When did golf attire become cool? – words Alexa Wang
Golf attire is probably responsible for some of the most garish and wince inducing howlers known to fashion. In fact, it has evolved massively over the decades. One of the worst periods must have been the seventies – isn’t it always?
Here coloured tank tops clashed with ill-fitting polyester trousers. The seventies golf course really was a disaster zone for sartorial elegance. Taste was gleefully thrown to the four wind, and the public sniggered accordingly. Things got so bad that popular comedy shows would regularly portray fat businessmen dressed in the most shocking styles lumbering around absurdly.
In fact, in the early days of golf, the sport was seen as more of a country pursuit. Players wore rather cumbersome suits and knickers (also known as plus fours) and boots. In the eighties, things began to change. In the UK something very strange happened. This was the post punk era and young lads ditched jeans and leather jackets and suddenly looked like young golfers but better. Fred Perry, Lacoste and Sergio Tacchini became all the rage and the hair was a side parted flick. Casual boots or classic trainers finished the look off. It was like Punk had never existed which I suppose was the point. They looked sharp, a lot sharper than the golfers they stole the look from. Of course, these fashion boys and girls would not be seen dead on a golf course, but their fashion savvy helped shift perceptions amongst UK youth at least.
I think it had to be the rise of Tiger Woods that finally changed the way we saw golf and golfing attire. He looked dignified, cool and stylish as he strode the world’s most famous golf courses beating all challengers. The fact that he was young, cool and black and had a different approach and attitude to the game also helped him stand out from the crowd. Sponsors jumped on the bandwagon and golf style has never been the same since.
Recently the major sports brands have mixed sport know how with fashion savvy to change the way golfers look and feel about the game. The range of cool golf attire on sites such as Function 18 points to the future. It’s no longer seen as a game only for aging business men or just for the upper classes. The idea it’s just for men has long gone too. There is still some fashion faux pas committed of course (even the tank top can still be spotted) but it’s a much cooler and more stylish pastime now and clubs have a more relaxed and inclusive atmosphere all round.