Golf Wear for The New Millennium
Among the original 13 rules of golf are antiquated statements (and spellings) such as, “If your ball comes among watter, or any wattery filth, you are at liberty to take out your ball ...,” and “You are not to remove stones, bones or any break club, for the sake of playing your ball,” (What’s a break club?). While, of course, the original Scottish sounds foreign to the modern ear, the language alone illustrates how far the game has come in just a couple hundred years. Clubs and balls might be making warp-speed advances, but the innovations aren’t all technological. On the clothing side, fabrics and styles evolve every season. Bobby Jones’ bow tie has not been seen on a course in some time. Even the stalwart golf knickers and plaid pants are all-but-extinct (except, of course, for Jesper Parnevik, bless his stylish soul). The dress-code formalities of the past have given way fully to the need for comfort and performance. There are a few different areas to look at how technology has changed the state of golf clothing at the beginning of 2008.
To a golfer, the golf jacket may just be king. To many, a quality jacket brings with it both a high-perceived and actual value. Since golfers are often exposed to a wide range of elements, an item that keeps them dry, yet allows breathability and comfort is essential. A quality waterproof jacket can be a win for any distributor. There are a number of companies to choose from, including FootJoy that offers its Sta-Dry Extreme technology.
Wicking fabrics are rapidly replacing nonwicking ones. They pull moisture and perspiration away from the skin, and let it exit outwardly through the fabric, while not letting external moisture in. Thus, a person’s skin stays drier and warmer because there is not a significant amount of moisture to cool it through evaporation. The Nike golf line, available through Preston, Washington-based SanMar, provides Dri-Fit as its proprietary wicking material. Stepping up to a wicking material can add one more level of comfort for the end-user, which in turn is always good for the distributor.
Companies like Los Angeles-based Alo are adding an anti-bacterial element to clothing lines. Besides being functional, clothing lines like this bring the “wow” factor. The main advantage to this is less about preventing the bubonic plague, and more about keeping odors at bay. Its technology allows distributors to offer a comfortable shirt for the course, that doesn’t have to be changed out of when the player reaches the clubhouse (or 19th hole, if one prefers).
Even in the northeast, golf has become a 12-month sport (regardless of, or maybe thanks to, global warming). Players need clothing that allows them to brave the elements, swing the club and not appear to be an Inuit teeing off during an Anchorage cold spell. Big, puffy coats need not apply. Fabrics such as microfleeces and polypropylenes provide warmth, without sacrificing mobility and comfort. For example, Callaway Golf, distributed by Carlsbad, California-based Ashworth Golf, provides a stylish and functional microfleece pullover.
One final aspect of golf technology is stretch-fit apparel. Stretch-fit apparel is targeted to the more athletic golfer. While one doesn’t need the pythons (arms) of Tiger Woods to pull off a quality stretch-fit shirt, it does help to not have the spare tire (gut) of John Daley (no offense, John). Adidas has a ClimaCool line that offers wicking technology combined with Lycra to provide a more athletic-fitting, yet functional, shirt.
There are many companies to choose from that offer comparable features and styles, which is good news for those comparison shopping. It allows the individual to assess what is top priority—function, price or fit. Golf will continue to change with the times, though some things remain universal. The best scoring averages will range in the low 70’s. Two-foot putts fail to go in. And win or lose, hands are shaken and hats removed upon leaving the 18th green.