It’s safe to say that the current PGA Tour also moonlights as a grass runway for designers and their sponsored golfers to broadcast a wide array of fashion styles. Gone are the days where fellas nonchalantly donned unlogoed polos and baggy, pleated khakis. Now, everyone seems to be making some kind of splash. It has become big business.
Professional golfers these days are receiving a considerable amount of attention for their dress. Ahead of major tournaments, apparel companies are releasing the Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday wardrobe for their sponsored players. Golf media outlets then critique said outfits following the event. Soon–and I can see it now–there are going to be pre-game, red carpet interviews with players being asked “and who are you wearing this weekend?” Let’s hope not.
That is not to say that I’m not all for golfers taking pride in how they look; I absolutely am. But recently, some golfers have been channeling such pride towards a fashionless estuary of offensiveness. They overdo it instead of “underdoing” it. I mean, take a look at the above lineup for the otherwise likable Rickie Fowler.
Here are a couple of rules I think we should pay attention to moving forward: Don’t buy a golf shirt that looks like a wounded alien splattered his fluorescent blood in incongruent geometric shapes on it. Also, if you show up to the first tee looking like Under Armour is sponsoring you in the upcoming NFL Combine, you better be either Jerry Rice or on the losing end of a bet.
Top left: Arnold Palmer, Top right: Adam Scott, Bottom left: Billy Horschel, Bottom Right: Chi-Chi Rodriguez
Seriously though, golfers! The neon clad mannequin at Golf Galaxy are not an oracle of stylish athletic wear. People sometimes forget that golf has its own timeless style icons to draw influence from, like Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Ben Hogan, and Chi-Chi Rodriguez in his younger days (see above).
Currently, we can look to Adam Scott, Kyle Stanley and Billy Horschel (when he is not wearing octopus pants) for proper guidance. Yet, these styles are ignored by many. Instead, golfers attempt to perhaps emulate the sartorial swag of Namath or Clyde Frazier which, while cool for football or the NBA, is the golf course management equivalent of hitting driver off the deck; extreme, unmanageable and potentially dangerous.
Above: Which Englishman is well dressed and which looks horrible?
In light of the foregoing, let 2014 be the year in which golf style comes a bit back to its senses. Here are five emerging trends that I hope we can leave behind for the upcoming year.
No. 5: Pants with slits at the bottom
What is the purpose here? I’m not sure. Tiger Woods is frequently seen wearing these, but I think they look sloppy. Golf is a gentleman’s game. Your pant leg’s opening should not be creating the illusion that the corners of its mouth are splitting in an attempt to eat your shoe, a la Joey Chestnut at the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. A slightly tapered leg works best.
No. 4: Oversized/Tacky Belt Buckles
Occasionally, a vintage-y looking, cowboy-like belt buckle on a golfer can actually look cool. Anthony Kim used to rock these with some stylish success. But the trendy belt buckles being furnished by many of the major athletic wear companies look like you have an Iroc-Z fastened to the front of your trousers. Even in my beloved state of New Jersey, the Iroc has been out of fashion for years.
No. 3: Selling out
Above: Jim Furyk’s several late-round collapses in 2012 and 2013 have made him the butt of countless about his sponsor, 5-Hour energy.
So, along with that anchored putter ban, can the tour also discuss a limit on the amount of ads a player can wear? Not to sound too crotchety, but some players’ polos are only a couple of unsightly advertisements short of looking like the outfield wall of a Single-A baseball team. Jim Furyk, the 5-Hour Energy gear needs to go, bro. I’m pretty sure you can afford it too.
No. 2: The Flat Brim
Above: One is nonchalant and cool. The other is just not.
Sometimes, a flat brim can look fine, even stylish perhaps. Vintage Trevino, Corey “Magnum PI” Pavin and Costantino Rocca at The Open in ’95 come to mind. Nowadays however, the flat brim seems to be sported with the purported message that the wearer is hip or cool. In practice, however, it makes you look like Justin Beiber.
No. 1: Loud Clothes
Above: There are not enough degrees of separation between these two outfits.
Also known as “The Rickie Fowler Effect.” I hate to come back to Rickie again, because aside from him looking like the orange power ranger, he is a cool, charismatic, young super star who values his fan base, which I respect a lot. But, seriously, he does look like the orange power ranger, and his uni-colored ensembles have unfortunately served as validation for other golfers to sport Crayola crayon-like costumes of their own. Only on Halloween is this sort of childish outfit appropriate.