The Evolution of Golf Fashion for Men

Much like the game, men’s golf fashion has certainly evolved over the last few decades. In many ways, this evolution has been a significant one, starting with very formal attire, to the casual outfit that is seen today among golfers. If you look at pictures of men playing golf over the years, you will find that their golf clothing has closely matched what they would normally wear off the course. In the very beginning of golf, you would most likely have seen men’s sweaters as the latest fashion of the day. Today, you will find that men often wear golfing attire that is still business-like, but on a more casual side, mainly sporting a polo and nice slacks or shorts.

Early Golf Fashion: The 1920s

Since golf was born in Scotland, the attire of Scottish ancestors was the main inspiration for early golf fashion.  Men chose to emulate their style by wearing knickers, a thick tweed jacket, and sometimes even a waistcoat. The knickers were similar to the English knee breeches often worn in court dress. Although the tweed was on the bulky side, men preferred warmth and protection from the weather, rather than a good, powerful swing. Their shirts often had starched ties and collars, and they wore a tweed cap and sturdy shoes. As fashion evolved, the plaid pattern, from these Scottish roots, has remained. By the 1920s, wealthy men wanted to stand out in their attire and remained well-dressed, wearing plus fours (longer knickers), golf hose, shirt, tie, and two-tone shoes. On colder days, they also wore a knitted cardigan or Norfolk jacket.

Change in the Air: 1930s Through 1970s

In the 1930s, men started wearing flannel pants instead of knickers. This was mainly due to the fact that men often went golfing right after getting off of work. They started to play golf without wearing neckties, and their whole attire became less formal. By the 1940s, golf fashion became similar to what is seen today. Men wore short-sleeved knitted shirts, slacks, and shoes that had spiked soles. They also wore snap-brim hats and jackets that came to the waist. Swinging the golf club became much easier with more room for the shoulders. The 1950s and 1960s added a lot more color to the golf fashion. By the 1970s, men’s golf fashion was so colorful, that the pants they wore were only seen on the golf course.

Modern Day: 1980s Through Present

The 1980s saw a return to the traditional clothing in some ways. Men began wearing stretchy fabrics and waterproof leathers. They also started to wear more designer clothing. As the popularity of golf grew through the 1990s, golf pros often wore more logos as they gained sponsorship. The Scottish look of knickers and sweaters came back with a twist, becoming more casual than the early days. Moving into the present day, golf fashion has become very casual, with airy shirts and pants to reduce sweat and moisture. Instead of the sturdy golf shoes, many golfers wear sneaker-like shoes.

Over the years, golf fashion for men has evolved tremendously. From the formal look, complete with sweaters and tweed, to the more casual outfit seen today, with men’s dress shirts and lightweight pants or shorts, fashion has definitely changed.  The game of golf is still loved, even after decades of playing, and continues to show pieces of its history through the golf clothing men wear.

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