What’s the secret to playing great? It starts with what you wear.

Golfers come in all shapes and sizes. We all have to conform to dress rules and regulations, but I do feel there is an argument for engaging an army of fashion police around golf courses. If not an army, at least a lieutenant.

Coming from a background in fashion, I can’t help but to do a quick scan around the clubhouse and practice green to see what people are wearing. I like seeing who has knocked it out of the park, and who didn’t.

An automatic conversation takes place in my head: What was he thinking with that print shirt?

Cool pants … I want some!

Did she really mean to buy that size skirt?

Ditch the floppy hat, the only things missing are the corks!

The problem is we are all condemned to follow some antiquated fashion guideline on what’s seen as appropriate for wearing around the clubhouse and on the course. You know: collared shirts only for men and women, or shorts and skirts to a certain length. And don’t get me started on the socks – ankle, mid-calf, long … the rules change depending on the club and so the silliness continues.

I figure the guys have it easier (except for the sock drill) as there are really only two major components: shirt and pants. If you stick to some pretty basic guidelines you should be able to pull together a half-decent look.

Women, I feel, have a harder time because as much as we would love to have more fun with the fashion, there are so few decent designs to choose from. For some insane reason they have men primarily designing women’s golfing attire. Who thought that was a good idea?

We spend hours working on our swing, correcting unfortunate habits and fixing that putting stroke but how often do we turn our attention to what we are wearing? Like most of my golf mates, I have collected oodles of golf gear – some old and tatty, some shiny new – all of it trying to conform to the golfing hierarchy.

And how much does our choice of golfing attire affect our game?

I can spend hours watching golf on television, not only to admire the pros’ grip of the game but to have a sneaky perv at who is looking their best. I want to see a shirt and pant combo that says, I’ll be looking damn good when I lift that trophy. That’s confidence, which is everything in this game. You’ve got to look the part. Sponsors throw golf apparel at the pros like it’s a Boxing Day sale – it’s easy for them to pick, choose and co-ordinate the look. Although someone ought to have a quiet word to Rory McIlroy that grey and fluro yellow doesn’t cut it, even if you do have the world’s sexiest fairway swagger. 

John Daly
John Daly

So here’s my take on it: I’m not a big fan of big prints. Sorry John Daly, but your loud wardrobe needs the volume turned down. Soft stripes and shuttle prints are fine for shirts but try your hardest to wear pants and shorts that are one solid colour to complement. I know a few of you love check pants – and that’s OK – but keep the shirt a plain colour … no matchy-matchy!

If you’re carrying one too many beers (appreciating we have to keep shirts tucked in), please give your fellow golfers a break and avoid bright, big prints and opt for darker colours that flatter and disguise the good life.

My favourite look on the course by far is when the pros wear white, flat-front pants with a slim-fitting coloured polo shirt. Crisp, fresh and sexy. Keeping in mind young professionals these days spend hours in the gym, you can only pull this look off if you have the body to match.

And for the women out there who scan every rack of clothing at every course they play, there is the odd pearl to be found, but it’s rare. I find it easier to look for bottoms and tops that have a good amount of stretch in them, great colours with a bit of designer attitude at good fashion retailers who pride themselves in smart casual.

Just remember, if you look like you can play to win, that’s half the battle won.   

• Deborah Hutton – Publisher balancebydeborahhutton.com.au