Golf Style: Persistent Perceptions of Sartorial Shortcomings

The Boys of the Bad Pants Open
A reputation, once it becomes ingrained in the minds of the masses, can be almost impossible to shake... and golf, over the years, has developed a sartorial reputation that's decidedly sordid.

Thanks to decades of garish polyester pants, generations of dorky saddle shoes and endless incidents of argyle abuse, golf fashion has become a joke in the minds of many... with Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack as its poster boy.  The perception persists, particularly among those who don't follow the sport, despite the wealth of sophisticated golf styles available today from top designers and a roster of young golf stars with who could hold their own on the runways of Paris as well as the fairways of Augusta National.

"Golf style is an oxymoron along the lines of airline food or congressional ethics."

So began a review of Nike's new Dunk NG Golf Shoes in Freshness, a new style/trend/consumer publication that addresses itself to a discerning community of global consumers.  The shoes, which were recently released in Japan, are of the popular street shoe/casual/sneaker-like variety, in other words, the antithesis of the aforementioned dorky saddle shoes and the review, after beginning with that inauspicious comparison ended on an optimistic note:

"... the brand is doing what it can to rehabilitate golf’s image. This Dunk NG, equipped with Scorpion Stinger Spikes and Tri-LOK system, features a crisp White/Court Green-Black colorway that injects a modicum of street style to the gentleman’s game. They still don’t make golf cool, but it’s a start."

The reviewer... by the sounds of it... isn't much into golf, and his perceptions are probably pretty representative of the non-golfing public in general.  For those of us more immersed in the sport - as spectators or players - it may be unsettling to think that despite the best efforts of designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste and Ralph Lauren... and even with stars like Ricky Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa... golf, in the minds of many, still isn't considered cool.