While golf is somewhat less fashionable than the real world, it has its share of hot designers and cool-looking players. The designer of the moment is Travis Johnson of Seal Beach, Calif. (for you non-surf types, that’s between Long Beach and Huntington Beach). His sportswear brand is known as Travis Mathew (he uses his middle name on his label) and is now being worn by tour pros like John Mallinger, Bubba Watson, Aaron Baddeley, and Tommy Armour III.
“They’ve all come to us,” said Johnson in a recent interview. “Mallinger was the first.” Then Watson, who once had his own clothing line, came to him to spruce up his look.
So how does a little beachtown sportswear outfit capture the attention of today’s professionals? It’s mostly a matter of style. Travis Mathew golf clothes incorporate the kind of board-sports look favored by young men today, without being too graphic and over the top. (Armour wears the clothes, proving that a bit of rock ‘n’ roll is not entirely out of place on the Champions Tour.) Johnson, who attended UCLA on a golf scholarship, uses cowboy detailing (chest stitching or contrast piping on the fronts and backs of shirts) as well as interesting pocket treatments (flap pockets and angled pockets). His contrast-collar shirts, kind of an ode to rugby jerseys, have a preppy component that perhaps suits Watson.
“He’s a big fan,” said Chris Rosaasen, the company’s chief executive, referring to Watson. “He’s under contract. But he picks what he wants.” Several of the players, he added, are not paid to wear the Travis Mathew clothes but do so, like Ogilvy, out of their own free will.
Travis Mathew makes a full line of golf clothes, including signature belts, sweaters, trousers, hats, and shorts. Fabrics include performance polyesters as well as pima cotton blends (travismathew.com). It’s a cool look that is still very golf.