Choose the right style of pants and you’ll have a leg up on the golf course

June 30, 2019

There’s a great story from The Scotsman that appeared a few years back that tells the tale of Dr. Jerry Foster, a 13th-generation Scots-American who went on a long holiday to his family’s native land. Dr. Foster was an avid golfer, you see, and his goal on this journey was to play all eight of his rounds wearing one of his 14 traditional Scottish kilts (which seems like a lot of kilts for a radiologist from Kentucky). The plan was going well—he was received warmly by starters at the first seven stops, including those at venerable clubs such as St. Andrews, Muirfield and Turnberry.

But when he arrived at Royal Troon, he was told he would not be allowed to play unless he put on a pair of trousers. How was it, thought a bewildered Dr. Foster, that in the birthplace of golf, he would be prevented from teeing it up in Scotland’s national dress? The reason given by the caddie master was that men were never permitted to show bare leg on the course. Huh? So, Dr. Foster raced back to his hotel to change and nearly missed his tee time. He was forced to play his final round in-country disappointedly unkilted.

The moral of this story is that you always need to have a solid pair of pants on hand (maybe even a few pairs). Lucky for you, there are a ton of great new styles and fabrics on the market.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect non-kilt golf wear:

1. Keep Your Eyes on the Rise

The rise is the measurement from the middle of the crotch seam to the top of your waistband (average is about 9.5 inches). The longer that number, the more fabric there is in the crotch area, and vice versa. It also determines where your pants sit on your waist.

2. Favor a Taper

A tapered leg means the pants get slimmer as they approach your shoe. You don’t want this fit too snug, even with modern, stretchable material. Restriction is to be avoided. A straight leg doesn’t get narrower at all as it reaches the bottom. Ideally, you’ll find a leg that tapers slightly, but not too severely. Split the difference. And whichever fit you choose, stay away from bloody pleats!

3. Pump the Breaks

The length of your pants is typically a personal preference, but for golf, I recommend you choose (or hem) pants that just touch the tops of your shoes with no break. And it’s definitely time to lose the cuffs.

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