It’s not exactly news that golf fashion is a dynamic and thriving business sector.
At the turn of the last century, no eyebrow would have been raised at the sight of golfers wearing tweed jackets with plus fours, smoking pipes and sporting a full set of facial whiskers – and the men were just the same too.
But appearance is vital in 2012 and amateur and professional golfers alike want something a little more, shall we say, stylish.
The late, great Payne Stewart wore plus fours of course, but his could hardly be deemed conservative. Indeed, he reputedly had the largest wardrobe on tour and left a legacy of dashing clothing which is evident in the golfers of today.
Players like Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Johan Edfors, Ryo Ishikawa and Camilo Villegas are revered as much for their style as they are for their success with a putter.
Most manufacturers stick to three basic guidelines when it comes to producing golf clothing: it should be comfortable, provide freedom of movement, and be fashionable. But golfers also need to keep dry and cool when exposed to the heat and sun; warm on chilly days; and to be protected from wind and rainy weather.
Consequently fabrics need to be lightweight, quick drying and be able to transport perspiration away from the skin. Mixing such high-tech specifications with the desired aesthetic qualities is no mean feat – and that is why many ranges are perceived as expensive.
However, as the old adage goes, ‘you get what you pay for’ and top-quality golf clothing is durable and, like the Mackeson ad of old, it not only looks good, but, by golly it does you good too…
The pros add cutting-edge designs to their game, while not sacrificing comfort for fashion, and Joe Public wants to follow suit.
On-course fashion has stepped up a gear, with hybrid outfits blending traditional concepts with retro and contemporary designs and continental style. Once again, this season, flashes of bright colour will feature heavily on the fairways, not just in the Majors, but also in the monthly medal. And it’s just as important to be able to look the part wearing the gear off-course too.
Fashion in golf – as in any other sphere – is constantly changing, evolving and re-inventing itself. But the future is looking bright for golfers, whether they crave new and exciting styles or wish to maintain a classic elegance.