In the past, golf clothing included tweed caps, woolen pullovers and checkered knickerbockers known as “plus 4s”. Things moved on in the mid 1900s towards a ubiquitous uniform of plain cotton pique polo shirt, V-neck cashmere sweater, dark-toned pants, plain black or white golf glove and black-and-white golf shoes.
But these days you’ll see players such as Britain’s Ian Poulter dressed in contoured and colourful tops with matching slim-line pants (often in pretty plaids), signature belts with logo buckles, and custom-dyed matching golf shoes in every colour of the rainbow.
America’s John Daly sports garish printed trousers with flamboyant shirts and is known for his Loudmouth-brand golf pants. On cold days, golfers even swap the traditional collared, Lacoste-style shirt for Under Armour type rollneck, longsleeved tops.
The top female players, too, are pushing the boundaries of golf clothing while staying within the stringent guidelines of historical golf etiquette. They have been able to wear skirts for many years but, more recently, women have been allowed to wear sleeveless shirts with a collar. Skirts and shorts have been combined into a new item of clothing known as a “skort” - a combination of the two words. Glamorous, printed skirts and even golf dresses have been designed by companies such as Lilly Pulitzer, Jamie Sadock, DKNY and Nike.
Golf stores - which used to look like uniform suppliers – now resemble fashion boutiques. The popularity of golf on TV has led to a boom in trendy golf attire, with international designers increasingly including golf clothing, bags and footwear in their collections. Names like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren Polo are prominent these days in golf clothing, footwear and bags.
You can also buy customized golf bags – often with matching clubs - in a variety of colourways including animal prints and florals. Shoes come in every tones with stripes, air vents, and special styles for different seasons. Footjoy is possibly the most innovative golf shoe company, offering custom shoes which golfers can design for themselves online, using a wide choice of colours, style details and fabrics.
Every little detail of golf attire has undergone a similar makeover. Golf gloves, hats, visors, ball markers, tees, towels have all been upgraded to fashion items and gifts for golfers.
Shopping list for first time golfers:
- Golf Shoes (with soft spikes)
- Golf Glove (lefthand for righthanded; righthand for lefthanded)
- Visor or Cap
- Collared shirt
- Shorts (or skirt for women)
- Long pants for colder days
- Golf bag (choose between carry bag and cart bag)
- Basic set of clubs: for example, driver, 5 wood, putter, pitching wedge, sand iron, seven iron and nine iron
- Ball marker for putting green