Apparel 2017: Dad-bods, fear not

Next time you’re idly scrolling through the channels (people still do that, right?) and you come across one of those “classic” tournament reruns from the 1990s, you might be tempted to ask yourself: what happened to all that extra fabric?


Tiger Woods circa 2000, in a U.K. Golf Monthly photo that illustrates just how fond we were of spare material back in the day

You remember Tiger Woods in his heyday — he used to wear shirts and pants two sizes too big, ostensibly to look larger and more imposing on the golf course — and this in an era of pleated pants and shirtsleeves that landed just past the elbow. So much material was flapping around whenever he pumped his fist, he looked like he might get airborne.

Fast forward 20 years and it’s a different time. Sleeves are cut short and tight to accentuate the gun show, while shirts are made for a more athletic physique — God help you if you’re rocking a set of love handles. Super-soft slacks fit so snugly you can almost tell what kind of ball your opponent is playing.

What’s a Dad-bod to do?

Well, don’t worry. One look around the clubhouse suggests recreational golfers aren’t quite moving in lockstep with gym rats like Henrik and Dustin, and I’m pretty sure clotheshorses Jason Day and Rory McIlroy are undersizing those painted-on Nike tops on purpose.

And here’s more good news: not only is modern-day golf gear a tenfold improvement over the khakis-and-cuffs looks of the 1990s, it’s way more forgiving than you might think — great news for those of us with not-quite-cover-model physiques.


Antigua, a household name in recreational athletic wear that’s been making a major push into golf in recent years, has significantly upped its game in 2017, with a striking and interesting new assortment of colours, patterns and styles and a significant improvement in fit, thanks to the fact they have incorporated spandex into their designs.


Antigua’s “Sustain” golf polo, one of the standouts from the newly released Performance 2017 line

The change has a significant impact on both the function and the form of the shirts, “eliminating any garment resistance throughout the golf swing and offering an enhanced supple hand, smooth drape and renewed recovery with every use,” said Sean Gregg, the company’s vice-president of product development and marketing support.

Antigua has in the past made some peculiar colour choices, but this year the spectrum looks to be on point — understated, rich shades, subtle stripe and accent patterns all make for the sort of fashions you’ll be happy to have in your closet. And when it comes to comfort and breathability, the 2017 testers are vastly improved over previous years.


Another Antigua standout, this one called “Domain,” for some reason. Don’t worry, the shirt won’t make you take yourself this seriously.

Where, in the eyes of some, Antigua golf apparel may in the past have taken a back seat to more classic premium brands like FootJoy or Cutter & Buck, 2017 Antigua performance lines like “Sustain,” “Domain” and “Orbit” — those names notwithstanding, yuck — ought to catapult the manufacturer to the top-shelf ranks for discerning recreational players.

And if you’re in the market for comfortable, warm-weather golf shorts that don’t make you feel like you’re wearing your dad’s golf shorts, check out the company’s Ellis line, with ultra-lightweight, moisture-wicking DesertDry fabric so comfy, you’ll have to keep reminding yourself you remembered to put them on.


Few golf apparel lines combine fashion-forward looks with contemporary fit and all-day comfort like Adidas, and if you don’t believe me, go ahead and try out a pair of their Ultimate pants or shorts, one of the anchor products in the current Adidas line. There’s a reason Dustin Johnston wears them all the time, and it’s not just the fact he’s paid to do so — they might well be the most comfortable golf pants ever made.

Comfort isn’t everything, although it counts for a lot. Add in the grippy rubberized waistband feature to keep your shirt tucked, lightweight fabric pockets (a bit of a drawback when it comes to carrying around a pointy pocketful of tees, ball markers and divot tools, though) and the water-repellent fabric, and you may never go back to the Gap.


Sergio Garcia’s apparel script for last year’s U.S. Open. If Sergio or any other Adidas player has a problem on the golf course, comfort ain’t it.

Pair those bad boys with a sharp-looking Climachill polo shirt — ventilated throughout and buttressed with stretch fabric in the back and across the shoulders to prevent binding and bunching during the swing — and you just might be a couple of steps closer to knowing what it’s like to play golf naked (two words: mosquito repellent).

The knock on Adidas shirts used to be that their tiny collars and cuffed, super-short sleeves made the average golfer look like 200 pounds of meat in a 150-lb. bag, but those days are gone: when it comes to looking good on the greens, Adidas has figured a few things out.


“Melange” — not exactly a word one associates with golf, but the folks at Carnoustie Sportswear have made it a centrepiece of their performance line for 2017.

“Our collection of performance knits for Spring ’17 continues to expand based upon the tremendous reception this segment of our collection has received since its 2014 introduction,” Carnoustie CEO Marshall Mancillas said in a release.

“We introduced a beautiful mélange solid for Fall 16, and for Spring ’17 we’ve developed new colors appropriate for the season —  such as amethyst, melon, spearmint and sky. This mélange fabric is nuanced and has a dimension that ordinary piece dyed solids cannot approach.


Get yourself a Carnoustie performance polo and we guarantee* you’ll play better. (*satire-not a real guarantee)

“The use of the finest microfiber polyester blended with generous amounts of lycra ensure a luxurious hand and comfort.”

Where previous Carnoustie tops have been heavier, classic garments, the new Carnoustie Tech boasts a lighter, more comfortable feel, even as it preserves that traditional shape and collar style that makes these shirts so distinctive and classy. The Performance Solid top features an understated navy shade with a sharp amethyst accent for a striking, unconventional look.

And like all Carnoustie shirts, the Performance Solid boasts UV protection, odour management, moisture-wicking technology and of course a soft, stretchy feel that makes for a trim but comfortable fit.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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