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Opinion & Analysis

From Bore To Score — Look The Part On Your Next Vacation

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Many recreational players unknowingly sabotage their golf vacations by a lack of proper planning.  I am not speaking of making sure their stay-and-play itinerary is booked, or that they packed an extra sleeve (or two) of golf balls. Or that they remembered their deodorant and toothbrush — for everyone’s sake let’s hope they did.  Those things matter, but so does what you wear. By and large, vacationing golfers commit some astonishing fashion atrocities when they step foot on the golf course.

Once all the shredded wrapping paper has been discarded and the Christmas tree has been put to the curb, vacation planning heats up again. Use that time to not only plan your escape, but make sure you look good making your getaway.  Possibly the worst thing a golfer can do is stuff their suitcase with whatever clean polo shirts and khakis happen to be lying around the house.  The only time this is ever remotely appropriate is when planning a huge golf buddies trip. If you’re on the road with friends, at least you have strength in numbers. Odds are, everyone in your group will more or less dress the same, or worse, wear matching outfits — just in case locals have trouble spotting the interlopers.

On the opposite end are those golfers trying too hard to pull off the pro-circuit look. Sometimes a dose of modesty can go a long way, but how much often depends on the individual. A vibrant-colored polo or a pair of trousers that have been raided from Ian Poulter’s closet can be successfully carried off if you and your golf game have plenty of ammo in the confidence department.  In that case, knock yourself out (and take your playing partner’s lunch money while you’re at it). If this does not describe you, then you probably have more in common with the sad sap who lugs the blades around (and the backups, too). Seriously.

Even the most fashion-challenged golfer can “go low” in the dress up department with some research and a little imagination, beginning with your destination. As a point of reference, let’s use Bermuda and Charleston, which are among my favorite places to visit.  They have a number of things in common, not the least of which are great weather, a rich golfing tradition and a fashion-forward attitude that draws inspiration from the high seas.

Both Bermuda and Charleston are steeped in maritime history and it goes without saying that an appreciation of all things nautical can give a tired, drab outfit the shot in the arm it needs.  Just keep in mind, as Harvey Penick said originally about golf tips, “[they] are like aspirin. One may do you good, but if you swallow the whole bottle you will be lucky to survive.” In our case, you don’t want to show up to the course and be mistaken for Popeye.

Here are a few pointers that will help you pick the right clothes:

  • Choose light fabrics that are made primarily with cotton.  This will give your clothes a soft, tailored look that are noticeably absent from the off-the-rack sports shirts and pants that sell at big-box retailers. And speaking of tailoring, always make sure your shirts and pants fit your height and build.
  • Don’t be afraid to add some color. Matching a white polo with navy slacks might be a commendable homage to Seve, but it’s also safe and predictable. Colors like pink, turquoise or marigold will help you stand out without worrying about blinding anyone within a 150-yard radius.
  • Golf clothes have to function on the course, but there’s nothing dictating that they can’t or shouldn’t look presentable off the course.  Stick to shirts and pants that don’t advertise billboard-sized logos of the brand. If your golf outfit is capable of being worn to dinner after a round at Port Royal or the Ocean Course, that’s a few less articles of clothing you have to pack. Your suitcase will thank you.
  • Try to accessorize your golf outfit. For example, pair your traditional golf shirt and pants with a non-traditional belt.  That extra 10 percent you put into your business attire can also work wonders for your golf gear.

If you are still skeptical about the benefits of paying greater attention to your appearance, consider the whole purpose behind a vacation.  You arrive somewhere new, leaving behind the routine and mundane.  Vacations are a great opportunity for you to be someone else.  Clothes help make that illusion look believable.  Unfortunately, the illusion doesn’t extend to how well we perform on the golf course.  If that were the case, hardly anyone would ever need fashion advice.

– – – – – – – –

Below are four looks (two male, two female) that will grab the attention of your playing partners.  Perhaps someone will even ask you how long you’ve been a club member.

In Figure: M1 – McSupert Trousers by Kartel; Golf Gingham Shirt by Tommy Hilfiger; Striped D Ring Belt by Lyle & Scott; Seamaster Diver 300M commemorative James Bond watch by Omega. If you happen to score a tee time at Bermuda’s exclusive Mid Ocean Club, you get bonus points for wearing the watch. Ian Fleming mentions the club in his James Bond short story Quantum of Solace, describing the course as a “fine links where all the quality play and get together at the club afterwards for gossip and drinks”.

In Figure: F1 – Stretch Cotton Slim Pivot Pant (navy) by Ralph Lauren; Ribbed Polo (sheer lemon) by Ralph Lauren; Golf Cable Knit Sweater by Tommy Hilfiger; Geo Fish Belt (night sky) by Vineyard Vines.

In Figure: M2 – Yarn-Dyed Green Greens Short by Ralph Lauren; Malone polo (navy) by Kartel; Webster belt (white) by Kartel; Rope Bracelet by Kiel James Patrick.

In Figure: F2 – Merrick Skort (white) by Ralph Lauren; Kita Shirt (Hammond Blue) by Ralph Lauren; Fonsbelle 2 leather belt by Hermes; Aquamarine Earrings and Pendant Set by Swarovski.

 Click here for more discussion in the “Golf Style” forum. 

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Rusty Cage is a contributing writer for GolfWRX, one of the leading publications online for news, information and resources for the connected golfer. His articles have covered a broad spectrum of topics - equipment and apparel reviews, interviews with industry leaders, analysis of the pro game, and everything in between. Rusty's path into golf has been an unusual one. He took up the game in his late thirties, as suggested by his wife, who thought it might be a good way for her husband to grow closer to her father. The plan worked out a little too well. As his attraction to the game grew, so did his desire to take up writing again after what amounted to 15-year hiatus from sports journalism dating back to college. In spite of spending over a dozen years working in the technology sector as a backend programmer in New York City, Rusty saw an opportunity with GolfWRX and ran with it. A graduate from Boston University with a Bachelor's in journalism, Rusty's long term aspirations are to become one of the game's leading writers, rising to the standard set by modern-day legends like George Peper, Mark Frost and Dan Jenkins. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: August 2014 Fairway Executive Podcast Interview http://golfindustrytrainingassociation.com/17-rusty-cage-golf-writer (During this interview I discuss how golf industry professionals can leverage emerging technologies to connect with their audience.)

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Lucas

    Jan 28, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    This is a very informative site on golf and have enjoyed reading the articles.

  2. pablo

    Dec 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Good article. Most golfers look better when wearing quality, well fitting clothes and belts. When playing a nice course, there’s nothing wrong with that!

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Opinion & Analysis

More Distance Off the Tee (Part 1 of 3): Upper Body Training

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If you read my previous story, Tour Pro’s Revealed: 3 Tests to See How You Stack Up, you are well aware of the fact that improving your upper body power is one of three sure ways to increase your distance off the tee. If you have not, I strongly suggest you check it out to gain some context about what is to follow and what is critical for your golf game.

Through our testing and the testing done of many of the industry leaders in golf performance, we have found that the ability of golfers to generate “push power” from their upper body is critical to maximize efficiency and speed in the swing. The way that you can test your power is simple. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keeping your back on the chair, chest pass with both hands a 6-pound medicine ball as far as you can. When you compare this to your vertical jump as described in More Distance Off the Tee (Part 2 of 3): Lower Body Training Plan, the number in feet you threw the ball should be relatively close to your jump in inches.

If you threw the ball and it went 5 feet, you have an upper body power problem. If you threw the ball 25 feet and jumped only 14 inches, your upper body is not the problem — you probably need to focus on your lower body. It’s not rocket science once you understand what you are looking for. What can be challenging is knowing how to improve your power once you identify a problem. That is where the rest of this article comes in. What I am going to outline below are three of the most common upper body power exercises that we use with our amateur, senior and professional golfers.

The key with any power training exercise is to make sure you are as rested as possible between sets so that you can be as explosive as possible for the repetitions. Try not to do more than 6 repetitions in a set to assure that each one is as fast and explosive as possible.

Med Ball Chest Pass on Wall

This is one of the most basic exercises there is for developing upper body push power. Make sure your feet are about shoulder-width apart and don’t be afraid to use your legs to help maximize the punishment you deliver to against the wall!

Med Ball Wall Ball

Watching the video, you may be scratching you head and wondering why this is in the upper body power article when clearly the athlete is using his legs. The reason is that in the golf swing, power starts with the legs.

Med Ball Sky Chest Throws

This one is simple. Laying on your back, all you need to do is push the ball up as high as you can, catch it on the way down and the explode it back up into the air as high as you can. If you incorporate this exercise into your routine even once a week, you will see huge gains in your ability to swing faster if this was a problem area for you.

That being said, power creation requires not only speed but also strength development. It is also important that you have a solid strength program to increase your ability to generate more force. While this is beyond the scope of this article, finding yourself a solid golf fitness expert will help you create your ideal program.

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Podcasts

GolfWRX Forum Member dpb5031 talks about the TaylorMade Twist Face Experience

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Forum member dpb5031 (aka Dewey) joins TG2 to talk about his Twist Face Experience at The Kingdom. Recently, him and 6 other GolfWRX Members went to TaylorMade HQ to get fit for new M3 and M4 drivers. Does Twist Face work? Dewey provides his answer.

Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

Inside the Ropes: 5 things you didn’t know about playing on the PGA Tour

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Golf finds a way to take a hold on you… whether you become entranced by the skill of the world’s best professionals, fall in love with the feeling and beauty of a well-executed shot, or simply enjoy getting outside and having fun — the game is addictive.

I started playing at the age of 4 and began watching the pros on TV dreaming what it would be like to play golf on the PGA Tour. When I earned my PGA Tour status for the 2014 season, that dream became a reality. And like anything, it’s not until I actually experienced that life did I have any idea what it entailed.

For those of you who are curious what it’s like to be on the PGA Tour, here are 5 things to describe it.

1) The Culture

Traveling the world to various cities can be fun, and it’s an underrated part of the Tour lifestyle; you get to see new landscapes and taste the cuisines that define different regions across the country and the world. Unlike some other professional sports, where players stay in one place for maybe a night or two, we get to stay in places for a week or more, which allows for plenty of time away from the course to see the sights and get a feel for what the cities and their cultures offer.

2) The Show

The setup and time that goes into planning an event — the grandstands, concession stands, volunteers, and the whole network that makes these tournaments run — is beyond impressive. We see the finished product at the event in the epicenter of it all, but the planning goes on behind the scenes all year. When it’s game time and the golf ball gets teed up, it’s time for us players to block all of that out, but we certainly appreciate all of the hard work that goes into putting on an event. It may feel like being in a circus at times, but performing in the show is a thrill.

3) The People

The game of golf in general brings people together, but especially so on the Tour. Thousands and thousands of fans come to watch the golf action and enjoy the festivities. The Pro-Ams are a great way for the fans to get an up-close look at what goes on at a Tour event, and they’re also a great way for us pros to interact with fans and maybe provide some helpful swing tips, too. In my opinion, one of the best events of the year is the Pebble Beach Pro-Am — a gathering of pro golfers, athletes, musicians, actors and other celebrities. It’s a testament to how the game can bring people together from different walks of life.

4) Inside the Ropes

The Tour is almost like a private school of sorts. It’s a select group of a couple hundred guys traveling around playing these events. The jocks, the nerds, the geeks, the loners; you see a little of everything. As much as there’s a sociable aspect to traveling on Tour and getting to know these people, it’s a dog-eat-dog world where everyone is playing for their livelihood and playing privileges.

5) The “Pressure”

A season-long race can come down to a single shot making the difference — for some it’s between winning and losing a tournament, and others it’s between keeping and losing your card. The cameras, the grandstands, the noise… it can all be quite distracting. The idea is to block all of that out and pretend you’re playing like a kid, focusing with pure imagination for the shot. All the extra attention can help heighten the focus further, adding inspiration to “give the people what they want” and hit even better golf shots.

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