If clothing makes the man – we need not fret about women, who know style like those of us on the other side of the chromosome line know a ball cap and yesterday’s tee – what can they do for the male golfer? Exactly. Make Bubba Gump look like if not play like Bubba Watson.
Here on day three of the 2017 PGA of America Fashion & Demo Experience, attention turns to the soft and the comfortable, kicks we will be slipping on, polos we will be donning in the golf year ahead.
Do you remember the days of flat, leather outsoles, patent-leather uppers and a dozen-and-a-half short nails screwed to the bottom, coming in with the weight of a brick? If not, be thankful. Granddad might still think them a classic but even the Smithsonian isn’t interested in a “remember when” display.
Today’s golf shoes are as apt to be made by a modern-day upstart as a noble heritage brand, with performance and panache paired seamlessly. Such is the case with Skechers, of smiling Matt Kuchar fame. Two shoes for 2018 really jumped out, including the revamped Go Golf Elite V.3 with a more flexible, grippier outsole, and now in a new Approach version dubbed the RF. RF stands for relaxed fit, meaning the last offers a wider toe box but a standard, keep-‘em-in-place medium-fit heel. Both come with a two-year waterproof warranty. www.skechers/golf.com
You Can Walk the Walk
Golf is replete with grow-the-game, improve-the-game initiatives. I’d like to see one called, “Lose the Buggy,” a series of PSAs in print and on the tube highlighting the fact that golf is a sport and for those of us so – luckily – capable, we can do a pretty damn fine job of getting around bipedally.
The trick is comfort, getting through that five- to six-mile stroll with happy dogs and a smile, and front-center on the comfort stage, as it has been for years, is ECCO. From cresting-wave-patterned uppers to some vibrant outsole colors the for-2018 S-Drive garners attention. But for the flash, what’s cool is that this running shoe-inspired golfer comes with an offset or asymmetrical lace closure that short of the BOA system used by ECCO and other brands provides about as snug of a fit as can be found. The Danes are known for the confectionary treats; ECCO makes treats for the feet. www.us.shop.ecco.com
Form, Function, Fashion
In architectural design, there is a school of thought that holds that the purpose of the building should dictate its design. If that sounds rather utilitarian, well, yes it is. And when it comes to golf clothing, the same thought of “just make it work” held sway for a very long time. If there is a signature note to what clothiers have planned for 2018, across the board, it is that golf attire – base layers to outerwear and those all-important polos, sweaters, shorts and slacks between – is dedicated to the task at hand while being stylistically thank-you-very-much mighty fine off the course, too. The other message from this year’s show, if not quite a full-siren warning, to today’s fashionable athletic golfer is to lose that whole end of the closet where Peter Max would feel at home.
Subtle, not shock.
Chase 54, known for professional ambassadors Brooke Pancake and Jerry Kelly, was founded as a textile company with fabric-first performance as the mantra, to which functional style was then wedded. Chase 54’s line spreads from golf to lifestyle with a range of high-tech textiles offering purpose-intended attributes – temperature-regulation, wicking, sun-protection. The lines, colors and patterns are clean and chic, across the gender offerings. www.chase54.com
A different means or orientation to the same ends guided Brad Franklin, founder and creative director of Bradley Allan, who came to fashion from a personal love of fabric and style via – get this – the associate professional ranks of the PGA of Canada. At Bradley Allan, clothing is a tactile sensation, where weave and material and finish are king. Modern performance attributes and materials are laced through the line, but it all begins with natural fiber – Merino wool, Pima cotton. The color palette hues to white, black, gray and the array of blue’s many subtle iterations, and the items in the for-men line all pair easily; big bonus for us boys. www.bradley-allan.com
For all the tools and tips and togs intended to help us play better and look sharp doing so, ours is a game played outdoors, in the elements, rain or shine, and from the perspective of our long-term and overall health and well-being that shine thing needs to be given a lot of attention. A lot. While we once slathered ourselves in “tanning oil” and actively sought out baking on the beach, that practice is about as passé and dangerous as in days of yore running of to the local apothecary for a tooth-extraction and a poultice of seaweed and arsenic.
The raison d’etre of BloqUV is keeping old sol from turning us into cancer patients. The company’s entire array of golf, athletic and active wear for men and women offers minimum, clothing-integrated 50 spf. As one company rep put it: “It can save your life.” Now knowing that layers of burlap might do the same, BloqUV ensures that fashion attends all that sun protection. www.bloquv.com