Dressed to Play

One Difficulty of the Game: Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

Golf clothing has changed over the years, as both men and women adapted the fashions of the times to the golf course. Early women golfers wore long-sleeved, high-necked blouses with ties, jackets, and long skirts, as well as the requisite hat and gloves. Long skirts could get caught while swinging a club, and fitted blouses often made it difficult to swing. The jackets were gradually replaced by sweaters, but long skirts – pleated or jersey knit - prevailed into the 1940s.

Men wore long shirts and suits or tweed jackets with knickers ending just below the knee and knee-high socks. In the 1920s they often completed the look with two-toned shoes and soft tweed caps, and substituted a sweater for the jacket. Plus-fours (knickers cut four inches longer) became popular to wear with colorful golf socks, but were eventually replaced by flannel slacks.

In the mid-1950s, Bermuda-style shorts (worn with knee socks) finally became accepted wear for women. Along with the shorts, the Golf for Women magazine commented, “No self-respecting woman golfer was without her red lipstick, all-white golf spikes with kilties, bobby socks, cat’s-eye sunglasses, and knitted club covers.” By the 1970s, women were wearing shorter shorts, or skorts, with polo shirts, and in the next few decades, they could shape their own look from a wider variety of styles.