Golf Is A Sport: Dress Like An Athlete

Okay, I admit it, I’m a fashion victim. I have no idea when it started but as far back as I can remember, I realized that if I dressed well it would make a good impression. When I started playing golf it was the same. Long before I had the swing of a player I had the look of one.

That being said, I was never comfortable dressing like everyone else. Cotton pique shirts and long pants were never my thing. To give my wardrobe its own signature, I tried a variety of hats. One summer I bought a Greg Norman styled straw Panama hat but my head is so small (on the outside at least) that I looked ridiculous. Another summer I wore the same hat Augusta members wear during the Masters. Well. I am neither a member of Augusta or 80 years old so I eventually did the right thing and retired that dusty green thing (I never did take the price tag off of it – $25). Since then, I`ve stuck to baseball caps choosing a new one every Spring that I favor throughout the golf season.

A few years ago Tiger Woods showed up one week wearing a mock necked short sleeved shirt. At that moment I felt released. The mock neck had long been my shirt of choice and now the #1 player in the world was telling me that it was okay to wear on the course. I immediately started buying up short sleeve mocks in a variety of colors. Of course, in that first summer of the mock, not all courses allowed self-expression. The two questions I had to ask when I called to look for a tee-time were Å“Do you have room for a single? and Å“Do you allow mocks on the course? If the answer to either was Å“no I would find myself another course to play.

When the mock neck became an accepted fashion choice at all courses it seemed to burst open a huge fashion market that had been untapped to that point. Players started showing up in brightly colored custom made pants with form fitting shirts and crisp white belts. Players now had a way to express their personality without ever having to speak to the press. Retief`s stoic conservative fashion choices seem to say as much for him as Ian Poultar`s bizarre collection of theme trousers say about him.

Golf fans are now as well versed in the new lines from J. Lindeman and Ecco Shoes as they are in the latest drivers and irons from Calloway, Nike and TaylorMade.

In Canada DunningGolf has married fashion and performance into a line of clothing second to none. Led by Ralph Dunning, the company takes a fashion forward approach to design with leading edge cuts (to maximize movement) and colors and exposed stitching. Rather that using cotton or spandex, their fabrics are scientifically engineered to maximize wicking and keep the body cool throughout the round to minimize fatigue. Their rain gear also uses specially engineered materials to make sure you stay dry throughout your entire round.

A few years ago I bought my first Dunning shirt. It was a white on white mock (naturally). The way I felt in the shirt was amazing. The cut was so complimentary that I actually felt more confident with my overall game. As a matter of fact, the second round I played in the shirt, I shot a 76 “ my lowest round to that point! Since then I have not played a single round without wearing at least one piece of Dunning clothing. Heck, they even make underwear that wicks away uncomfortable sweat (the less said about that particular sweat, the better).

Marty Hackel, the fashion guru in Golf Digest has become a big Dunning booster this year. He has featured their clothing in two successive issues of the magazine (one featuring tour player Zack Johnson wearing a smart pink pique shirt). Bob Tway swears by the clothing saying that he feels that the shirts give him two shots a round (indeed, you`ll notice that Dunning shirts don`t need to be hitched up at the sleeves before each swing. And Jonathan Sinden won his first PGA event wearing DunningGolf gear.

Sure DunningGolf gear costs a little bit more but it`s for a good reason. Ralph is a firm believer in supporting the Canadian economy. His goal is to keep all of his research and development as well as manufacturing in this country rather than going for cheaper labor and materials off shore. If you haven`t played in a DunningGolf shirt yet, do yourself a favor and buy one now. I can pretty much guarantee two things “ you`ll play better right away and everyone else on the tee will be saying Å“Now, here comes a Player.

You don`t have to dress like your Dad anymore.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Fairway Stevie,

    Well your free expression fashion might have to go back in the closet soon if what most golf club’s board of governors are suggesting happen, happens.

    Seems the mock neck fashion fad was just that, a fad and the non-conformist who were lurking in the shadows of mainstream golf and who were usually found tramping around the back nine of most muni’s golf courses, took to wanting to push the limit and creating their own version of mock neck shirts that do not resemble the mock necks that Nike and Callaway designed for the touring professionals.

    They looked more like a mock neck after it was worn by someone who surveyed a night of stage diving into a mosh pit full of skinheads. Old, torn and shirt tail hanging out mock neck t-shirts is how these golfers were showing up at private and public golf facilities to play golf. Needless to say the baby boomer generation who took the place of the WWII generation on these golf facilities governing boards has to start popping Tums by the handful from the revenue these free expressionists were running off from their golf facilities.

    So, from the report I got from the several members on governing boards I know around the country is that they are pulling the amendments to their dress codes and going back to more traditional fashion that promotes a more Family Oriented fashion.

    So I think we will see the Nike Swoosh neck and the Michelle mini skirt, along with Ian’s line of patriotic golf fashion all hanging on the racks of the local Goodwill soon and the mercerized cottoned shirts with designers slacks coming back as mainstay fashion in all pro shops that are concerned with losing revenue. For those who are not worry about a cash flow then…Rock On…Man!

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