National Hat Day, An Occasion to Celebrate A Golf Fashion Accessory
It's one of those days... again. A "national" day most of us never knew existed, celebrating something most of us would never have thought to celebrate.
Today is National Hat Day, and I must admit it took me by surprise this morning even though I've spent more than a decade in a town known as Hat City. Yes, Danbury, CT was the hat making capital of the world for the first half of the 20th century, when hats...for both men and women... were de rigueur, As fashions changed, the industry declined, and these days hatting is just a memory in Danbury, Nonetheless, it remains a proud part of the city's identity.
Once I was reminded of today's special significance, talk of it got me thinking of golf hats. The ubiquitous billed ball cap pretty much dominates the fairways these days, however "golf hats" actually have a rich history, and there are contemporary golfers... both professional and amateur... who manage to buck the billed cap trend and make distinctive style statements with their on-course headgear.
Consider the case of Vicky Hurst. The popular LPGA player began wearing a flat newsboy cap as a tribute to Payne Stewart and is now widely known for the distinctive style. There there's Michelle McGann; the seven-time LPGA Tour winner often wears wide brim straw hats and has become so indelibly associated with the style that fans sometimes complain when she switches to a billed cap... which she does on rainy/windy days. The oversize straw sun visor is a style many associate with glamorous, Australian golfer/model/MBA Candidate Anna Rawson. It's an ultra-feminine style and definitely wouldn't work for everyone but the beautiful Aussie certainly wears it well.
The guys, of course, have some their own golf hat heroes: Kirk Triplett has multiple wins on both the PGA and Champions Tours and is universally known as the "Man in The Bucket Hat", while Greg Norman's signature straw hat is as much a part of his image as the shark embroidered on its band. Jesper Parnevik had his heyday in the early 2000's and spent 38 weeks in the top 10, but is probably better know for his sartorial eccentricities which include an odd upturned-bill baseball cap and the occasional porkpie.
I'm quite sure the baseball-style billed golf cap will continue to rule for the foreseeable future, but hopefully there'll always be a few golfers willing to take stylistic risks and commit to a unique personal style...and an unconventional lid.