Season's Gear wind shirt, which is very light and bottles in heat. For your mock turtle neck, you can choose from either a tight-fitting, Tiger-esque mock, or a looser fit.
In fact, Under Armour's all-weather gear is so comfortable and fashionable, you may find yourself praying for a rainy morning in the low 40s to throw it all on.
Under Armour Golf can be found at golf shops all over the world, or you can view the full golf catalog at www.UnderArmour.com.
April 22, 2008
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
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