Has ever a sport done so much for fashion as golf? Being the preserve of the bourgeoisie and steeped in tradition and etiquette golf demanded smart but serviceable attire. Whereas the earliest pros would be decked out as if they were going grouse shooting on the inhospitable Scottish moors, by the middle of the 20th century golf was developing a sartorial code of it’s own.
Top line:Here we see Henry Cotton sporting an Argyle sweater and plus fours.Sam Snead has a very rakish American style, the F. Scott Fitzgerald of the sportsworld, whereas debonair Max Faulkner looks as though he’s just popped out of the office. Kathy Whitworth shows the move into more chic and daring styles for lady golfers in the swinging sixties. Middle line: Ben Hogan- the master of casual; four unknown gents in the thirties displaying a remarkable example of fairway dandyism; Moe Norman, a true genius of the game- this is the era when sportswear became distinct from the generic casual look- where else could a grown man wear those pants other than on the golf course? Bottom line: Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) and James Bond (Sean Connery) illustrate the contrast between the old and the new. Kathy Whitworth again- modern prints, slim waist, suntan; Kel Nagle, the Australian penchant for hats reached into the present day thanks to Greg Norman; Gary Player typifies the slim clean cut look of the sixties- the first mod- golfer.
In the next few weeks we’ll see the US open and The British Open- there will probably be some remarkable outfits on display, but I doubt that any will match the elegance of the bygone days of tweed and hickory shafts.