Men’s golf fashion has taken many turns over the decades—from jaunty hats to short pants to fanciful color schemes and everything in between. Let’s look back at the particularly unique evolution of golf attire over the past century.
In the early days of golf, men in Scotland would wear heavy tweed suits and caps. Waistcoats and sturdy shoes completed the ensemble in a nod to late 18th century popular style. Women wore long skirts and blouses, and, of course, played in sensible heels.
By the 1920s, the popularity of golf had grown dramatically. Men played particular attention to their attire: a jaunty cap, knitted cardigans, patterned golf socks, pants just past the knee, and two-toned shoes. A bowtie or classic cravat was often added.
1930 – 1940
Men began to take up a game of golf after the work day in the 1930s. This meant that suit pants and full-length trousers in white or gray became preferential. Men also started to play without neckties around this time. In the 1940s, lightweight fabrics gained momentum on the course. Men opted for knitted shirts, sturdy shoes, and checkered bermuda shorts to create a look that still remains popular today.
The fifties proved to be a decade where men truly embraced color in order to make a statement. Gone were the dark, dull tweeds and wools of the past, as the 1950s ushered in the era of the classic polo and trousers look. Knitted golf shirts were paired with pants, trousers, and shorts of any bold color of the rainbow.
The 1960s continued where the 1950s left off and went the direction of synthetic fabrics (nylon and polyester). Golf garments were subdued into yellows, browns, and oranges. The fit of golf attire began to change too, as men started to wear clothes that were slim-cut and slouchy.
Polyester found its heyday in the 1970s. During this period, golfers wore sweaters and slacks in purple, kelly green, and magenta, continuing to favor synthetics like brown polyester and orange nylon. And, of course, don’t forget the immense popularity of the turtleneck and mock turtleneck, both at the office and on the green.
Golf fashion in the 1980s was largely influenced by the popular comedy film Caddyshack as much as it was by the dramatic return of golf to popular interest. The eighties also began the fervor of technology in golf clothing: moisture-wicking fabrics and water-resistant leathers. The 1990s brought with it the age of sponsorship in which players’ colorful clothing was dictated by brand standards and emblazoned logos. Well-respected clothing labels began to join the golf fashion game while some players maintained a classic style with polos and slacks.