28. July 2011 23:52
We are now in an age where gender is becoming less of an issue in any aspect of the modern world – politics, culture, business all include equal rights and respect for both men and women. This is also becoming more prominent in the sporting world; female athletes are being recognised more for their capabilities, strengths and breaking records. This is also occurring in the world of golf. It has been known that golf stood for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. Well that old wives tale has been dead and buried as more female golfers are rising to the challenge and showing incredible talent. Along with this, so has the progression of golfing attire over the decades.
Golf has always been a sport with a more dignified, classier edge; from the style of play to the formality of the rules. This has also been reflected in the clothes that were deemed ‘appropriate’ to wear on a golf course. The generation of Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth saw golf clothing for women more for comfort and style, rather than enhancing sporting ability.
These iconic photographs clearly demonstrate that clothing worn by female golfers in this age are more tailored and blouses with bold patterns and details, smart trousers and comfortable loafers to aid their play on the course. The 1970’s saw the rise in pleated skirts, Bermuda shorts and blouses with novelty designs, made popular by the clothing company American Golfer. However, golf has progressed to be seen as a more competitive sport and golfers now need to become more aware of the clothing they wear to enhance their ability and skill.
Popular sporting brands such as Nike and Puma have developed clothing that enhances a golfer’s ability, such as Nike’s Dri-FIT fabric that stays dry when a golfer heats up. Tighter fitted clothing to reduce drag during a swing and women’s golf shoes for grip and comfort have all taken into consideration the potential issues that could hinder any female golfer’s game. I think this also looks so much better and ensures that female golfers are taken more seriously as athletes, as this has been a sport commonly stereotyped as a ‘gentleman’s game’. Great ambassadors of this include the likes of Michelle Wie, Natalie Gulbis and Annika Storenstam - before she retired in 2008 - who all wore clothing to enhance their game whilst looking good at the same time. I dedicate this blog to them for bucking the trend and showing that the girls can give the boys a run for their money in the golfing world, with a little help from their clothes.