nike dri fit golf polo A new course for golf wear
Skip the visor and the culottes.
For Jennifer Rosales, 25, a five year veteran of the ladies professional golf circuit, fairway flair is about finding a personal style. In a sport known for its conservative nature, the native of the Philippines expresses her individuality with eye catching pieces such as headbands, sporty pullovers and sweaters, and short shorts.
A new generation of celebrated young golfers is creating a market for less conservative, more fashionable apparel for the sport especially among women and designers are meeting the demand. Rosales’s sponsor, Bally Golf, an offshoot of the 150 year old Swiss leather goods outfit, is planning to launch the “JRo” line, a stylish women’s collection that she helped design, next year.
Bally is one of several clothing companies including Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, and Polo Ralph Lauren that have teed off on golf’s popularity with collections of clothes, bags, and accessories.
Golf has gained a wider following thanks to such star power as Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie, and, of course, Tiger Woods, said Byron Kurt, Bally Golf’s vice president of sales. And younger participants and spectators alike are seeking a departure from traditional clothing styles.
“They don’t want to be wearing what the older customer is wearing,” Kurt said.
Alison Walshe, 19, a golfer from Westford, prefers the sporty,
updated styles offered by companies such as Adidas and Ralph Lauren, and often chooses capri pants and sleeveless shirts for her regular outings to the golf course.
“Women’s [golf] fashion has totally gotten better,” said Walshe, who is transferring from Boston College to play in Tulane University’s golf program.
And make no mistake, the golf course can attract just as much scrutiny as your typical couture catwalk.
“Everyone notices everyone’s outfit,” Walshe said.
Professional tennis has had its share of flashy, fashion forward stars: Think Venus and Serena Williams.
While many golfers still abide by strict dress codes at country clubs collared shirts, long shorts, no bare midriffs like tennis players, their wardrobes can migrate beyond uniforms.
“There’s wonderful freedom for the athletes to express their individual style,” said Karen Durkin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
After successful sales in Asia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the LPGA is bringing its own clothing line to the United States, featuring athletic fabrics, tighter silhouettes, and finer detailing, said Helen Rockey, who works with the LPGA. The styles are meant to work on and off the golf course, whether or not you play the sport.
“You see a lot of people wearing it as everyday streetwear,” Rockey said.
Tara Joy Connelly, 31, a Duxbury golfer who buys merchandise for the Cohasset Golf Club, calls contemporary golf clothes “lifestyle pieces” and believes their popularity stems in part from the resurgence of preppy trends such as Lacoste pique polo shirts. Tommy Hilfiger has been a particularly big seller at her store, she said.
Bally Golf received several calls after Rosales’s performance last month at the US Open in South Hadley. The company does not currently sell in Boston but is considering it (Copley Place is already home to a traditional Bally store). Women already represent 70 percent of the business, said Kurt,
mostly because they’re more likely than men to buy several pairs of shoes and coordinated outfits.