Many young pros are getting creative when it comes to fashion, but could their trendsetting lead to a bigger culture shift in the sport?
Sure, everyone knows Tiger’s Sunday red, but if you ask most non-golfers what comes to mind when they think of the sport’s style, you’re more likely to get something along the lines of John Daly’s pants.
Many of today’s stars, however, are helping change that old-school image. Here’s a breakdown of the fashion trends we’ve seen take root so far. Some may even transcend fashion to have a bigger effect on the game.
The long and short of it
In January, the European Tour announced that players could wear shorts during practice rounds and pro-am events. Players welcomed the change, particularly as they embarked on a string of warm-climate tournaments in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai. The PGA Tour, however, is still anti-shorts.
Golf’s rich history isn’t built on the wearing of pants, just as it’s not built on male-only country clubs, so the PGA can loosen its grip a little without losing its heritage. Hopefully now that the European Tour has bent its rule on shorts, it won’t be too long before players across the pond get a reprieve as well. Perhaps golf will eventually follow the Wimbledon whites model, and only require players to wear pants at the Majors.
Though the pants rule is unlikely to keep any potential pros out of the sport, getting rid of golf’s stuffier traditions could help endear a younger generation to the game.
Photo Option: Louis Oosthuizen (European Tour)
The evolution of the collar
Earlier this year, Nike released a new line of re-imagined golf shirts known as the MM Fly Polo Collection. With three innovative collar options, including the MM Fly Blade Polo with a neckline reminiscent of an old NBA warm-up jacket (snaps and all), Nike became the first manufacturer to shift from the traditional collar in quite some time.
These Dri-Fit shirts, which are available in fitted cuts, are helping Nike push toward athletic wear and away from more standard golf styles. As fitness brands like Under Armour continue to invest big in their golf collections, it’s likely golfers will see more styles crossing over from the gym to the course.
Photo Option: Rory Mcllroy (Nike Golf)
RoNo shirt, no problem
Okay, going shirtless isn’t exactly a fashion trend, but it’s worth mentioning considering all of the celebrities — from Michael Phelps to Adam Levine — who’ve posted photos of themselves partaking. Topless golf certainly isn’t acceptable everywhere. In fact, Golf Digest published a story about it last year suggesting that it’s best done at either exclusive private clubs (where you’re paying for the privilege) or municipal courses (where you’re barely paying at all.)
Topless golf also isn’t for everyone, but it’s growing popularity may be a sign that the sport is starting to take on a more relaxed personality thanks, in part, to today’s young stars. Can you imagine Tiger and Phil taking a bare-chested vacation photo together?
Photo Option: Speith, Fowler, Thomas, Kaufman (Rickie Fowler)
Dressed for success
You don’t have to watch an LPGA Tour event for long to realize that players are held to more comfortable (and arguably more enlightened) dress code standards than their male counterparts. But, one thing female tour golfers can’t wear is dresses.
Off the LPGA Tour, however, stylish golf dresses seem to be gaining ground. Instagram superstar, Paige Spiranac, has posted shots of herself wearing them. Daniella and Lara Schriffen, sisters and avid golfers, even started their own company with the goal of creating women’s golf clothes that millennials can feel good in. They started Schriffen, they told Fox 5, because they were tired of feeling like they were wearing UPS uniforms on the course. Their stylish looks could soon be coming to a clubhouse near you.
Photo Option: Paige Spiranac (Paige Spiranac)
A photo posted by Paige Spiranac (@_paige.renee) on
The perfect fit
According to The New York Times, America’s market for athleisure clothing is worth a whopping $97 billion annually, and it appears to be making as big of an impact in women’s golf as it is men’s. While the world may not be ready for you to ditch your traditional golf skirt in favor of yoga pants, Michelle Wie hascertainly shown that you can get away with wearing both. Men’s and women’s golf shoes have even taken on a more sneaker-like quality in recent years.
Though some golf purists may not be a fan of this style revolution, it may not be such a bad thing for the sport. The funky styles of golfers like Wie and Fowler could help attract interest in the game.
Photo Option: Michelle Wie (Michelle Wie)