February 11, 2000
For most people, “golf fashion” is a contradiction in terms.
The many jokes about golfers and their clothes are funny because they are true.
In the Cape Region, some golfers continue to act on their belief that 100% polyester is a viable fashion option. Others apparently still enjoy mixing plaid pants with striped shirts.
Visitors at several local private courses can also see ample proof of the scientific fact that far more men than women are colorblind. How else can some of the men’s clothing choices be explained?
One local golfer I’ve known all my life occasionally wears an outfit his kids call “the full Cleveland.” First developed in the late 70’s and early 80’s, this bold look involves keeping all the items coordinated.
Extremely coordinated, in fact.
For example, he wears a pastel blue cap, a pastel blue shirt, sky blue pants, and matching pastel blue socks. A white belt and white golf shoes complete the ensemble.
Recently he switched to a black belt and black shoes for the same blue outfit. This is called “the modified Cleveland.”
Personally, I take my cue from Fernando, a Saturday Night Live character that the comedian Billy Crystal created. This smarmy slick “continental” character is proud of his exquisitely groomed, stylish appearance.
As Fernando says, “If you cannot be good, you can at least look good.”
This phrase suits me perfectly, both for how I play golf and what I wear while playing it.
In this regard I am a source of unintentional but constant amusement to my family.
Unlike most other activities, I keep to a certain style when it’s time to hit the links.
Only natural fibers will do, preferably cotton. The shirts, double-pleated pants, and even the shorts are carefully pressed. The colors are limited to white, black, gray, or beige. The socks are always an athletic white crew style.
As far as I’m concerned, if he saw me Fernando would use his standard bit of flattery: “You look mahhvelous!”
Others may disagree.
This whole topic came up because of Kevin Costner, the actor and amateur golfer. Costner is a frequent celebrity player at the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Open, the old Bing Crosby event. He makes a point of being fashionably attired at this popular tournament.
The handsome star of “Tin Cup” appeared at Pebble Beach a few years ago when his golf movie first hit the screens. Costner created a stir at the time by wearing a sweater vest tucked into his gabardine pants.
CBS announcer Gary McCord, who assisted Costner in making “Tin Cup,” suggested at the time that Costner could pull off the sweater tuck look, but most other golfers could not and should not even try.
Despite McCord’s warning, shortly afterward I decided see how it would look if I followed Costner’s example.
The phrase “terminal geek” came immediately to mind. I also couldn’t help hearing the giggling behind me as I stood before my bedroom mirror.
At last week’s tournament Costner did it again. He wore a nicely patterned sweater vest over a white long-sleeved collared shirt. Costner did not tuck in the vest this year, however. Instead, just above the V opening in the sweater, a solid beige tie encircled his neck.
Oh well. Costner and I are just going to have to disagree on what should be worn to play golf. I already wear a tie far too often as it is.
Movie stars in celebrity tournaments can wear a tie for golf for the sheer novelty of it.
On the other hand, I can look marvelous without one.
Or try to, anyway.