Puma's spring 2007
German sports apparel company Puma introduced its golf line in 2006, during which the firm's signature model, Australian pro Geoff Ogilvy won the U.S. Open. The company's latest line is ultra-stylish while giving us traveling golfers what we need most: portability and versatility.
There are traditional influences in Puma's golf clothes, like argyle patterns and dresses for women, but this stuff isn't for your average duffer. The target is younger golfers (with dough) who are out to turn heads with more than just a good short game.
It's going to take some time for us lame, conformist Americans to get used to these togs. Of Puma's five endorsed players, 22-year-old Southern California cutie Erica Blasberg is the only American.
The brand is best-known among the kiddies for stylish sports shoes - it was a frontrunner in making sneakers that were OK to wear for dressy occasions - and footwear is a strong element of the golf line.
The Concorde ($200), made of Goretex with a carbon-fiber composite on the soles, offers fit and feel similar to Puma's street shoes. Smaller on the foot and less athletic-looking than Nikes and Adidas, these golf shoes definitely put style first, if that's your priority.
The gold Concorde recalls Michael Johnson's Nike statement at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, with black stripe cutting across the side of a solid-gold shoe. There are more subtle but still decidedly non-traditional color schemes.
While the Concorde and Puma's PG GTX are bona-fide golf shoes, their traveler models ($120) feature a molded stud outsole that yields a bit in grip but is wearable on the street.
Puma's apparel is similarly trendy - so trendy you might think at first glance it isn't functional. But there are a handful of qualities that show the designers have done their homework on golfers.
The pants line is especially golfer-friendly. Whereas khaki and cotton golf pants collect water on the back legs that can rise up the calf, Puma's golf pants have a waterproof backing on the bottom backside that keeps moisture from collecting.
The relatively conservative Golf Performance Polo ($65) is an 85 percent polyester/15 percent cotton-jersey mix that is light and breathes easy. The Golf 18 ($65) is 100 percent polyester with a zipper and detachable collar, as do many of the shirts, if you're looking to go a little more casual at night.
The graphic polos, designed to wear in exotic locales, feature leafy prints across the front and back or just over the heart. And, of course, every item features the signature leaping cat as well as the golf-line symbol, a hexagon shape with 18 tiny "pointelles."
The sweaters are where conservative male golfers might draw the line, coming in bright purple, green and orange. The 18-hole pointelles all over the sweater let it breathe, but it'll still be a tough sell.
In the women's line, colors are bright pink, purple and green, and the fit is slim. The golf dress is designed for on-course or off and will turn heads in either venue.
Young in golf, just like the talent it's recruited, Puma has put together a colorful, fun and functional spring 2007 line. The company promises a little more subtlety come fall, showing that it's ready for the larger golf world. We'll see if the golf world is ready for Puma.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.