4 steps to pick the perfect polo to rock on the golf course

June 2, 2019

It’s more uniform than garb — who doesn’t don a polo shirt on the golf course? The reason is simple: It’s dressy, athletic and functional in equal amounts. Honestly — what would you wear instead?

You can thank the British infantry for the most ubiquitous item in your golf closet. They began making — and wearing — a long-sleeved version after adopting the game of polo (hence the name) in India at the start of Raj rule in the mid-1800s. Its modern sibling was pioneered in 1929 by Frenchman and tennis star Jean René Lacoste. As post-WWII golf saw an ease in traditions, the game’s tailored clothing of the past gave way to more sporty attire that allowed for movement and comfort. The tennis polo made its move to the links. Then Arnie rocked it — and we haven’t looked back.

Picking the perfect polo

1. Length: Some polos are purposely made longer so they remain tucked. Think about NBA jerseys and how clownishly long they are so they don’t become unhinged during a jump shot. If your shirt often gets dislodged during swings, look for a longer one.

2. Sleeves: They should come down to the middle of your upper arm, with the seam that connects the sleeves lining up with the middle of your shoulders. Now that’s a good-fitting polo!

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3. Placket: You’ve probably never thought about this before, but the style of the polo shirt depends a lot on the placket and how many buttons it holds. If you’re a traditionalist, opt for a two-button polo with a turned-back or hidden placket. Going for a more modern look? Look for shirts with topped-on plackets (visible on the outside of the shirt) and two buttons. If a polo with three buttons and a topped-on placket and chest pocket catch your eye, you’re looking trendy. That’s muy retro (and fun), amigo.

4. Pattern, fabric and shape: Dark solids and stripes are huge helps in camouflaging less-than-flat abs. The more athletic set? Look for tags like “slim fit,” not “classic fit.” If you’re caught somewhere in between, demo it. There’s never any harm in trying things on.

Style Selector

TECHNICAL: Dunning Classic Pique
Did you know that the moisture-wicking in some shirts eventually erodes away with washing? That’s a point of difference for Dunning, whose mission as a brand is solely based on on-course performance. It incorporates Coolmax into the fabric structure of each garment, so as long as you’re sweating, it’ll be there to keep you cool.

STRETCHY/COMFY: B. Draddy Polo
Made from super-soft Peruvian Pima cotton, this polo is perfect for the player who wants a soft, super-relaxed, natural-hang polo. When you’re paired with someone wearing one of these, expect one chill companion.

NEW CLASSICS: Peter Millar Stretch
This Peter Millar polo has classic styling but is made in a subtle pique that’s got plenty of stretch for ease of movement. It’s the perfect update to a time-tested style of golf shirt that will never go out of fashion.

FITTED: Bonobos M-Flex
These polos are perfect for the guy who wants something clean, fitted and not flapping about.

WILDCARD: Malbon x Nike
Los Angeles-based upstart Malbon has been pumping out great collaborations one after another, but nothing has been more coveted than the new special-release Nike polos with the Malbon character art. It’s a nice reminder that part of the allure of playing this game is that it’s a helluva lot of fun.

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Clockwise from top left: B. Draddy Polo, $90; Bonobos M-Flex Golf Polo, $68; B. Draddy Polo, $90; Malbon x Nike Dri-Fit Victory Solid Polo, $88; Peter Millar Solid Stretch Jersey Polo, $84; Dunning Classic Pique Golf Shirt, $79; Lululemon Evolution Polo, $88.
Levi Brown