Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

GolfWRX gets trendy: The Ashworth Style Experience

Published

on

By Zak Kozuchowski

GolfWRX Managing Editor

Golf clothes are like swing tips. No matter how many a golfer has, they always seem to need new ones.

But sometimes, new swing tips are no better than old swing tips. Old patterns return, despite a golfer’s best effort to change them. The same is true of golf fashion. Golfers tend become comfortable with their style, even if it’s limiting their look. And for the sake of comfort, they often make similar mistakes when deciding on new apparel from their local golf retailer.

That’s why Ashworth decided to send four GolfWRX contest winners on an all-expenses-paid trip to the United Kingdom that they dubbed the “Ashworth Style Experience.” The premise – receive a golf fashion makeover from golf’s leading fashion authority, “Mr. Style” Marty Hackel. Other perks included three nights at the Pennyhill Park Hotel, a five-star resort and spa, a round of golf, tickets to Tuesday’s practice round of the BMW Championship at Wentworth, a tour of the TaylorMade’s European Tour Van and the best food and drink Surrey, England, had to offer.

Ashworth is best known as the clothing sponsor of Freddy Couples, who brought attention to the brand when he was at his golfing peak in the early 1990s. TaylorMade-Adidas golf purchased Ashworth in 2008, and has since worked to revitalize the brand. Ashworth’s latest line has its sights set on 35-to-55 year olds, but thanks to its revamped cuts, fabrics, patterns and color options, Ashworth should please a wider audience.

The contest winners ranged in age from 34 to 42. Each was from a different part of the United States and had different tastes in fashion. Yet with the help of Mr. Hackel, they all left the UK with a fall wardrobe that suited their lifestyles and body types.

On Monday, the contest winners set out for North Hants Golf Club, the club where Justin Rose honed his world-class game as a teenager. They played 18 holes of golf, which was followed with a party that welcomed Rose as the lead ambassador of the Ashworth brand. The guys had a few pints, English-style fish and chips, and some one-on-one time with Rose himself.

Click here to see the photos.

At the event, Rose said that he was excited with the modern elements of Ashworth’s new line, such as the slimmer fitting shirt he wore at the event, a red dual-front pocket design that is much different that the oversized shirts that Couples popularized years ago.

“I think there’s some really clean looks to [the Ashworth line],” Rose said. “It’s also still very classic … I think it can transfer both on and on the golf course. I’d be very comfortable wearing this shirt with a pair of jeans.”

During the style makeover on Tuesday morning, Hackel echoed the importance of versatility in a golfer’s wardrobe. Darrin, a contest winner from New York who works in the medical field, is forced to play much of his golf after he leaves the office. For him, Hackel recommended self-collar polos, a shirt that employs the same material in the collar as it does in the body of the shirt. Hackel said that self-collar shirts are dressier, and more appropriate in an office or restaurant setting. A knit collar, which uses a different material in the collar than in the body of the shirt, provides a golfer with fewer options, Hackel said.

“With knit collars, you’re pretty much limited to the golf course,” Hackel said. “We want you to spend your money on things that give you more versatility.”

Casey, a banker from Tennessee, had been a fan of Ashworth clothing for years. But his shorter stature was a problem for him when buying shirts. Hackel recommended that Casey pay special attention to where the seams of his golf shirts rested on his shoulder. If the seam rested below hs shoulder, not only would his golf shirts appear too large, but they would also inhibit his shoulder movement during the swing.

“A lot of golfers think they need a fuller garment to be able to swing,” Hackel said.  “But exactly the opposite is true. With bigger armholes, the entire shirt tends to move, which does not make the shirt more comfortable. They higher [and smaller] the armhole, the easier your arm can move without the product moving.”

Chas, the tallest of the contest winners with the broadest shoulders, learned from Hackel that it was not just the cut of a golf shirt that was important. Color plays a role as well. Hackel advised Chas not to go too dark in his shirt color choices, as it has a tendency to throw off the proportion of his upper and lower body. By dressing in light-colored shirts and darker-colored pants, Chas could streamline his physique and better accentuate his long torso.

Hackel had a recommendation for Chas’ pants as well. Because of Chas’ 12.5 shoe size, he was often conscious of how large his feet looked when he wore slimmer-fitting pants. Marty steered Chaz away from pants that he said he would have bought. He told him that he needed at least a 17-inch cuff [European-styled pants often have a cuff as narrow as 15 inches], which would make his feet look proportionate with the rest of his body.

Jim, a Michigander who specializes in graphic design for an advertising agency, was in violation of Hackel’s 34-inch rule, which deals with white belts.

“We think the white belt is gone,” Hackel said. “The 34-inch rule means that if your waist is larger than 34 inches, you can only wear a white belt if it’s attached to a badge or a holster.”

Jim said that because of his larger waist size, he stayed away from brown and black belts with light-colored pants because he said they drew attention to his midsection. He felt that a white belt limited this contrast, and made him look slimmer. Hackel said that a white belt has nearly the same effect as black and brown belts. According to Hackel, the only way to truly draw attention away from Jim’s midsection was to opt for a belt that matched the color of his pants as closely as possible. For Jim, he recommended khacki-colored belts, especially those made of cloth, which would help keep him cool during the hot Michigan summers.

Jim, who studied art as an undergraduate, preferred to wear clothing with louder patterns, which was another habit from which Hackel steered him away. Hackel wanted Jim to dress with as little contrast as possible, a scheme that would provide a silhouetting effect.

It was clear, however, that Jim wanted to have some fun with his outfits, and Hackel embraced that. He urged Jim to show off his personality through accessories, such as bold socks, shoes and watches.

An area of fashion that Hackel has welcomed has been hybrid golf shoes, such as the Ashworth Cardiff model that Justin Rose will wear this weekend at Wentworth. Each shoe has a strong accent color on its rubber outsole, which a golfer can highlight with a matching pair of laces.

“We want golfers to stay in their comfort zone, but we also want them to show off their personality,” Hackel said. “That’s why Rickie Fowler gets a pass with his orange outfits and white belts. That’s his personality. But it’s not for everyone. You can’t worry about what you’re wearing. If you stop by a window or a mirror and look at what you’re wearing for more then 10 seconds, go back and change. You’re not going to feel comfortable in it.”

Click here for more discussion in the “Golf style and fashion” forum.

Click here to see the photos.

You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz and GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

Continue Reading
4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Truther

    Jun 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    M Hackel is allowed to offer an opinion. The problem is that many who are unable to think for themselves may end up taking his opinions as gospel, when his ideas are the furthest thing from it.

    If you were to listen to Hackel, then John Daly shouldn’t be allowed to wear anything stylish at all.

    My advice: wear whatever makes you feel comfortable.

  2. Pingback: Registered Voters In Tennessee•Tennessee Registered Voters List•Voter Database

  3. Pingback: Tennessee Campaign Database•Tennessee Registered Voters List•Voter Database

  4. oiler69

    May 30, 2012 at 2:19 am

    I have two things to say about this subject: 1.) Waaaay too much attention is paid to fashion, style in golf apparel. It has been my observation that the more effort and money one spends on the golf wardrobe the worse the player (and the more annoying the individual), and, 2.) Mr. Couples has better taste than Mr. Hackel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Podcasts

Jason Day’s performance coach, Jason Goldsmith, joins the 19th hole

Published

on

In this episode of the 19th Hole, Jason Goldsmith of FocusBand talks about how the breakthrough technology has helped PGA Tour stars Jason Day and Justin Rose to major wins. Also, host Michael Williams gives his take on Tiger Woods’ return to golf.

Click here to listen on iTunes!

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Courses

Ari’s Course Reviews: Oakmont Country Club

Published

on

Editor’s Note: Ari Techner is a well-traveled, golf-course connoisseur who’s setting out to review the best golf courses in the world. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are his own. 

Oakmont Country Club. The name alone strikes fear into the heart of any mortal golfer. Oakmont has a reputation for difficulty unmatched in the golf world; it’s fear forged in the public’s eye while watching best players in the world struggle during the U.S. Open every 10-plus years or so. There is a notion that Oakmont could hold a U.S. Open just about any day of the year. This is not a course that needs to be tweaked from its daily setup to test the best in the world.

All that said, a close look at the course reveals that there is so much more to Oakmont than just difficulty. Since around 1950, MANY courses have been built with the dilebrate intention of holding a U.S. Open. Most, if not all, of these courses are filled with water hazards, extremely long holes and very little variety. Oakmont is the exact opposite of that, and this is what is at the core of its greatness.

A view from the ninth fairway

Oakmont Country Club first opened in 1903 and was designed by Henry Fownes, who built it because he felt the other courses around Pittsburgh were not difficult enough. The course was constantly tweaked in the early years by Fownes and his son William. Both Fownes were accomplished players with William winning the U.S. Amateur in 1910 and serving as the playing captain of the first U.S. Walker Cup team in 1922.

Trees, or no trees?

The 18th tee

The course was extremely influential in the development of early golf courses in America. It was equally influential in future years by setting trends that have changed the way many other courses have evolved. When Oakmont opened, it was built in an open field and had no trees on the course, adding to the links-like flavor that Fownes wanted from his visits overseas. In the 1950s (after all the Fownes had left the club) Oakmont added thousands of non-native trees to line the corridors of the holes, a look that was a heavy trend of the time. This work was mostly done by Robert Trent Jones, who also modified the bunkers to fit more of his style of the time.

The course continued to evolve over the years with the bunkers being restored by Tom Fazio… but the trees remained. In preparation for the 2008 U.S. Open, Oakmont cut down thousands of trees, returning the course to its open, windswept origins. This was very controversial among the members, and much of the work was done in the middle of the night in the off-season so as not to cause a big stir. After 2008, thousands more trees have been cut down, opening all of the amazing long views across the property. You can see almost every hole on the property from just about every spot on the course. Oakmont was the first course to embrace this massive tree removal and it has turned into a trend with hundreds of classic courses removing their non-native trees and going back to their more open original layouts.

Oakmont is the only course that Fownes designed and I believe that contributes greatly to its uniqueness. Fownes’ version of difficulty did not include artificial water hazards, out of bounds or excessive bunkering fronting greens, and it did not rely simply on longer-than-average holes to challenge the golfer. Instead, it has an amazingly varied mix of holes that challenge the golfer in a variety of ways both mentally and physically. Overall, the course requires you to be a straight driver of the ball, a good iron player and to have a deft short game and putting touch. You also need to be able to think your way around the course while you execute the shots you choose at a high level.

A good variety

Oakmont has its share of length with long par 4s, such as hole Nos. 1, 10, 15 and 18, the monster par-5 12th and long par 3s such as Nos. 8 and 16.  What sets the course apart to me, however, are the short holes and the holes that require strategic decision-making off the tee. These include short par 4s such Nos. 2, 11 and 17 and mid-length par 4s including Nos. 5 and 14.  These holes can be just as difficult as the long ones, and they require a completely different skill set.  The short par-3 13th and short par-5 9th (plays as a par 4 for the U.S. Open) round out what is an amazing set of shorter holes.

A view of the ninth fairway from across the Pennsylvania Turnpike

The course uses the natural movement of the site very well and has a tight, extremely walkable routing despite being bisected by the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the bottom of the hill in the middle of the property. I particularly love the fallaway greens at 1, 10, 12, and to a lesser degree 3 and 15 where the front of the green is higher than the back. This is a unique look that you do not see in the USA very often. Without the little backboard that a back-to-front sloping green provides, you must hit the ball solid or execute a well played run-up shot to hold the green. The short par 4s temp the long hitter just enough to make them think about hitting driver, but wayward shots are punished enough to make most think twice. The 17th, at a little under 300 yards, could be the hardest hole on the course, and yet it is definitely drivable for the right player who hits a great drive. The small and extremely narrow green requires a short shot be hit the perfect distance if you decide to lay up to the right down the fairway. Hit it even a little short and you end up in the aptly named “Big Mouth” bunker which is extremely deep. Hit it a hair long or with not enough spin to hold the green and you end up rolling over the green into one of a few smaller bunkers. Carry the bunkers on the left side off the tee into the sliver of fairway up by the green and you have a short, open shot from a much better angle into the fatter part of the green. Such risk/reward and great use of angles is paramount to Oakmont’s genius.

Green complexes are…complex

The green on the 18th hole

Oakmont also sports one of the best sets of greens anywhere in the world.  They are all heavily contoured and very challenging, yet playable. You can certainly make putts out there if you are putting well, but get on the wrong side of the hole and you are left with an extremely difficult, but rarely impossible 2 putt. They are also very unique due to Fownes only designing one course, as they do not look like any other classic course; they have a feel all their own. They are mostly open in front, coming from the correct angle, and they have many squarish edges. They also cut the tight fringe far back into the fairway, which aids in run-up shots; it also gives a great look where the green and the fairway blend together seamlessly.

The bunkering is also very unique and very special… and they are true hazards. Find yourself in a fairway bunker off the tee, and you are likely wedging out without much of any chance of reaching the greens. The green-side bunkers are fearsome, very deep and difficult. The construction of the bunkers is unique too — most of them have very steep and tall faces that were built up in the line of play. Oakmont is also home to one of the most famous bunkers in golf; the “Church Pews” bunkers — a large, long rectangular bunker between the fairways of holes 3 and 4 with strips of grass in the middle like the pews in a church. There is also a smaller “Church Pews” bunker left of the fairway off the tee on hole 15. Hit it into one of these two bunkers and good luck finding a descent lie.

Ari’s last word

All-in-all, along with being one of the hardest courses in the world, Oakmont is also one of the best courses in the world. It is hard enough to challenge even the best players in the world day-in and day-out, but it can easily be played by a 15-handicap without losing a ball. It is extremely unique and varied and requires you to use every club in your bag along with your brain to be successful. Add that to a club that has as much history as any other in the county, and Oakmont is one of golf’s incredibly special places.

Your Reaction?
  • 36
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW4
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Courses

Coming Up: A Big Golf Adventure

Published

on

My name is Jacob Sjöman, and I’m a 35-year-old golf photographer who also enjoys the game we all love. I will be sharing some experiences here on a big golf trip that we are doing. With me I’ve got my friend Johan. I will introduce him properly later, but he is quite a funny character. According to Johan, he is the best golf photo assistant in the world, and we will see about that since this is probably his biggest test yet doing this trip. Previously on our trips, Johan almost got us killed in Dubai with a lack of driving skills. He also missed a recent evening photo shoot in Bulgaria while having a few beers too many… and that’s not all.

Anyway, the last couple of days I’ve been packing my bags over and over. I came home from the Canary Islands this Sunday and I’ve been constantly checking and rechecking that we’ve got all the required equipment, batteries, and that the cameras are 100 percent functional and good to go for this golf trip. I’m still not sure, but in a couple of minutes I will be sitting in a taxi to the airport and there will be no turning back.

Where are we going then? We are going to visit some of the very best golf courses in New Zealand and Australia. There will be breathtaking golf on cliffsides, jaw-dropping scenic courses, and some hidden gems. And probably a big amount of lost balls with a lot of material produced in the end.

I couldn’t be more excited for a golf journey like this one. Flying around the globe to these special golf courses I’ve only dreamed about visiting before gives me a big kick and I feel almost feel like a Indiana Jones. The only thing we’ve got in common, though, is that we don’t like snakes. Australia seems to be one of the worst destinations to visit in that purpose, but all the upsides are massive in this.

First, we will take off from a cold Stockholm (it’s raining heavily outside at the moment) and then we will do our first stop at Doha in Quatar. Then after two more hours, we are finally heading off to Auckland on the north island of New Zealand, a mega-flight of 16 hours. I believe that could very well be one of the longest flights available for a ordinary airplane. I need to check that.

Flights for me usually mean work, editing photos from different golf courses I’ve visited, writing some texts, editing some films, and planning for the future. Last time, though, I finally managed to sleep a little, which is a welcome progress for a guy that was deadly scared of flying until 2008.

Now, I am perfectly fine with flying. A few rocky flights over the Atlantic Sea to Detroit helped me a lot, and my motto is now, “If those flights got me down on the ground safely, it takes a lot of failures to bring down a plane.”

Anyway, I hope you will join me on this golf trip. Stay tuned!

Your Reaction?
  • 43
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW3
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending