Golf Shirts: The Brief History and the Etiquette

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Today’s golfers typically wear collared golf shirts paired with roomy golf pants or shorts, together with a hat or visor with a brim. They wear a vest, cardigan, or jacket in cold weather. Women golfers wear outfits with or without a collar, matched with slacks or shorts. Some even wear “skorts” – something that’s visually a skirt but is actually shorts.

The designs and plaids worn today by players are actually a nod to the origins of golf clothing. In the early 1900s, the well-dressed golfer wears a single breast jacket with a coat along with knickers.

By the 1920s, golfers distinguished themselves by putting formal outfits. They continued the traditional outfit by wearing a shirt and tie, placed over knitted cardigan on cooler days.

In 1940, golf clothing began to resemble outfits. Men wore short-sleeved knitted shirts as well as lightweight slacks. For cold weather, water-resistant jackets became popular.

Actually, the history of golf shirts is rather uncertain. Most people believe shirts were originally developed by Rene Lacoste. However, some have traced it back to the mid-1800s in Manipur, India. Allegedly, British soldiers witnessed a polo match by locals. The very first polo club had opened and at that time, players wore long-sleeved shirts made of thick cotton with broad collars.

In 1926, due to the shirt’s wind resistant collar, Rene Lacoste designed the modern polo shirts. He got an idea of removing the sleeves of his long-sleeved tennis shirt. He also wanted to remove the buttons from the tennis shirt of 1920s.

Lacoste also invented the so-called “tennis tail” which allowed the back of the shirt to be slightly longer than the front, making it possible to tuck in pants and shorts. He was also the one who adopted the pique knit and allowed the shirt to be machine-knitted. Soon after that, his innovative shirts became famous active wear around the world.

golf shirtsIn 1952, the picture of President Dwight Eisenhower wearing a polo shirt in the golf course was released. Golfers from around the world, including those in the United States, started wearing polo shirts – immediately placing polo shirts in the approved list of appropriate golf shirts in the dress codes.

Today, such shirts can be worn in almost any environment including golf clubs. Most courses have adopted polo shirts as preferred shirts for uniforms.

Shirt Etiquette

Despite the broad use of shirts, there are still some rules that must followed in wearing them.

1.Stop wearing an undershirt.

Golf shirts can be tight but not too tight, and enough for a golfer to move freely and comfortably. The undergarment will just slip from under the sleeve or can crumple at the collar.

2.Try wearing shirts fitted to the body.

It’s better to wear something fitted than one that’s either too tight or too loose. If a finger can’t stick between the bicep and sleeve, a bigger size is suitable. If there’s too much space, choosing a smaller size will surely be better. High quality golf shirts are mostly made from light materials like cotton. They could drape over the body in an inconspicuous way.

3.Size the shirts to the wearer’s height.

Obviously, shirts should not go midway past the buttocks. These would certainly crumple and show when tucked in. But shirts would also look ridiculous if left untucked. Shirts with tennis tail should be avoided if you are planning to leave them untucked.

4.Avoid popping your collar.

If planning to attend for formal event, popping the collar would look untidy. The trend for popped collars is over. Popping the collar is like wearing sunglasses at night. Just leave it to the teenager who’s trying to be cool.

5.Avoid wearing shirts with oversized logos.

A small logo on the breast area is often unavoidable since it has become the standard. Some logos are tone in tone with the knit which is more preferable.

6.Don’t wear a polo blazer over the shirt.

Some people may think that they’d look good by sporting a polo shirt and blazer ensemble. The blazer will look good with an ordinary dress shirt. If that’s the case, skip the polo and go right to the simple shirt.

7.Tucking and untucking depends on the situation.

It all depends on the outfit and occasion. In a golf game, tucking shirts could be advisable to look formal and to ensure comfort.

Aside from remembering those dos and don’ts in wearing shirts, it’s also crucial to take note of these tips and facts:

I.Solid colors like pink and lilac are acceptable on a golf shirt.

II.Stripes and bright colors are classic.

III.Consider how the shirts would look if paired with trousers. If shirts are bright like red or pink, the trouser should be in a neutral color such as black and white.

IV.For women, sleeveless shirts may be allowed, provided they have collar.

V.Slim-fit styles in stretch fabrics comfortably follow the contours of the body.

VI.Men’s shirt sleeves should be three quarters to the elbow.

VII.Colors don’t always have to look bright to make a statement. Try to create balance in choosing color combinations.

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