Golf Clothing & Accessories
While the story of the golf shoe does not have quite as many chapters as the centuries-long tale of golf courses and golf organizations, golf shoes in one form or another have been around for a century or so. This essential part of golf clothing and accessories was probably not part of the wardrobe when the gentlemen golfers of Scotland first started playing their game. Their attire was most likely chosen in a manner similar to the way these men chose their golf "courses." They simply went with what they had (though it is possible that, after a few years, some of these gentlemen had shoes made specifically for the purpose of playing golf). Some credit the Duke of Windsor with making a particular style of shoe popular for the game of golf. This design was commonly known as the reverse calf or suede shoe. The good Duke was probably among the first to take to the links sporting a kiltie, that fringed leather tassel that covers shoe strings and eyelets. Eventually, the well-dressed golfer was seen wearing the saddle shoe – the one that often has a different colour band on the instep.
The history of golf clothing and accessories in general is not much clearer. Some records indicate that the Woolrich Co. was the first company to specialize in outdoor clothing. Woolrich first made hunting coats, blankets and uniforms. But a company history indicates that the manufacturer made an item called "golf pants" too, perhaps in the early 1920s. Golfers were quite eager to adopt the tennis and polo shirts worn by participants in those sports, which could account for the popularity of this style of shirt even today. Some golfers even took to wearing the short, distinctive trousers called knickers (the name comes from a fictitious Dutch family, the Knickerbockers). This style of loose breeches became popular before the 1900s. In the 21st century, golf attire is perhaps more colourful and items may be made from many different materials, but the overall "golf uniform" still contains a particular style of shoe, comfortably loose trousers and a collared shirt, usually of the polo style. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of companies now make golf clothing. Some of these have brand names recognized around the globe.
Other companies are huge clothing manufacturers whose names are not as widely known. Now that we understand a bit about the history of golf clothing (the full story would take a book), what does the well-dressed golfer need to take on a golf holiday? First and foremost, the prepared golf traveller should take a colourful, collared shirt for each round planned. The manufacturers range from well-known golf names such as Wilson, Nike and Callaway to the actual PGA Tour brand. Numerous clothing manufacturers and retail stores, such as Sears and Penneys in the U.S. carry an extensive line of golf apparel. Though it is not necessary to take a different pair of trousers for each round, many golfers do just that. Again, many of the "golf name" companies carry fine trousers for the game, as do the large retail stores. Henbury and Ashworth are two names to look for in golf trousers. Tip: Give some thought to wearing shorts and be sure that you won't be "out of place" in short pants. Golf shoes are another matter altogether, though most players don't go wrong by sticking with name brands. While it isn't necessary to spend a week's pay on golf shoes, it isn't a good idea to go cheap. The comfort and support of a great pair of golf shoes is worth the money. Nike, Adidas and other top sports names make excellent shoes for the game. Of course, FootJoy may be the most recognized name in the quality golf shoe world. There are so many styles and colours to choose from, that this is left to the personal preference of the individual. A few other items to include in the golf clothing collection:
- Sweater, for those cool days – solid colours seem to be very popular. A golf sweater should be just a bit loose, to allow for swing flexibility.
- Rain gear – shop for some quality items in this range. While not often needed, rain suits can be a welcome addition to the outfit.
- Caps and hats – a comfortable cap or lightweight hat is great for keeping the blazing sun off the head.