Golf is for many an embarrassing game. A hooked first drive in front of the clubhouse, a lot of messing about in the long grass, three-putting on the greens; it’s enough to make any reasonable man break every beastly club from wood to sand-wedge. If you are not experienced with this misfortune, yet you play the game, you are to be envied; you are the cool golfer, the one to whom it doesn’t seem to matter and yet to whom all the first tee glory inevitably goes.
Embarrassing enough as it is, it does not need to be made worse by an inexplicably dull outfit. There is licence in the game of golf, to be properly turned out. Unlike other sports such as tennis, where one is dashing about the court, perspiring, wiping brow with a clammy arm and peeling away a sweat-drenched shirt from the body, the season in which golf is enjoyed, and the fact that it can be played in the pouring rain, whilst enjoying a leisurely walk from tee to green gives it that civility which allows for style to be exploited.
One of the nattiest parts of any golf outfit, the shoes are very important practically for the game. Naturally, apart from the shoes being comfortable and fitting correctly, they need to be stylish. If you are fortunate enough to get your shoes tailored at Berluti or John Lobb, then your cobbler will no doubt have provided you with some of the most magnificent golf shoes known to man. However, many of you will be purchasing from the ready-made market. For a combination of excellent comfort and style, the Footjoy Classics are the best (pictured).
Golf shirts & knits
The temptation when playing golf is to go too far and wear bizarre patterns, plus-fours and polo shirts of a papal purple. However, a little restraint, and your golfing outfit can have runway chic. Ralph Lauren, a designer I have often recommended, manufactures good quality golfing gear. For something a little more modern, choose J Lindberg polo shirts (pictured, left) and for a touch of British eccentricity choose Pringle knitwear (pictured, centre). Tommy Hilfiger also manufactures a well-designed range of golf-clothing (pictured, right). The cardigan revival has meant that they are now reappearing on the golf course, which is refreshing as I consider them a lot more individual than a v-neck sweater. Try not to restrict yourself to polo shirts either. For colder days, sport shirts with button-down collars look very smart when worn with sleeveless jumpers. Adding a tie will also smarten the look for post-round functions.
Though skinny trousers are currently on-trend for the well dressed gentleman, they are not appropriate for the links; try fitting a golf ball and tee into a pocket and you will know why. Slim fitting trousers in a chino material are elegant and practical for the rigours of the game. Banana Republic now manufactures a line of nicely fitted chinos (pictured). Choose darker colours for rainier days as khaki tends to look rather tramp-ish during a wet round. Save the lighter colours, and of course tailored shorts, for sunnier times.