From Polos to Plaid, Golf Fashion Reigns at Congressional

A few observations on spectator style choices.

Let’s face it, the U.S. Open is not just a golf event, it’s a fashion event as well. Admittedly, even I have taken the care to pick out what I’m going to wear and much of the time I’m sitting in a crowded media tent with hundreds of salty, disgruntled sportswriters.

The first day of play has seen some stylish shots, like amateur Peter Uihlein holing his approach shot at the fifth for an eagle, and some stylish clothing.

There seems to be two categories when it comes to men’s U.S. Open style.

First, there is your country club type, probably reared in the Northeast, donning Nantucket reds, a standard Ralph Lauren polo shirt, Sperry topsiders and Ray Ban wayfarer sunglasses. This set shops at Brooks Brothers and knows the difference between a keel and a cuddy. These preps probably attended a small liberal arts college (Williams? Amherst?), and you can tell them by the generally emotionless look on their faces, possible from too many gin and tonics.

The second men’s look at the Open is the golf nut look. This type is decked out, head to toe, in the latest golf gear. A Titleist fitted hat with the Pro-V1 marking on the side and logo on the back, an Under Armour golf shirt, the latest breathable khaki golf shorts and a new pair of Nike golf spikes. The golf nut will also buy tons of merchandise at the vendor tent and wear it to whatever government contractor company he works for to impress his friends. This guy is genuinely excited about being at the Open and will spend each night watching highlights of what he saw live while he putts Titleist golf balls with a Scotty Cameron putter into a plastic cup his kid brought back from the Renaissance Festival one year.

For ladies' fashion, there are several categories, but they are not as distinct as for the men.

You have your preppy female counterparts who are also wearing a polo shirt, but they usually don a modest skirt, just above the knees, in white or plaid, with a visor to top off the look (and to keep the sun at bay).

The female version of the golf nut is much rarer than the male counterpart, but she exists. Like the male of this species, she dons as much name-brand gear as possible, from Titleist to Ping to Taylor Made.

My favorite of the female style is what I call the, “I can’t believe you dragged me out here,” look. The clothes don’t matter much here. It’s usually shorts and a polo shirt of some sort. What’s unique is the facial expression, which seems to say any and all of the following:

“You didn’t tell me there would be this much walking.”
“It’s hot out.”
“You owe me for this.”

She is usually accompanied by the male golf nut and has no idea that he dropped his whole tax return for the chance to walk three miles in the heat and stand behind a gallery 10 deep to see to see the top of Phil Mickelson’s head.

And now I'm sure you're dying to know what I've worn so far this week.

I may not be rocking bright colors and Puma flatbrim hats like Rickie Fowler, but my Patch green Ralph Lauren polo (with purple polo man), Brooks Brothers khakis (I believe you should never wear shorts on a golf course whether spectating or playing), Nike running shoes (the course, at 7,500 yards is just over 4 miles, so you need to wear something comfortable) and an old, beat-up Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap looked pretty smart for the first official round of play.


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