Current Golf Fashion Trends on the Course
by Megan Hart
Thanks to lots of stylish young stars, the future of golf fashion looks bright. As always, current streetwear trends are influencing looks on the links. At the same time, some golf course classics appear to be making a comeback. It’s a blend of the old classics meeting the new style.
Here are some of the most important trends taking root on the course.
In the 1990s, golf fashion saw a major change. Professional players began prominently wearing the logos of their sponsors.
Justin Thomas wears Ralph Lauren and he’s often among the best-dressed golfers at PGA events. He outdid himself at last year’s Open Championship, teeing off on Thursday in a Bobby Jones-esque navy blue cardigan and tie. His outfit was quite the hit with fans on Twitter, and he backed it up by shooting a 3-under 67. Earlier this year, Phil Mickelson also made a splash by wearing button-down dress shirts from Mizzen+Main, which received more mixed reviews.
But, the PGA Tour player who is best known for fancy fashion is Ryan Moore. In 2009, when he felt like he was focusing more on the business of golf than the game itself, he decided to forgo equipment and apparel sponsors. He paid for all his clothes himself, including an outfit at the FBR Open, which Gary McCord called a cross between Ellen Degeneres and Justin Timberlake.
While some more adventurous pros and quirkier amateurs are testing out the formal look, don’t expect to see button-downs and ties making a comeback on a course near you.
Female golfers at the country club level, however, have embraced a “dressier” look. Though LPGA players are prohibited from wearing dresses, every-day golfers have made them best sellers for many women’s golf retailers.
If dresses aren’t flashy enough for you, designer Idil Tarzi offers a leather golf skirt that was one of the most memorable looks at last year’s PGA merchandise show. She’s part of a movement to make more fashionable golf attire for women.
While some players have adopted high-fashion looks, the general trajectory of golf apparel seems to be heading in the opposite direction.
On the men’s side, you can see this clearly in today’s golf shirts, which typically feature slim fits and moisture-wicking fabrics. Nike even offers collarless shirts, which have been sported by both Rory McIlroy and Jason Day.
Among female golfers, Instagram star Paige Spiranac is famous for her sporty style. She often posts photos of herself hitting balls in workout gear. Spiranac is also known for speaking out against the LPGA’s 2017 dress code changes, which, among other things, limit athletic wear at pro events.
Included in the new guidelines are somewhat complicated rules about when players can wear leggings – they’re alright with skorts and shorts, but not with skirts or on their own – and a ban on racerback tees without collars. Despite these stipulations from the LPGA, we seem to be headed toward a future of more blended golf and athletic attire.
Sneaker culture has also made its way into the world of golf, with Michelle Wie serving as its greatest ambassador. Wie is sponsored by Nike and she’s got hundreds, if not thousands, of shoes to prove it (just check out her Instagram stories).
Her most notable kicks include her 2017 Solheim Cup high tops, which were blinged out with Swarovski crystals, her metallic gold Nike Blazers and her leopard print sneakers from 2016. Since Wie started wearing high tops, other players have followed including Fowler and Day.
Day wore Jordans at last year’s British Open. Though Twitter was tough on him, it seems that brands like Nike and Puma are committed to bringing the sneaker style to golf.
When it comes to selling clothes and starting trends, many golf apparel companies aim to do it on the sport’s biggest stages. Over the years, there have been players who were known for their personal style, like Payne Stewart and Greg Norman. Crafting a signature look, however, has never been as carefully orchestrated as it is today.
If you watched the 2018 PGA Championship, you couldn’t miss the excitement surrounding Tiger Woods. His red shirt regained its meaning as he seriously contended in a major for the first time in years. Many of his supporters donned his signature color in the crowd.
Woods’ Sunday red is so iconic, in fact, that it inspired Patrick Reed to start wearing the color on the final day of tournaments even before he joined the PGA Tour. But not so fast Reed. Nike protects the look so seriously that it wouldn’t let Reed, who’s also a Nike golfer, wear red on the final day of the Masters. Even though he was leading the tournament, which he went on to win.
Brands know that amateur golfers and fans will spend big bucks to look like their favorite players. What player comes to mind when you think orange flat-bill hats? When Fowler began wearing orange Puma flat-bill hats, they started flying off the shelves at retail stores according to the President of Puma North America. In 2011, when Puma released limited-edition, all-orange shoes inspired by Fowler, they sold out instantly.
Golf apparel companies meticulously design big tournament looks for their players, and it’s likely that these styles will influence the future of golf fashion. From the traditional to the quirky, we are excited to see who sports he must-have fashion next!