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5 golf fashion trends that hopefully get left behind in 2014

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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.

golf02

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.

Billy Horschel

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.

golf04

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

golf03

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

golf05

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

golf01

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

Justin Bieber

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.

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.

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Lawyer, Bachelor and Golf Nut. John also writes for his and his sister's Italian culinary and lifestyle blog at www.johnandelana.com, maintains an honest GHIN handicap, and is from New Jersey; all of which he is proud of.

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129 Comments

129 Comments

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  7. cody

    Feb 11, 2015 at 11:26 am

    i like the loud clothes. Remember what happy said. “Golf is for guys that wear goofy pants and have fat a$$e$”.

    just accept the goofy pants. You will be happier. Plus man, the articles lately have been pretty sad. isnt there something more interesting to write about? Plus, why does everything need to change, end, be done away with. I am not a accept everything guy but holy moses lets lighten up a touch.

  8. Troy

    Jun 22, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    This article sucks.
    That is all.

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  10. RAT

    Jan 13, 2014 at 10:05 am

    I believe one should express himself .But the excess of signs “patches” looks like the pro bowlers tour. The picture above of Adam Scott is example of what NOT to wear. The jeans look might be ok for the weekend golfer but not on the tour. The solid color collar and sleeve shirt with horizontal stripes is just downright ugly along with the pocket of a solid color with horizontal stripes. Did the companies like Nike get their designers for the local community college school of design?! Show The seventies for crazy and the fifties for class The sixties were some what ok. GET RID OF PATCHES or restrict the size.

  11. Zak

    Jan 9, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Negativity. Completely unnecessary negativity.

    Golf is about having fun. You don’t need to feel like you must wear a “uniform” when you go to PLAY. Would I wear these “crayola” colored clothes? No. But the fact that some players do is fine by me. It is what makes them unique. We need more unique people…

    …and less negative ones.

  12. Buzzkill

    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Good Lord- You forgot that White Pants should only be worn on the LPGA Tour!

  13. Gary

    Jan 9, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I understand you are writing an article to generate readers, but it seems to me you knowledge of golf apparel is very limited, at least historically. The slit in the pants goes way back in golf. I believe if you look back to Curtis Strange, Greg Norman and others in the 80’s you will see the same look. You have pictures of Arnold Palmer and Chi-Chi Rodriquez from the old days to prove your point. Where are the pictures of Doug Sanders? He matched his shoes with the color of his clothing for years. A purple shirt and slacks? Purple shoes to match. Have you seen any pictures of Johnny Miller in the 70’s? White belts? Walter Hagen? Showing up on the first tee in a tux? Been there done that. Like other parts of society, trends in golf apparel seem to recycle.
    I will say that part of what drew my wife to watching golf tournaments on TV is the clothing. We often share our opinions on various outfits worn by the players. So their look does impact viewers.
    Finally, I am fine if you want to write about how you don’t like a certain look in golf. From my standpoint you attempt to make it sound like these things you criticize are fads in golf, when in actuality they are variations on the history of golf.

    • John

      Jan 9, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      Merely identifying historical trends does not necessarily make them fashionable. I’m not sure if referencing Norman to support your case necessarily works. Granted, his hat is iconic, but some of his polos from the 80’s easily stick out as examples of hideous taste, I think.

      I don’t like a slit in the pants, personally. I realize style is a very subjective topic, but, a baggy or long pant leg opening looks a bit sloppy. The better dressed golfers today – A. Scott, Kyle Stanley, etc – don’t sport the opening. A tapered leg which grazes the top of your shoe looks better than a split one which extends beyond the laces. Just my thoughts.

      • Gary

        Jan 9, 2014 at 5:10 pm

        I referenced the past not to support their look (I agree about some of Norman’s shirts while others were awesome) but to establish the trends as present prior to this current group of golfers. I do like Scott and Stanley for their look in apparel. However, Some of Scott’s looks don’t work for me (see the picture above). I also find Stanley’s monochromatic looks (see his all black attire head to toe) as no different from Fowler, just a matter of color. The stove pipe pants or even straight legs look good on guys with skinny legs. Not every guy looks good like that. You are right it is a matter of preference. Sounds like you prefer more simple colors, like primary colors, I prefer some variety. I also agree with you on the space designs. At the end of the day, if you want to see drab apparel, one need only look to the Champions Tour, a place where style goes to die (with the very rare exception).

        • John

          Jan 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm

          but all black – in Stanley’s case – is a bit different than all orange or electric blue. All black is cool, stylish, and wearable towards any occasion and in any environment; whereas as all electric orange/blue is just..not. Again, just my two cents and I obviously have no scientific explanation for this. Very subjective, and hard to justify! haha

          Stenson is not a small guy necessarily and still rocks pants sans-slits (for now). The slits are done, in my opinion, to accommodate an “athletic” look and, indeed, golf’s style appears to be moving towards more towards of a “sports wear” feel and less towards stylish wear. I think you sacrifice a bit of style when your pants look like that.

  14. Bryan

    Jan 5, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Full disclosure to your readers, that picture of Ian Poulter wearing that hideous bronze metallic shirt is YEARS old… his fashion line is cutting edge and tastefully done and his Tartan pant designs are among some of the most fashionable things going.

    It may be have been mentioned before (I didn’t take the time to read all 100+ comments in this thread) but the slits on the pant legs allow your pants to fall over your shoes. This is a great trend and allows to you always look neat and well kept instead of your pant legs tucking themselves in to your shoes unintentionally. These are almost a must if you choose to wear the slimmer fitting pants that are common for today’s golfers.

  15. win orgera

    Jan 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Golf is a celebration. we don’t have to wear a uniform, but it gets pretty dull looking at black on black and white on khaki. golf is fun and so are clothes. give yourself a break and you might even have a good time. it’s a game for goodness sake, not a life or death experience.

  16. Andrew

    Jan 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Great article if taken in the right way – think a few people missed it!?

    Like the fact you unintentionally managed to p&&s Nike off as well 🙂

  17. luunie

    Dec 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    John, with respect, if you don’t know what the slits are for and the function they serve for proper fit in an active walking sport, fashion is not the topic of negativity you should be writing about.

  18. Joe

    Dec 28, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    John,

    You are not only way off base on fashion issues, but you are also a prime example of what is wrong with golf these days.

    The fashion of golf is one of the reason the clothing and accessory industry has done well. It is also part of the reason a younger generation has taken interest in the game.

    In case you haven’t paid attention, golf is hurting across the world!

    It is absolutely wrong to be negative about something like fashion.

    Why don’t you try and write a piece on how to improve golf? Reason: because you are probably incapable of writing an intelligent article or is it that you would rather put out a junk article putting down people to make yourself feel better!

    I personally have worn colorful clothing and accessories for years, well before it was on the course. And I am thrilled to see folks wearing clothing that makes them happy, proud, feel good, etc.

    To throw it back at you…looking at you, you have ZERO business commenting on fashion.

    Next time, try writing a positive article….if you think you know fashion, simply write the article about players that in your opinion are very well dressed and explain why…BE POSITIVE! instead of spewing negativity.

    • J

      Dec 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you for the kind words!

      • Joe

        Dec 30, 2013 at 12:14 am

        Let me remind you of some of your words Mr Hypocrite:

        Don’t buy a golf shirt that looks like a wounded alien splattered his fluorescent blood in incongruent geometric shapes on it.

        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.

        look like you have an Iroc-Z fastened to the front of your trousers.

        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.

        • John

          Dec 30, 2013 at 11:27 am

          You are correct, I did say that.

          • Markymark032884

            Dec 31, 2013 at 2:53 pm

            John the comments that you made in this article couldn’t be any better. I agree with everything you said and the people that disagree with all of this just really don’t get it. They probably are not and never really were true golf fans. Probably the kind of people who just go out and play golf but aren’t true golfers and don’t care about the history of the game but only what is current and exciting to them. On another note I don’t really understand where people get off saying that golf is hurting around the world and this will only help it grow. I believe golf is bigger and more popular world wide than it ever has been.

  19. KCCO

    Dec 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Why don’t we all wear camo fatigues, so the guy dressed like a pro on the tee-box can spray one to the right and hit you in the back of the head?

    I could care less what others wear, but I personally don’t like labels unless they are paying me, and agree tailored fit makes everything look better. Could careless about the colors as long as it fits the person correctly and shirt is tucked to provide a clean look.

  20. Eddie

    Dec 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    If Everyman listened to this author golf would be the land of the bland. Thankfully some of the tour players are pushing the boundaries of fashion and golf culture.

    Golf need not be a stuffy sport. Check out the Pheonix Open.

    • John

      Dec 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

      there is nothing bland about some of the better dressed golfers pictured above.

  21. Greg Hunter

    Dec 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    As long as men are not wearing g-strings, I don’t care what people wear. If I could play in a t-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes, I would do it! I enjoy change and fashion is a part of personality. I don’t wear all of the crazy pants or loud colored shirts, but I like watching others wear them! I think it helps grow the game. My boy wanted to play just because of Ricky Fowler

  22. Pat

    Dec 21, 2013 at 3:28 am

    I see your point but have to disagree. I see nothing wrong with the trend in the apparel being worn and the styles. My favorite colors are blue, yellow, and orange sometimes bark and other times bright. To say this is hurting or bad for the game of golf is wrong. When I first read the article headline I thought it was about the play or things that take place during the round like 6 hr rounds, 10 minute putting routines, have volunteers find or track their balls, or how players can’t play if they hear a noise. That I would have been more interested in reading.

  23. Brock

    Dec 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Completely agree with the article. We’re golfers…we’re not hip. You can’t go wrong with well-fitting, understated, and classic fashion.

    It’s also frustrating that this trend has carried over to drivers–Cobra, Callaway, TM are all ridiculously looking. Give me a classic looking head, like a 913D2. I don’t need white, blue, orange, or green on my driver.

  24. Jamie Linnell

    Dec 19, 2013 at 9:35 am

    No wonder golf is less inclusive than other sports and is showing a decline in participation. Thanks to this guy (who probably wears black or white polos with khaki pleated trousers) there will be less youngsters taking up the game in the future. Cheers for that.

    • John

      Dec 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Pleats are not in style at the moment.

    • Markymark032884

      Dec 21, 2013 at 1:32 am

      who exactly said that pleats will discourage youngsters from liking golf? not that I like pleats and who ever said anything about pleats being nice? that is a little off subject. Although when you started playing people were probably wearing pleats, and I think you still took up the game. If not you probably shouldn’t be leaving posts on this site.

      • Markymark032884

        Dec 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

        And actually Luke Donald and those guys are on the right tack with preserving a little of the style. Although ian poulter has the nicest outfit out of all of them. besides the figure skating shirt.

  25. Cab Callaway

    Dec 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    While I agree with most of this article and don’t care for flat brim hats, clown pants/loud pants or large belt buckles, I say to each their own. It’s entertaining from week to week to see who is the most ridiciously dressed.
    What I can’t stand is when I go to the course and see people wearing tee shirts, cut off jeans, blue jeans, etc.
    Another fad I’ve noticed more and more the past few years are people not tucking in their shirts, which makes most of them look like juvenille at best.
    Please tuck in your shirt and look like someone who cares about themselves and at least attempts to look like a golfer.
    If you can’t play good, you might as well try to look good.

  26. Regis

    Dec 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Too bad this apparent fad and apparently life has passed me by. I just forceably retired my collection of Plus Fours (Knickers). Had to throw them out-couldn’t even donate them to charity. I’m forced to stick with khaki’s and polo shirts for the forseeable future.

  27. Daniel

    Dec 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

    To me there are two different worlds, or at least there should be. The pro world and the regular world. In the pro world they can wear the neon bright clothes and shoes and ugly logos and whatever else they want. The flashy guys get noticed and that brings sponsors which makes the players more money.
    In the real world however, dressing like most tour pros just looks like you are trying too hard. Whenever I see a guy dressed like that at the course down the street, I shake my head.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if most tour pros dressed more like Luke Donald? I wonder if that would inspire the rest of us to try and have more of a classic look and not try and look like we fell out of a gumball machine.

  28. PuttQueen28

    Dec 18, 2013 at 9:11 am

    LPGA skirts are getting shorter and men’s pants are getting tighter. Like every other professional sport, the athleticism is outshined by the media marketing flash. Perfectly executed putts fall to the wayside of a cartoonish orange jumpsuit. But that’s what sells. This all might be a necessary evil to keep the sport alive and thriving in a overly stimulated society.

  29. Its not all just "who cares" golf was built around "caring" and tradition and rules

    Dec 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    First of all, let me say that I am in my 20’s and I’m not completely outraged by all of these things, but I do agree with this article 100%. The clown suits don’t belong on the golf course. Not that all bright colors are ugly looking, but yeah they are when you over do it. Kind of like your trying too hard to be cool and show that you’re young and hip; it just looks weird. And yes, the new fitted flat bill caps do look very different from the old regular ball caps in which people just didn’t bend the bill all the way. The new flat bills are a lame attempt to steal some style from hip hop artists and bring it to the golf course. They should maybe also put in some huge diamond ear rings and gold teeth. Flat bills only look cool when worn backwards in a relaxed place where the look kind of says “I don’t give a crap.” Keep them on the driving range/ batting cages/ mini golf course. If people want to wear them so be it, but when worn frontwards the only thing the flat bill caps are missing is a polka dot bow tie and a red nose that honks if you squeeze it. The thing about some of these outfits is that the materials used to make them (like polyester and spandex) when combined with a tight fit and a big white belt/ big buckle do look very similar to a power ranger or getting very close to a star trek uniform. All this does is make professional golfers look unprofessional. Golf was built around a certain set of rules and traditions and it shouldn’t be “lets change the game to get more people interested.” That sends the wrong message to young people. From a very young age I knew that golf was a gentleman’s game and that meant acting like a gentleman and a professional when on the course. Not wear whatever is popular or trendy and go whack the ball around! People say things change and its good to get more young people involved; I’m sure you could also get more young people involved if you played golf using potato launchers and the loser got a pie smashed in his face after the round (I know that’s a little outrageous) and yeah that sounds fun, but no, that’s not golf. You dress like a golfer and you shake hands and act like a gentleman afterwards. All of the professionalism and etiquette as a combination teaches you to respect the game, keep a true score and play by the rules.

    • Jamie Linnell

      Dec 19, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Yep, wearing an orange shirt definitely makes you respect the game less…….. 😉 What difference does it make to you if someone wears outrageous colours?

      • Markymark032884

        Dec 20, 2013 at 1:27 am

        nicely said Jamie Linnell, very good point although I didn’t mention anything about wearing orange shirts in this. I wear orange shirts, I love orange shirts. Why do half the people act like they don’t know what this article is about? Everyone knew when they started playing golf that there was a certain “Golf Attire” that went along with the game. Golf is not baseball or football or motocross or wrestling or hip hop even though im a fan of all those, and have participated in all of them besides the hip hop artistry, although one of my good friends is about to get real nice in the hip hop area (already opens for lil wayne)…. I like that when im done watching that stuff on tv I put my “golf gear” on and go play golf. Anyways first its big belt buckles, neon colors, skate sneakers and flat brims then that will down the road lead to tank tops and mohawks cut off shorts, show off your tattoos on your arms!.. sounds cool to me. We just need to keep it edgy and keep everyone interested. Do you think Arnold palmer and Jack Nicklaus’s mentors told them who cares do what you think is cool!? I can’t be completely sure but I think they probably didn’t. I just wish that wasn’t how people went about things today. A little off subject but it really seems like that attitude is doing a lot of good for our country as a whole right now.

        • Jason

          Dec 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm

          “Anyways first its big belt buckles, neon colors, skate sneakers and flat brims then that will down the road lead to tank tops and mohawks cut off shorts, show off your tattoos on your arms!.. sounds cool to me.” In logic, this is called the slippery slope fallacy. We also see a bit of the “black or white fallacy” at work here. There are more possible outcomes to these new clothing trends than are being described here.

          To the author of this article, I realize you are trying to generate page views and this Top 5 is simply you “stirring the pot.” Suggesting that large belt buckles aren’t traditional enough or splitting the hem at the bottom of a pair of trousers is “sloppy” is pretty glib.

          • John

            Dec 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

            I appreciate your feedback; everyone’s for that matter. Not all large belt buckles are unsightly, however. But “tackier” ones, like the one being sported by McIlroy above, are a bit unpleasant to look at.

          • Markymark032884

            Dec 21, 2013 at 1:17 am

            Thank you for quoting half my post here and misusing the word fallacy. This article and the comments people leave are about opinions. There really isn’t a true or false answer to somebody’s opinion so I don’t really believe there can be a fallacy, thank you for your input though. I might also say that glib wouldn’t be the best word to use here either because in fact it seems like the author genuinely cares about the subject. Maybe glib would be better used for all the people who post comments that say who cares dress however you like, whatever is cool and gets young people interested.

          • Markymark032884

            Dec 21, 2013 at 1:54 am

            And you should possibly describe some of your other possible outcomesto these new clothing trend ideas so I can better understand. I also do not believe this is the author stirring the pot. He simply expressed his opinion on these five trends. In which most real golf enthusiasts will agree. You know not the guys who just watch golf central and read taylormade adds on the latest thing happening on twitter, But real true golf enthusiasts that aren’t being paid to think a certain way. I might add that if puma wanted me to wear the ugliest clothing in the world and make a lot of money for doing so in this economy, Yes I would do it for sure but but that doesn’t mean I think its good for the game. As for now I am a non endorsed golfer and I will try to stay as true to the sports heritage as I can. Show your confidence with your game and not by how edgy you can dress.

  30. Blah, blah, blah

    Dec 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Who said you have to buy your clothes at a golf store? Each to their own, one likes orange, one likes grey. I don´t see the problem? I agree, that it´s quite bright within the clothing made for golf, but still cannot see what the problem is. The man who wants to be grey, be grey and the rest of you can wear orange?

  31. David F

    Dec 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Loud or bright-colored clothing can be ok when worn well, but not when worn as a solid outfit. The only clothing where the top and bottom should match is a suit (and possibly pyjamas). Looking like a big mango popsicle is not fashion. And for those who say ‘who cares’. Would you not look twice if someone rolled up to the first tee in cut-off jeans and a tanktop? Or for that matter if a player went full Harry Vardon in tweed jacket and knickerbockers? You may not care about if someone does the human lollipop, but you care.
    At the end of the day, the pros on tour get paid to wear what they do. If their sponsor wants them to wear logos or candy-colored pants, they will do so if they want the money. The rest of us don’t have that excuse…

  32. albatross85

    Dec 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    This is the most ridiculous article I have seen on this site. You pick Horschel as your coverboy for your argument, yet he wears some of the loudest and brightest colors. The slit looks good in a golf setting and does serve a function. Tiger is the best dressed on tour. Not many people could argue with that. Horschel and Scott wear clothes that are 2 sizes too small to play golf in.

    • John

      Dec 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      You can wear some eye catching colors, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating non stop dreariness on the course. But top and bottom neon outfits of the same color are a bit childish.

      I don’t think your outfit “out on the town” and your golf outfit should vary drastically.

    • Boss man

      Dec 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      Martin kaymer is the best dressed on tour.

    • Evan

      Dec 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      Tiger is NOT the best dressed on tour and I cringe every time someone says that. He is very manilla and middle of the road. He doesn’t do anything too conservative or too loud. He is Nike’s poster boy for their everyday/ accessible clothing. There are many guys who would stand out for fashion but not in a loud way, much more so than Tiger. Scott, Moore, Donald, GMac, Ishikawa, all have a distinct and different style but not loud like Poulter and not boring like Tiger.

      • John

        Dec 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm

        Evan, well said here. I’m also not crazy about the Nike clothing in general.

  33. Nice PR campaign

    Dec 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I noticed John, the author, has a five o clock shadow! Shall we duscuss the meaning of not being cleaned shaved for his picture?

  34. Nice PR campaign

    Dec 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Does the author want Loud Mouth to go out of business? Why did wrx publish this piece?

  35. Maksimus

    Dec 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I disagree with 95% of this article. I’m glad clothes today are more of a fitted, tailored fit. Because, let’s face it, pleated front, baggy khakis are terrible. Which bugs the hell out of me. To put it in perspective, the old men who hate flat bill hats, I feel the same way about your pants. Speaking of flat bills, I’ve seen more old men wearing flat bill hats that are precariously perched on their head than young guys. It is not nonchalant and cool for one and tacky and tasteless for another. They are the same hat worn almost the same way. The main difference is, ours don’t have the stupid strap and clamp that always seemed to come loose and flap about. Unless that’s what you think makes it cool… If that’s the case fashion isn’t your strong suit. The loud patterns need to stay, if for no other reason than they annoy certain people.

  36. Mat

    Dec 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    cur·mudg·eon [ kur mújj?n ]
    somebody who is irritable or stubborn: somebody considered to be bad-tempered, disagreeable, or stubborn
    Synonyms: bad-tempered, crabby, cantankerous, grouchy, grumpy, cranky, irritable, tetchy, testy, grumbly, irascible, peevish, moody

    • Rik

      Dec 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      Add in “running late”.

      I told them I’d be there for the photo for the dictionary picture, but ran late because this kid in loud clothing didn’t see it was my time on the tee box, because he was texting his cray-cray dude with his earbuds in. They tried to jump in on the blues in front of us and since I was walking and already back at the tips, he couldn’t see our group. After getting past him on the first hole, we were able to sample some awesome jams because he apparently went from the ear buds to the dr. Dre beat box which had no issue being heard from a hole away. I held back and asked what those cost. “Mine are $125, but for $200 you can get some stellar ones”. I pulled two Benjamin’s from my pocket and bought them. No more music, and the speakers should be at the bottom of the hazard on 4 by now.

      We played in the same gang this morning as he is the son of one of our regulars. Me, my khakis, and navy blue footjoy pullover shot 71 and assisted in beating the kid’s 79.

      All the commotion caused me to run about 10 minutes late to the photographer.

  37. Bobby

    Dec 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Back to Hogan grey and smoking cigs?

  38. Dan

    Dec 15, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Who would you rather play with, someone in loudmouths who is fun to play with and doesn’t take 6 hours to play 18 or someone who lives up to your BORING alleged fashion sense. I saw a guy hitting practice balls from the middle of a fairway this morning who was wearing cream and white. If the author hasn’t got a more relevant piece to publish than this, maybe he should be writing for the local newspaper…in the work wanted section

    • Mike Dingus

      Dec 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Sounds like you’re a little butt hurt there pal. What happened people didn’t want to be seen with you on the course while you were wearing circus attire? You know pretty much any garbage Puma spits out, etc…
      But, yeah I’d take grandpa out there rocking his traditional cream and white get-up before I’d play with a walking popsicle.
      The author gave his views, which I am in favor of as well. Sorry that he called out your entire wardrobe.

      Dingus

  39. bok006

    Dec 15, 2013 at 4:38 am

    The loud ridiculous golf clothes is definitely not new. See the general from Beetle Bailey for reference.

    Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren make the best looking outfits on tour, IMHO. Not sure if it would look good on Tim Herron or John Daly though, so it probably comes down to having players looking like athletes such as Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald wearing them.

  40. Sean

    Dec 15, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Agree with the pants thing as only women wear pants. Men wear trousers. 🙂 I like the slit though as I think it serves a function.

    Not a fan of large belt buckles, but if someone wants to wear one, no problem there.

    Don’t like golfers who dress like NASCAR drivers with all the adverts.

    The flat brim looks a bit dorky.

    Loud clothes? Hey if someone wants to dress like that what’s the harm?

  41. BigusTittus

    Dec 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Loud clothing????? What about the clothes from the 60’s and the 70’s???? All we’re doing is repeating what had happened in the past!!!! What’s the big deal??

  42. Eric

    Dec 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Loud clothing is a sign of the youth in the game. I think we can all agree the game will not grow without young people. If golfers wearing loud clothing, flat brimmed hats and other current off course fashion trends, brings more kids to the game, all the better. Its not like they are sagging or doing anything disrespectful. This isnt your dads, grandpas, great grandpas and soo on game anymore.
    Next all they need to do is lower the prices so lower income kids and young adults can enjoy the game.

    • Rik

      Dec 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      I think you scratch the surface of what could be a wonderfully interesting topic, perhaps one the staff here could explore:

      Should golf lower it’s cost and help the sport become more accessible or should it remain a sport for the few and hopefully inspire others to better themselves (intently left vague to spur discussion)and afford to be a part of the “club”?

      Clearly not a new idea or discussion, but nonetheless a potentially fun one to explore.

      Are you more of a Judge Smails or more of an Al Czervik?

    • J

      Dec 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      You can sport style without spending a fortune. A. Scott’s uniqlo line (19.90 per polo!) is quite affordable, and awesome, I think.

      And some of grandpa’s style was cool. Just ask Macklemore.

      I just think a bright blue outfit with a huge white belt/buckle makes you look like harry and lloyd from Dumb and Dumber.

    • Bailey

      Jan 6, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Eric you’ve hit the nail on the head here, i’m 17 years old I play off a 5 handicap not that it matters at all but i like what Rickie wears, it doesn’t mean that i’m going to go out there dressed in all orange. That is Rickie’s style, i wear bright coloured shirts and black trousers, when the weather is hot i put on my basketball shorts, i’ve been told that i’m one of the best dressed in the club. i can’t wear normal caps, they just don’t fit properly so i wear Puma flatbills i always dress tidy and if people choose to be annoyed at what i wear its their problem.
      Well said Eric.

  43. Evan

    Dec 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    John,

    Good opinion piece. Don’t listen to all of the “who cares what they wear” comments. As a multi- billion dollar industry, fashion does matter to a lot of people. These players are obviously dressing to be noticed, so criticism is warranted IMO.

  44. Andrew

    Dec 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you for publishing this article!
    Golf fashion has become a lot like NASCAR and is loosing it’s sense of class. I am extremely sick and tired of seeing people show up to the course in Orange and Purple from head to toe, wearing flat brim hats and looking like a billboard for ten different companies. I understand that things evolve and change over time and this has been good for the game. However, these ridiculous outfits need to stop! It does make me laugh when I see these people, they look like clowns!! I have also found that people who are embracing this have the worst attitude towards the game. We can all do our part to help bring back true style and class to the game of golf. Looking at the posts, I am quite shocked. Check out a couple of good books: How to be a Gentleman and A Gentleman Gets Dressed Up.
    We are all entitled to our individuality. It is my hope that we all express ourselves on the golf course with class, style, integrity and of course, our love for this great game!

  45. melrosegod

    Dec 14, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Wearing a snowman on your scorecard is bad fashion. Feel confident in what you wear, people get off different stops when they ride the fashion train. I do agree that some guys look a little “nascar” with their sponsors, but, make that money if you can. It would be boring if we had issued uniforms.

  46. Billy

    Dec 13, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Real Sellout is Ian Poulter, how many logos does he have on his pants and shirt?

    IJP, Some Time Warner cable crap.

    • Blah, blah, blah

      Dec 17, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      I wonder how many logos you would wear, getting paid doing it? Do you really care??? What would golf be today without the sponsors?

  47. Merty Huckle

    Dec 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    You should all stop having your own style and only listen to me.

    Articles like this say more about the author than actually give any advice. It’s sad.

  48. mifty

    Dec 13, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Bill Cunningham would say to wear what you like. Others be darned.

  49. You actually care?!?!?!

    Dec 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    You guys genuinely care what other people are wearing?

    • Rik

      Dec 13, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Genuinely, yes, we care. Much the same way we care about who drags their feet on the green, who plays from the tees too far back for their ability, and who is holding up the group in front of us.

      • Carl

        Dec 14, 2013 at 12:03 am

        Ok, spike marks can have an effect on your put. Slow play can obviously effect a good round or your rhythm. How is exactly does a guy wearing a flat bill or loud colors have any effect on you? What exactly is there to care about when it comes to that?

      • Barbara Streisand

        Dec 14, 2013 at 1:51 am

        If you care what other people wear… It makes a statement about you…. Not them… What exactly that statement is… Is up for debate

      • melrosegod

        Dec 14, 2013 at 8:55 am

        You have a great life Rik, concerning yourself with the fashion of others. A nice stress free life, I envy you.

        • Markymark032884

          Dec 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

          You have a great life melrosegod, concerning yourself with Rik’s view of the fashion of others. A nice stress free life, I envy you.

          Comments like these are so awesome awesome

    • Ken

      Dec 13, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      NO! If I care a little too deeply what the other guy is wearing, I may find a good therapist.

  50. Anthony Maccioli

    Dec 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Never actually noticed the slit in the pants. Doesn’t bother me though at all. Flat brims are here to stay. It really depends on who is wearing them though. Personally, they don’t look weird at all on a Hunter Mahan but it does on Charlie Hoffman. There is nothing wrong with loud clothes. If you don’t like it, dont wear it. It is a sign of confidence. I don’t see the problem with them. Its a taste thing,but its weird that you never hear people that wear loud clothing making articles about how its wrong that people don’t wear loud clothing…

    • Rik

      Dec 13, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Funny how you chose the verb “hear” as the action word for people with “loud” clothing. We “hear” them loudly, clearly, and far too often. Nice article,John. I enjoyed reading it.

    • christian

      Dec 13, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      To me it’s a sign of no confidence, trying to look “trendy” when you are not. Only in Fowlers case is it looking confident, the other just look like “I’m a wannabee 20 year old although I’m 40 with a pot belly”

      • Steff

        Dec 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

        I agree with Christian. Its a sign of insicuirity and it is super ugly. Where do you draw the line, should it be ok to ware t-shirts and whife beaters or to play not waring a shirt at all? To me looking as Fowler or Mahan is just as bad!

    • Markymark032884

      Dec 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Who told you that wearing loud clothing is a sign of confidence? Was it a Puma or an Adidas magazine add? maybe under armour. Just as Christian said it is more a lack of confidence. Its all just marketing.

      • PuttQueen28

        Dec 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        Who told Tiger to wear red on Sundays?

        • Markymark032884

          Dec 20, 2013 at 1:40 am

          That’s what im talking about when tiger wares red it really is a sign of confidence because he is making a statement that means something. He is saying that when he wears red on sunday, that every round he plays on Sunday’s he will score in the “red” numbers or (under par). He didn’t just wear bright blue because a psychologist in marketing told him you will look edgier and more confident.

          • Bailey

            Jan 6, 2014 at 7:24 pm

            doesn’t tiger wear red because he went to Stanford?
            Just like why Rickie wears orange because he went to OSU?

        • Markymark032884

          Dec 20, 2013 at 1:41 am

          Thank you for bringing that up.

  51. Sam

    Dec 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    I agree with #3. When did golf become NASCAR??? Jim F needs to take a look at what he’s putting on his shirts. He makes enough $$ where he should be able to pick better companies. Do you think the PGA (or LPGA) will ever tell the players they need to limit the number of logos they have have on their clothing?

    Maybe what Nike is doing is a great thing, where their staff players aren’t allowed to have any other logos on their clothing, except their bag (or whatever bag) they carry.

  52. tlc

    Dec 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Add the wide white belt … it’s unbecoming of a man, especially on a fat one. Golf attire in general really is not fashion. It has become a uniform of slacks, polo shirt, baseball cap. Players try to add variety with patterns and colors, the ostentatious belt and belt buckle, etc. Wearing golf attire beyond the golf course is akin to wearing your favorite team jersey in public.

  53. MJG

    Dec 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    In regards to #5. The slit in the side of the pants is so that the cuff or bottom of the pant will expand enough to cover the laces on ones shoes. This, as far as I’m concerned is functional as well as good looking.

    I’m not a fan of pants that look so tight at the bottom, that they don’t cover any of the shoe and bulge.

    • J

      Dec 13, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      IMHO, pants should not cover your laces. This is neither functional nor good looking.

      • Brian

        Dec 13, 2013 at 8:35 pm

        So ur saying pants should either be skinny so that the cuff stops at the shoes top. Or are u saying the pants shouldn’t even touch the laces as in being that short?

        The latter would lead to people asking if you are expecting a flood

        • J

          Dec 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm

          I think the flared look achieved by slit pants is a bit curious. The pics above of A.Scott and Horschel, I think, show a proper pant fit.

          • J Hite

            Dec 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm

            I personally think a small flare to pants looks better than the Adam Scott picture above. He is very well dressed, but if your shoes are not covered up at all and you wear over a size 9 then it leads to a clown shoe look. Just my opinion though.

    • JL

      Dec 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

      The slit thing is terrible. If say someone wore that with a suit I’d laugh. I don’t see how it matters with performance so that’s a style choice by me. If that’s something you invent just for golf and has no function… then… yeah. Choice is yours.

  54. MJG

    Dec 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Sorry to say but, the flat bill is here to stay. It’s been a baseball thing for the past 5 years and has trickled into golf. If you knew anything about fashion you would know that it is, and always will be circular. What was vintage is now todays pop. Get over it.

    • rntolent

      Dec 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      ^^ This. Baseball players, athletes, urbanites and youth alike will sport them. I rock a snapback with Ray Bans, plaid button up with some slim khakis and my koston swingtips. People on the range are pretty shocked when they see me stripe it. I’m a wannabe hipster golfer.

      • J

        Dec 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm

        I support this actually. Your outfit probably rocks and has originality.

    • Merty Huckle

      Dec 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      It’s been in Baseball a lot longer than five years.

  55. Carl

    Dec 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    For those of you that haven’t noticed, it’s nearly the year 2014, not 1822. As with every other aspect in life, things change and evolve with the times. Not always for the better of course. Accept it and move on you old school farts! Wear whatever you wish to spend your money on, who cares about what the next guy is doing?? Stop.worrying.about.others!!!!!!!

  56. Roger

    Dec 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Chi Chi has Class !! Rocky Fowler is a great Role Model to the younger generation. Gold should stay in the Bank!
    Nothing wrong with a Bright Polo design now and then!
    Another over 50 here
    Merry Xmas!

  57. drbloor

    Dec 13, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Arnie’s and Chi-Chi’s outfits say “I’m going to kick your butt from the first tee straight through to the eighteenth green.”

    I am uncertain as to what Messrs Poulter’s, Daly’s and Fowler’s clothing says.

    /old guy rant

  58. Paddy

    Dec 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Arnie and Chi Chi looked pretty sharp except for Arnie’s smoking.

  59. Paul

    Dec 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I say dress the way you want! If you feel comfortable in bright or khaki clothes wear them. This is an absolute rediculous article. Don’t we have enough crap in this world to deal with? Dress the way you like!!

    • matthew del

      Dec 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Paul –
      This type of commentary is needed to save us all. Easy does it.

  60. Claude

    Dec 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I agree 100%. Especialy the flat brim hats sunk down to the ears… They look silly and almost Walmartian 🙂

    • Brock

      Dec 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Especially on a dude (Mahan) who’s 30-something years old. Time to grow up.

  61. Doug

    Dec 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Do not agree with #1 we play golf to have fun and Loud clothes are fun so I say bring on more Loud clothes in 2014!!!

    • John Iaciofano

      Dec 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Fun and confidence is indeed an unparalleled golf accessory.

  62. Andrew Adamonis

    Dec 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Cant agree on #5. Its useful to accommodate certain shoes. All others are spot on.

    • Xreb

      Dec 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Was about to point this out to the author….

  63. DB

    Dec 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Completely agree with everything except #5. A slit in the pant leg? Who cares…?

    • John Iaciofano

      Dec 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Arguably, all of this could be answered with “who cares” but the slit looks sloppy, i think. I would not wear pants normally with slits in the them; golf style should not be much different.

      • Xreb

        Dec 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm

        It looks sloppier when they bunch up at the shoes if they are not of proper length. Of course buying off the rack means it is rarely going to be right length and hence makes it look better IMHO. Also like another poster pointed out above the slits accommodate some wider shoes…

  64. snowman

    Dec 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    ok yes I’m over 50; however the last time I went thru the clothing area in my local big box golf store I was appalled at the offerings. 90% of the stuff was bright neon green, orange, etc. and as the article says even someone young and slim like fowler looks ridiculous in that stuff. I did see someone decked out in his orange/blue cobra/puma outfit at my local muni this summer and I actually felt embarrassed for the dude.

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Opinion & Analysis

The numbers behind “full scholarships” in NCAA men’s college golf

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If you are in the world of junior golf, you’ve probably heard about a young man you know who’s getting that coveted full ride to college, maybe even to a Power-5 school. With all the talk in junior golf about full scholarships, and a lot of rumors about how many are available, we decided to poll coaches and gather some real data about “full scholarships.”

So, what did we find out? In total, we got responses to a voluntary online survey from 61 men’s D1 coaches, 19 men’s D2 coaches and 3 NAIA coaches (83 total). On average, the coaches in the survey had 11.8 years of coaching experience. Of the coaches that responded, 58 of the 83 coaches reported having zero players on full ride. Another 15 coaches surveyed reported having one player on full ride. This means that 69 percent of the coaches surveyed reported zero players on full scholarship and 18 percent reported one player on full scholarship, while another four coaches reported that 20 percent of their team was on full ride and six coaches reported between 2-3 players on full ride.

We then asked coaches, “what percent of golfers in Division 1 do you think have full scholarships based on your best guess?” Here’s what the responses looked like: 25 coaches said 5 percent and 36 coaches said 10 percent. This means that 73 percent of respondents suggested that, in their opinion, in men’s Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA, there are less than 10 percent of players on full ride.

Next, we asked coaches, “what was a fair scholarship percentage to offer a player likely to play in your top 5?” The average of the 83 responses was 62.5 percent scholarship with 38 coaches (46 percent) suggesting they would give 30-50 percent and 43 coaches (52 percent) suggesting 50-75 percent. Only two coaches mentioned full scholarship.

The last question we asked coaches, was “what would you need to do to earn a full scholarship?”

  • Top-100 in NJGS/Top-250 in WAGR – 41 coaches (49 percent)
  • 250-700 in WAGR – 19 coaches (23 percent)
  • Most interesting, 17 coaches (20 percent) noted that they either did not give full rides or did not have the funding to give full rides.

The findings demonstrate that full rides among players at the men’s Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA levels are rare, likely making up less than 10 percent of total players. It also suggests that if you are a junior player looking for a full ride, you need to be exceptional; among the very best in your class.

Please note that the survey has limitations because it does not differentiate between athletic and academic money. The fact is several institutions have a distinct advantage of being able to “stack” academic and athletic aid to create the best financial packages. My intuition suggests that the coaches who responded suggesting they have several players on “full rides” are likely at places where they are easily able to package money. For example, a private institution like Mercer might give a student $12,000 for a certain GPA and SAT. This might amount to approximately 25 percent, but under the NCAA rules it does not count toward the coach’s 4.5 scholarships. Now for 75 percent athletic, the coach can give a player a full ride.

Maybe the most interesting finding of the data collection is the idea that many programs are not funded enough to offer full rides. The NCAA allows fully funded men’s Division 1 programs to have 4.5 scholarships, while Division 2 programs are allowed 3.6. My best guess suggests that a little more than 60 percent of men’s Division 1 programs have this full allotment of scholarship. In Division 2, my guess is that this number is a lot closer to 30 percent.

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Opinion & Analysis

Oh, To Be An (Oregon) Duck

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A few weeks ago I flew into Eugene, Oregon on a mission. I’d come to work with one my students who is a member of the Duck’s varsity golf team. I had never been further south than Seattle or further north than Monterey, so this part of the world was new to me.

What I did know was that the Bandon Dunes area had become a destination for some of the greatest golf in the world, rivaling other famed resorts around the country. The resort is just outside the quaint town of Bandon, which is a good two-hour drive from Eugene. The resort’s four courses — Bandon Dunes, Bandon Trails, Pacific Dunes, and Old McDonald — each have their own personality, but at the same time they have one thing in common: the four architects that designed them took full advantage of the natural topography, deftly weaving holes in and out along the Oregon coastline.

I was looking forward to playing two of the courses before leaving: Pacific Dunes and Old McDonald. You may find this hard to believe, but those two rounds would be my first and second of the year after a busy summer season on the lesson tee. And for that very reason, I had no expectations other than to make a few pars and enjoy the scenery.

After retrieving my luggage from the turnstile, I made my way toward the exit with luggage in tow. My rental car was just across the street in an open-air lot and as I pushed through the airport doors, I was greeted by a gust of wind and a spray of rain. “Welcome to Eugene,” I thought to myself.

The sudden burst reminded me of playing in Scotland, where the rain gives way to sun only on occasion. I surmised that the weather in the Eugene would be similar. “Don’t forget your rain suit,” a fellow professional reminded me when I told him about my trip. As it turned out, that was good advice. He had been there before around the same time of year. “You’ll be lucky if you get one good day out of three,” he said.

As I drove through the area to my hotel, what struck me the most were the large hills that commanded the landscape and the thick white clouds that seemed to cling to them like giant cotton balls.  I found a comfortable hotel just outside Eugene in the small but quaint town of Cottage Grove. In charitable terms, you could characterize my hotel as “a tribute to the past.”

I woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning, dressed and made my way downstairs to the lobby. The rain had continued through the night and as I prepared to leave the hotel,  it started to come down even harder. I stood in the lobby, waiting, while listening to the rain drops pounding on the roof,  a steady beat at first, then rising and falling like a conga drum.

I’d agreed to meet my student at 10 a.m. for a practice session and then he was slated to play nine holes with the team later in the afternoon. Based on the weather, I was concerned that the day might be a total rain-out. What I didn’t know at the time was that the school has a portable canopy that allowed the team, rain or shine, to practice on natural grass. I ran to my car ducking rain drops. The forecast called for a chance of sun in the afternoon. And this time the weather man was  right.

That afternoon I was invited to watch my student and the rest of Casey Martin’s boys play a quick nine holes at Eugene Country Club, the team’s home course. The layout is one of the most unusual that I’ve ever seen with giant trees bordering every fairway. The tips seemed to stretch up and up into the sky, piecing the low-hanging clouds above, as if they were marshmallows on a stick.

The Ducks have fielded a strong team the past two years, winning the NCAA Division 1 Championship in 2016 and then finishing second this year. A good deal of credit for that accomplishment goes to Casey Martin, who has coached the Ducks since 2006. For those who are too young to remember, Casey Martian was a teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford University. He later competed on the Nike Tour. Casey earned his PGA Tour card in 1999 by finishing 14th on the Nike Tour, but his earnings through the 2000 season were not enough for him to retain his card, relegating him to once again to playing on the development tour. He played sporadically up through 2006. The following year, Casey assumed the job of Head Coach, which brought him back to his native Eugene.

In earlier years, Martin’s play career as a professional was hindered by the fact that he could not play 18 holes without a golf cart due to a birth defect in his right leg. The PGA Tour Board ruled against his use of a cart, maintaining that the physical act of walking was considered an integral part of the competition. Believing that he was in the right, Casey filed a suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act. His case made its way to the Supreme Court where he won. As for his competitive record, by his own admonition, he is disappointed that he didn’t play better as a professional. A primary focus of his coaching then, as he conceded, is to teach his players not to make the same mistakes he did in his own career. What struck me as unique was the passion and intensity with which he coached. I would venture that it’s the same level of intensity that he brought to the golf course when he competed.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to watch a closed-door, defensive-team practice at Duke University with Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) on the floor. He had divided the team into two groups with one at either end of the court competing against each other. His legs straddled the center line as if he were Colossus with his head swiveling back and forth as if on a stick. The impression was that he saw everything and be never missed anything. And then when he saw a player make a mistake, he would blow his whistle sharply. The players would immediately stop moving as if they were frozen in place. And then, in peg-leg style, he would hobble across the floor favoring one leg over the other. He was clearly in need of a hip replacement at the time.

I’ve had both of my hips replaced, so I could easily imagine the pain that he was experiencing as he peg-legged it from the center of the court to either end. I suspected that he had decided that surgery would have to wait. The season was just a few weeks away, and given that his team was largely composed of freshman, he could not afford to miss a day. Casey Martin doesn’t blow a whistle, nor does he run a defense practice, but as he climbs out of his cart, deftly working his way to a vantage point where he can see his players from every angle, I’m reminded of the halting walk of Coach K.

There is something else that these two man share in common — an intense desire to win. They settle for nothing less than great. And when you look into their eyes, you can see that there is an intensity that burns from within that is vastly different from the man on the street.

As you might remember, I was scheduled to play a round on Pacific Dunes and another on Old McDonald. The two courses are both spectacular layouts with ocean views. And the weather… I drew two perfect days, defying the odds my friend had laid down. It was sunny and 65 degrees with just a hint of wind. How did I play? Let’s just say that I made a few pars. What I found was that striking the ball well is no guarantee that you will score low on these courses. The green complexes are diabolical. The best advice I can give you is to throw you scorecard away. You’ll enjoy yourself more.

The next morning, I was on an early morning flight back to Minneapolis only to discover that we were experiencing Indian Summer with temperatures 20 degrees warmer than usual. But as Minnesotans, we all know what is waiting for us just around the corner.

I’ll leave you with this thought. After watching Casey Martin and the players on his team play and practice, I’m sure of one thing. And that’s when next year’s NCAA Championship comes around, Casey Martin will have all of his Ducks in a row.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Kids Are Alright: Spike in Junior Golf Participation a Good Sign for Game’s Future

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This week, eight 10-player All-Star teams representing regions from across the country will converge upon Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., to compete in the 6th PGA Junior League Championship.

The teams – New Hampshire (Northeast), California (West), Georgia (Southeast), Ohio (Mideast), Illinois (Midwest), New Jersey (Mid-Atlantic), Arkansas (Mississippi Valley), and Texas (Southwest) – will be divided into two divisions where they will face off in round-robin, 9-hole matches using a two-person, scramble format of play. Teams are captained by PGA/LPGA Professionals.

Since the PGA of America launched PGA Junior League in 2012, participation has skyrocketed from about 1,800 players the first year to a record-setting 42,000 boys and girls age 13 and under participating on 3,400 teams across the country this year.

“Junior golf is a key priority of the PGA of America and we recognize that increasing youth participation in the game is essential to the future of our industry and sport,” said Suzy Whaley, PGA of America Vice President and PGA Director of Instruction at Suzy Whaley Golf in Connecticut.

“PGA Jr. League is a fun and welcoming opportunity for boys and girls of all backgrounds and skill levels to learn, play, and love golf under the expert instruction and guidance of PGA and LPGA Professionals. It’s team-oriented and kids wear numbered jerseys. It’s transforming traditional junior golf and the numbers prove it.”

Whaley believes the team concept and scramble format are major factors in PGA Jr. League’s rapid growth over the last five years. In fact, she says, the program is re-shaping the golf industry’s view of the way junior golf is typically learned and played.

“Other youth sports have been utilizing the team format for years and it’s a natural fit for golf,” said Whaley, who has taken three teams to the Jr. League Championships. “The scramble format provides for a low-pressure environment. We’ve created a team atmosphere that has broad appeal. Parents and kids enjoy being a part of the community that PGA/LPGA Professional Captains create. In this team setting, older, more experienced players mentor the younger, beginner golfers. There’s no pressure on any one player, and it’s great to see kids pull for one another versus the individual focus generally associated with golf.”

“It is a program that creates a family-centered atmosphere that encourages mom, dad, brothers, sisters, and grandparents to become involved, as well. During PGA Jr. League matches, the parents are part of the match keeping score, posting photos on social media and encouraging all players. PGA Jr. League grows lifetime interest in the game across multiple generations.”

Matthew Doyle of the Connecticut team gathers for a photo with team captain, Suzy Whaley during session three for the 2016 PGA jr. League Golf Championship presented by National Rental Car held at Grayhawk Golf Club on November 20, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Traci Edwards/PGA of America)

Fourteen-year-old Cullen Laberge from Farmington, Conn., is a student in the Suzy Whaley Golf program and has competed at the PGA Jr. League Championships for Team Connecticut. Laberge has been playing for four years and says his Jr. League experience really sparked his interest in the game and his desire to become a better player and ultimately a golf teacher one day.

“It has taught me so much about golf, while keeping it fun and interesting,” Laberge said. “The thing I enjoy the most is playing competitive golf without the stress that tournament golf can sometimes bring. No matter age or skill level, Jr. League keeps it fun and no matter how a player is playing there is another player to pick them up. That national championship was the best experience of my life. It was like I was playing on the PGA Tour. I loved the amazing competition; those players were good.”

And it’s not just golf’s executives and Jr. League participants who have taken notice of the program’s growth and the ultimate importance that growth represents for the future of the game. PGA and LPGA professionals including Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler, Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie have all joined as ambassadors for the program.

“I want to do everything I can to be a positive influence on kids who are interested in the game and serving as an ambassador for PGA Jr. League is a great fit,” said Wie. “There are so many lessons that kids can learn and that adults can reinforce through the game of golf – good sportsmanship, honesty, integrity, work ethic. Golf can help you learn how to react when things don’t go your way which I think is a really important skill to have in life.”

“Golf can definitely mirror life. You can work incredibly hard and still fall short, but how do you bounce back? How do you overcome a mistake or a bad break and still succeed? It’s important for kids to grow up with a good work ethic and the right attitude to face challenges. Golf is a great game to teach those lessons.”

Copyright Picture : Mark Pain / IMG (www.markpain.com)

Wie says the more inclusive and welcoming the golf community in general can be, the better.

“Especially as a young female, I have experienced plenty of times where I did not feel welcome or felt like I had to prove myself more than the guys did,” Wie said. “Golf is a game that should be available to everyone and I think it’s important to make it accessible to kids whether they are a future tour pro or a future 20-handicapper.”

The folks over at the USGA know a thing or two about growing the game and making it more accessible and they should, they’ve been doing it since the association’s founding in 1894.

The inaugural three USGA championships – the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1895 – did not have age limits, each simply aiming to identify the champion golfer. In 1948, the USGA held the first United States Junior Amateur solely open to players under the age of 18 and just one year later the association conducted the first United States Girls’ Junior Championship.

In addition to helping fund The First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and the Drive, Chip and Putt Championships, the USGA recently introduced its “For the Good of the Game” grant program to promote a more welcoming and accessible game at the local level with millions of dollars offered to local communities to build programs.

“The greatest misperception is accessibility,” says Beth Major, Director of Community Outreach at the USGA. “Two-thirds of all golf courses in America are open to the public. Kids and parents still believe it is a country club sport and we need to change that.”

Founded in 2013 as a joint initiative between the USGA, the Masters Tournament, and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free nationwide junior golf competition for boys and girls ages 7-15 aimed at growing the game. Participants who advance through local, sub-regional and regional qualifying earn a place in the National Finals, which is conducted the Sunday before The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

Drive, Chip and Putt qualifying is offered in all 50 states and participation in the event has increased each year.

“We have a great partnership with our friends at the PGA of America and the Masters Tournament,” Major said. “Our leaders realized that by pooling our resources at the national level while activating at the local level, we could quickly scale the program and get more kids involved.”

“Going into our sixth year, it is amazing to see how far the program has grown and the entry point we’ve created together to keep our youth engaged. We look forward to continuing to evolve the program to welcome more youth to the sport.”

The USGA, in partnership with the LPGA, the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America, and the PGA TOUR, founded The First Tee in 1997 specifically to answer the call for diversity and inclusion. The program has welcomed millions of new players to the game in the past 20 years by focusing not only on teaching golf skills but life and social skills such as etiquette, honesty, respect, confidence and responsibility.

Founded in 1989, the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program is aimed at girls ages 6-17 and has played a critical role in not only welcoming girls and women to the game, but perhaps equally importantly keeping them in the game.

“Statistics continually show us that the social aspects of the game drive girls and women to play golf,” Major said. “That sense of camaraderie and building friends greatly outweighs their need to compete at the entry level. LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, quite simply, has made it fun and cool for girls to play – and play together. And the results are astounding. We have traced more than 100 girls who started in an LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program that played in a USGA championship last year. They have not only introduced the game to girls and young women, they kept them in the game, and that is very exciting and inspiring.”

One company is tackling growth of the game from another angle – the equipment side.

Since its very beginning back in 1997, U.S. Kids Golf has been focused on its mission, “To help kids have fun learning the lifelong game of golf and to encourage family interaction that builds lasting memories.

To that end, the company began developing youth clubs starting out with just three sizes and one product line initially.

“Over time, through watching youth golfers, we came to realize that we were not serving them as well as we would like,” said Dan Van Horn, U.S. Kids Golf founder. “Looking at how the best players in the world – LPGA and PGA Tour – are fit for clubs, we discovered the proportion of their drive length to height was from 60-70 percent. From that we created what we term the ‘2/3 solution.’ Simply put, for every 3 inches a player grows, we offer a set that has a driver that is 2 inches longer.”

Importantly, it is not just the length of the clubs that increase as the player grows but also the overall club weight, grip size and shaft stiffness. At the same time, the loft on woods decreases providing additional distance.

“One of the key benefits of correctly fit clubs that are lightweight is the ability for players to learn a correct and powerful swing at a young age,” Van Horn said. “Clubs that are too long and/or heavy slows the golf swing itself and creates bad habits that are difficult to change later in life.”

Beyond the importance of young golfers needing properly fit equipment, Van Horn believes strongly in the need for juniors to compete in tournament play to facilitate aspirational goals and to measure progress. Going hand in hand with this is proper instruction from coaches who understand how young players learn and develop.

“After a few years of producing equipment, we realized more needed to be done to serve our market so we formed a nonprofit foundation,” Van Horn said. “Immediately we created our World Championship in 2000 so that young golfers would have an aspirational goal, much like the Little League World Series is to baseball players. We also realized that golf professionals and coaches lacked an organized incentive-based learning program to truly engage players in the game so we created one that same year.”

A longtime proponent of having players play from appropriate yardages, U.S. Kids Golf developed the Longleaf Tee System which uses a mathematical formula to “scale” any golf course for up to eight different tee locations per hole so all players have options based upon how far they carry the ball with a driver. Yardages start at 3,200 yards for 18 holes and increase up to Tour distances of 7,400 yards.

“What we need is a focus by all golf facilities and coaches to provide quality, enjoyable experiences to our youth,” Van Horn said. “This means incorporating game-based learning with a measurable, learning program so that players and their parents know how they are progressing. And, of course, shorter tees need to be available so we can get kids on a ‘field’ that fits them like other sports. There’s no question it can be done.”

The National Golf Foundation’s annual report for 2016 revealed that participation in junior golf programs remained steady at 2.9 million likely due in part to the success of the programs mentioned above and others just like them. Importantly, the number of female junior golfers has increased to a third of all participants and the number of non-Caucasion players has risen to a quarter, four times what it was a couple of decades ago.

While time will ultimately judge whether these programs and offerings serve not only to retain current players but continue to attract new ones, the state of junior golf in the country appears strong and on the right track for now. 

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