Once upon a time, men’s golf apparel had to abide by strict dress codes, and men stepped up to the tee in clothes that were seemingly uniform-like. But recently, specifically in the past few years, what’s become acceptable on the course has grown more accommodating to the players’ comfort and movement.
In an age where PGA players sport hoodies on the course, we’re now seeing more men on the greens in crewneck sweaters, rugby shirts, half-zip pullovers, as well as joggers. Posh country clubs may hold onto their dress codes, but they’re fighting a losing battle. Athleisure retailers such as Adidas, Nike and Lululemon have reimagined men’s golf attire as comfy athleisure that can easily be worn off-course without fear of looking like a total dork.
Whether you choose to invest in the popular performance style clothing or stick with something that harkens back to golf’s classic days, we say wear what makes you feel and play your best.
When Trends Collide: How Golf Apparel Loosened Up
The game of golf is rich in history and tradition. As we know it, the sport originated in Scotland, and the rules on what to wear were unbreakable.
If we go back as early as the 1900s, golfers wore military-style jackets and knickers in a specific color. Flash forward to the 2000s, the standard for men’s attire was a collared polo shirt, tucked in simple trousers and/or three-quarter length shorts. Sometimes, you may have even seen a golfer wearing baseball hats, but the overall aesthetic was still country club formal. Well, nowadays the dress code for men is trending in the opposite direction, part of a larger trend toward more casual, comfortable clothing that has occurred since the onset of COVID-19.
Wearing sweatpants on the course may have been considered unthinkable in past decades, but it’s not unusual to see men golfing in elevated joggers in 2022.
Brad King, CEO of luxury golf brand Stitch Golf, credits Tiger Woods for being the catalyst to changing the landscape of the game’s required attire.
“In my opinion, it started with Tiger Woods (the needle that moves Golf) when he (with Nike) started wearing mock neck golf shirts,” he said. “I remember distinctly the conversations at my club around whether or not to allow mock neck shirts.” Dare we say, the golf pro delivered style to the game unlike ever before, and there’s no going back.
Layne Dempsey, managing director of Italian-based sportswear brand Chervò, spoke with SPY about the difference in men’s contemporary clothing and what it symbolizes in this revolution of golf apparel for men.
“Apparel today is more athletic in cut and fit. Golf clothing is now designed using technical fabrics similar to in design to skiing, running, and tennis,” she said. “I’d say today’s golfer is more of a trendsetter in all aspects of their life and their clothing is a true reflection of their personality.”
In the foreseeable future, Dempsey believes more brands who specialize in golf apparel will maximize on cutting-edge materials for the body in motion. “We’ve always been on trend with sportswear and I think you will continue to see more technical aspects in fabrics, that create not only beautiful garments but garments that perform,” she said. “Ultimately, I predict that the differentiation between what we know as strictly golf clothing and beautiful sportswear will continue to blur and the whole category will become more fluid.”
Post-pandemic, men’s fashion is embracing casual, comfortable fits. One of the biggest fashion trends SPY has clocked this year has been the rise of athleisure that mimics the appearance of traditional dress clothes. Case in point: chino joggers, which, at a glance, look more like chinos than traditional sweapants. We’re also seeing golf apparel brands offer athleisure fits and fabrics. Take Bonobos, for example. The menswear brand has a new line of golf apparel for Fall ’22. There are plenty of khakis and polos, of course, but there are also athleisure performance pants and half-zip sweatshirts — not exactly country club attire.
The casualization of golf apparel may have a few different origins, and this trend actually began before the pandemic. You can draw a direct line from Tiger Woods embracing more casual polos to golf icon Bill Murray introducing a line of super-casual (and loud) golf shirts.
In 2022, golfers have more options than ever for dressing appropriately, stylishly and comfortably on the course.
If you’re a rookie or a seasoned professional, we’re here to upgrade your golf style. In the past, we’ve covered popular golf shirts and comfortable golf shoes, and now SPY is here to curate casual golf brands to help you get in full swing.
1. Men’s Nike Dri-FIT Half-Zip Golf Top
Thanks to Nike, golfing has never felt better. No, really. The brand has made it easier implementing the Dri-FIT technology — which redirects sweat away from your skin for quicker evaporation — allowing you to stay dry and relaxed. The exterior fabric of this half-zip top is lightweight knit, while the interior consists of technical mesh.
2. Bonobos Clubhouse Golf Vest
Style, fit and performance are bound to link up when shopping for men’s golf apparel at Bonobos. Whether you decide to pair this hickory clubhouse golf vest with a polo shirt underneath or long-sleeved top, maybe even sport it as is, the standout feature for this item is its breathability. The product was constructed with versatility as the zipper and pocket trimming are detailed in clean and refined fleece-backed fabric and contrast nylon.
3. Men’s Under Armour Performance Graphic Polo
When in doubt, wear a polo when you’re on the golf course, but make it fashion. This men’s Under Armour performance top is light and loose, providing sufficient breathing room to keep you focused. After all, comfort is key to making sure you remain on top of your game.
4. Men’s Lululemon ABC Jogger Shorter Length Warpstreme
Before, if you said you were going to go play golf, universally that meant khaki trousers coupled with some sort of plain-colored polo. Well, today if you’re feeling a little daring, men’s golf apparel at Lululemon has an alternative. Powered by ABC Technology, these joggers supply enough room to exhale, frolic, and be protected.
5. Adidas Men’s Golf Adicross Coverall
With a wide range of fashion options for golf apparel, men have the opportunity to be experimental all while being comfortable. This Adidas golf coverall allows you to flex your caddie style with full mobility and access to multiple pockets for storage. To top it off, it was generated from production waste as part of the brand mission’s to help reduce the use of virgin materials.
6. Kenny Flowers The Acapulco Golf Shirt
This preppy performance golf shirt from Kenny Flowers does all the talking for you. It also has quite a few complimentary features: ultraviolet protection factor, moisture wicking, wrinkle resistant. Did we mention this men’s golf apparel was eco-friendly with four-way stretch material?
7. William Murray In The Weeds Dew Point Jacket with Hood
Perfect to the weather any outdoor elements, this zip-up jacket is durable and also plays up the design of an actual golf course with mower lines. The unique part about this hooded piece is that you can pack it right into its pocket.
8. Eastside Golf Staple Sweatshirt
Merging golf and urban culture is at the core of Eastside Golf — a lifestyle brand helmed by Detroit-based founder Olajuwon Ajanaku. The logo on their staple, crewneck sweatshirt serves as a cartoon version of Ajanaku in a gold chain, jeans and sweatshirt. This one of a kind piece is a prime example of how men’s golf apparel has shifted to more casual threads and exudes versatility to where you can sport this on or off the course.
9. Malbon Sink Em Bucket Hat
Malbon has become one of the leading contemporary golf apparel brands in the market. Among their product offerings are these embroidered bucket hats with a rather straight-forward message. This rosette headwear will block all the sun when hitting your 18 holes.