The evolution of golf style: Changing Face of the Game presented by Chrysler
August 05, 2014
By Greg Monteforte, PGATOUR.COM
- The world got a good look at Graeme McDowell's impeccable style as he won the 2010 U.S. Open. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
There is a saying in the world of fashion -- if you wait long enough, eventually everything will come back in style. Sure, the faces of golf have changed, but many of the styles from previous eras have come full circle and have found a home in today’s game.
Here is a unique look at the changing face of golf fashion as our Style Insider shows how many of golf’s best-dressed players from decades passed have influenced today’s fairway fashionistos.
Bobby Jones, Payne Stewart and Ryan Moore
The iconic Bobby Jones epitomized early 20th century golf fashion. Players from this era dressed formally in plus fours, long socks, dress shirts, ties and spectator shoes. Plus fours and ties slowly started to disappear from the fairways and didn’t return to the game of golf until Payne Stewart famously brought them back in the 1980s. Stewart infused bright colors and bold patterns into this very classic look. Ryan Moore also put a contemporary spin on this early 20th century look by donning ties, vests and cardigan sweaters at the 2010 Masters.
Walter Hagen and Graeme McDowell
A heat wave at the 1933 U.S. Open is credited with changing players’ minds about golf apparel. Heavy woolen fabrics were exchanged for lighter flannels. Although still formal for today’s standards, more casual looks replaced the plus fours and ties from previous decades. Plus fours gave way to long pants, as men headed to the course after a day in the office. Players like, Walter Hagen, still possessed a very elegant look. Graeme McDowell has reproduced Hagan’s elegance in the modern game with classic-looking wool blend trousers, button-down collar shirts, colored belts and timeless shoes.
Ben Hogan and Jimmy Walker
Ben Hogan and Jimmy Walker have more in common than their home state of Texas. Walker’s neo-classic looks have frequently been termed ‘Hogan-esque’ and it is easy to see why. Hogan set the tone for on-course fashion in the 1950s as the casual trend continued and knitted polos became the norm on the course. Today, Jimmy Walker has replicated many of Hogan’s looks with the addition of modern touches, like slimmer fits, high performance fabrics and subtle detailing.
Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods
Thanks to their pure athleticism, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods changed the game of golf in their respective eras. Palmer also energized golf fashion in the late 1950s with brighter colors, slimmer-fitting cotton shirts and lightweight trousers. Tiger is at his best sartorially when he channels Palmer’s looks from the 50s — contrasting plackets and collars, slimmer pants and sleeves that hit mid-bicep. Of course, Tiger’s shirts have a bit more technology built into them today with lightweight fabrics, laser perforated collars and enhanced mobility features.
Gary Player and Camilo Villegas
There may not be two bigger fitness fanatics in the history of golf than Gary Player and Camilo Villegas. Although separated by about 50 years, it is uncanny how close Villegas’ style is to Players’. Due to their fitness regimes, both have been able to sport clean, slim-fitting looks. Both, also played in eras where the golf world experienced revolutions in fabric that enhanced their athletic looks. In the 1960s, synthetic fabrics, like polyester and nylon, invaded the links -- just as high tech, moisture-wicking fibers have saturated the modern game. From a palette standpoint, Villegas is often credited as one of he trendsetters in bringing bright colors back to the fairways. Over the last few years, though, he has opted for more classic colors as Player did in the 60s.
Doug Sanders and Ian Poulter
Crazy colors dominated the fairways in the 1960s and few dressed as flamboyantly as Doug Sanders. Whether it was bright pastels or rich earth tones, the “Peacock of the Fairways” created a unique and recognizable look for himself. Fast-forward four decades and Ian Poulter has become the modern day version of Doug Sanders. Poulter has carved out a distinctive style for himself with striking colors and signature tartan trousers. Poulter’s passion for clothing even led him to launching his own golf apparel brand, IJP Design, in 2007.
Tom Weiskopf and Ryo Ishikawa
The late 1960s and early 1970s are responsible for many of golf’s fashion stereotypes. ‘Loud and proud’ was the trend as polyester fabrics, bold prints and large collars dominated the fairways. Tom Weiskopf had the game and the sartorial confidence to rock many of the most daring looks of the era. Ryo Ishikawa possesses that same confidence and hasn’t shied away from bringing floral prints from the 60s back to the game.
Tom Watson and Rickie Fowler
Long before Rickie Fowler energized the game of golf with a youthful style, a young Tom Watson was sporting similar looks in the late 1970s. Check out the plaid pants, white belt and trendy colors Watson wore in the 70s. Isn’t his style eerily similar to a present day Rickie Fowler? Even the hair is comparable. The only thing that is missing from Watson’s look is Fowler’s signature flat-bill hat.