The Beginning (15th century)
When diving into the history of golf fashion, there is only one place to start; the beginning of the game. The modern form of golf was first played in Scotland during the 15th century and similar to the stones and sticks that were considered golf equipment, the golf fashion was also rudimentary. Golfers of the time did not have a style of their own, instead, they wore the standard outdoor clothing of the time. This included tweed jackets and hats, knickers, and basic leather shoes. There’s nothing quite like the breathability of tweed and leather out on the course!
Golf Fashion is Born (the 1920s)
The game of golf continued to expand across the world over the next few hundred years and became an official sport with organized competitions in 1744. Despite this global expansion, golf fashion did not have an identity of its own until the early 1900s. During the Roaring Twenties, golfers began dressing formally in order to make a statement of their wealth from the course to the clubhouse. A wealthy golfer of the time would be fitted with a tweed jacket and cap, a necktie, knickers, and formal leather shoes. With clothing manufacturing quickly improving, tweed was soon replaced with light, breathable cotton.
Comfort Takes Control (1930s-1940s)
With breathable materials like cotton and flannel taking the scene to replace heavy tweed, golfers found more comfort on the course in the decades following the 1920s. The common golfer would now be seen wearing a long or short sleeve, cotton, button-up shirt. Flannel pants and a tie on the course were quickly becoming a relic of the past. Vintage photos of Byron Nelson are a perfect example of the changing golf fashion during this time period.
Transitioning to Modern Times
By the 1950s, short sleeve polos and slacks were the go-to choices for golfers all over the world. A golfer of the time may be seen wearing a sweater over a polo shirt with a baseball-style hat and dress slacks. A far more casual take on the outfits of the past. It was during this time that golf was becoming more accessible to the average person and the apparel of the game had begun resembling what we see out on the course today.
Golf Fashion Today
Throughout the next half-century, golf fashion would see very little change in terms of overall style from one player to another but changes were soon coming. Beginning in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s, big-name brands like Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas decided it was time to enter the scene and modernize golf fashion. Since then, golf fashion has exploded and there are now more style options than ever before. Classic shoes are being converted from the court to the links, professional golfers are wearing hoodies on the course, and the long debate over whether or not PGA Tour pros should be able to wear shorts is hotter than ever. But where are we going from here?
Our Golf Fashion Predictions for the Future
It’s not clear what’s next but there is one thing we can all agree on; golf fashion will continue to replicate the casual style trends we see now. We believe that as we move into the future of golf fashion, we will see far fewer quarter zips and more of the golf hoodies and crewnecks as well as joggers and athletic shorts that have become popular over the past few years. More and more companies will begin producing their own line of golf apparel which will continue to knock down the golf fashion door for all walks of life. The break from tradition may not be for everyone but the future of golf is certainly in good hands. What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear your opinion on what you’d like to see from the future of golf fashion.