Remember when "golf clothes" universally meant khaki shorts and some sort of plain-colored polo? Maybe striped, if you were feeling a little daring?
We are in the midst of something of a revolution in golf apparel for men. Depending on your mood, your budget or even the place where you live or play, you can modulate your clothes to either fit right in or stand way out. Riding shotgun with this newfound adaptability and variety is the fact that you're less likely than ever to be judged or looked down upon for your sartorial setup.
We have received samples of clothing from a number of intriguing companies in recent weeks that show just how many different directions you can take your on-course look, if so desired. And these brands represent just a fraction of probably hundreds of choices proliferating stores, online and social media channels. Spend five minutes looking at golf stuff on Instagram and you're likely to be bombarded with dozens of different, usually direct-to-consumer golf apparel brands looking to make sure you can look good even if you can't play well.
With summer going strong, if you're looking to branch out a bit with your golf shirts, shorts and pants, you could do a lot worse than these threads:
Radda Golf brings the SoCal vibe
The golf journey of Radda Golf founder Jason Fields symbolizes the game's modern fashion movement in many ways. He grew up competing for his high school team at a country club in southern California, an experience that left him wanting more from the game. He gave up playing for a decade. When he got back into it, friends teased him about his golf clothes. He vowed to change golf's stuffy and stereotypical look, launching Radda Golf in 2019 with all sorts of inspirations behind its fashions - music, pop culture, wellness, sports and more. The result is a SoCal brand that feels hip, young and inclusive. Polos ($85-$105) come in cool colors like blood orange, tie dye and moss. The pattern of the hypnotize polo is downright funky. Hats, pants, shorts, and t-shirts are also available. - Jason Scott Deegan
UNTUCKit on and off the course
Some fancy (and I might argue stuffy) country clubs require that their golfers tuck in their shirts at all times. Sorry, but golf in the 21st century means more players can, and should, UNTUCKit. The UNTUCKit brand has been steadily growing since launching in 2011 with its first brick-and-mortar store following in 2015. Its movement of dress shirts cut short so you can wear them untucked fits any casual golf lifestyle. The whole collection has expanded into all sorts of high-quality men's and women's fashions - pants, dresses, shorts, belts, socks, hats, sweaters, sports coats, t-shirts and more. The styles are more traditional than radical, but there's enough splashes of color to look good. Living in California, I was drawn to the Limited Edition Anchor Swim Shorts ($68) and the Pierce short-sleeve button down ($89) as soon as I went shopping online. For golfers, there's a mix of polos, shorts and pants worth exploring. I wore the Ormes Tie Dye Polo ($68) and Navy Chancellor Shorts ($58) for my 50th birthday party last weekend, which included nines holes of golf and a house party. Any time you can untuck your golf shirt, even with a dad bod like mine, it helps you look and feel young again. - JSD
Southern Tide: Country club-smart below the Mason-Dixon Line
In a prior job, I worked in an ad agency that at one point represented this Greenville, S.C.-based brand for social media and some public relations. Their blue-and-white skipjack fish logo adorned mostly single-colored polo shirts and grew in popularity among fraternity guys and golf junkies across the South. A decade later, Southern Tide is still going strong and embodying the golf and fishing vibe as strongly as ever. I recently tried their brrr-eeze Shores Polo ($99.50) and a pair of their brrr-die Performance Short ($99.50). Though firmly in the upscale price range, I found both pieces comfortable and true to their names. The shorts in particular impressed me, hitting just above the knee and with a lightweight fabric with nicely breathable mesh-lined pockets. - Tim Gavrich
I'll add that when I went shopping on the Southern Tide website recently, I found their accessories much more appealing than most other golf brands. If you're in need of a belt or vest, the Abercorn Performance Vest ($135) and Gadsden Stretch Ribbon Belt ($75) are big upgrades from what's currently in my closet. The technology behind the Waddell Plaid brrr Intercoastal Performance Sport Shirt ($130) should help keep me cool with active wicking and rapid drying for dinner and drinks after the round. - JSD
Meet Robert Graham
I heard the unthinkable the first time my wife saw my new golf shirt from Robert Graham: "Ooh, I love that!" I about fell over. In 25 years of wearing golf attire, I had never heard that uttered from her. She loved that my white Robert Graham Clubhouse Gibson Cocktail Performance Stretch Polo ($128) was littered with martini glasses tipping in all directions. I liked the whimsical look, too, but more important, I loved the soft feel and light texture. It felt like the perfect marriage of fashion meeting function (including UV protection, moisture wicking and breathable stretch). Robert Graham's Clubhouse collection launched last summer, 20 years after the original Robert Graham brand (called "RG" by its followers) took off. The company's slogan #WearableArt certainly applies. The Deacon Performance khaki golf shorts ($98) and Adriatic Knit Heather Grey shorts ($118) are also in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. The collection is available online, department stores and select private golf clubs and resorts like Troon Prive clubs, Whistling Straits/Destination Kohler, Hudson National Golf Club, The Bridges of Sante Fe, Barton Creek and others. - JSD
Chubbies are not just for keggers - or legs - anymore
This brand started getting popular when I was in college, again among the beer-chugging crowd. For the first few years, they trafficked in quite short men's shorts that could be worn to lounge around or do cannonballs into the nearest pool or river. More than a decade on, Chubbies has seemed to grow up a bit, along with its loyal fans, to look presentable on my contemporaries as they start to become (semi-) responsible dads. Their Everywear shorts ($64.50) are excellent, not too expensive and totally wearable on the golf course. This fabric is so popular that the brand launched Everywear pants this month, which I found very comfy throughout a week's vacation with the family in California. Chubbies also makes shirts; they run a hair small, but the material is light, stretchy and comes in a whole host of eye-catching patterns and colors. - TG
Fresh Clean Threads makes a seriously affordable golf shirt
This brand, doing business until recently as Fresh Clean Tees, has branched out beyond its original scope. That said, they have held fast to the goal of delivering quality staple clothes at a low price. At just $25 (currently marked down to $20), their cotton-and-polyester Torrey polos are outlet-priced but, I find, of slightly higher quality and better looks than most competitors at that price. I would size up here, though; the two shirts I was sent shrunk a bit the first time I washed them. Simplicity and multi-purpose use are Fresh Clean Threads' hallmarks, with a bit of a youthful feel. - TG