The inaugural GOLF Style Awards: the good, bad and highly questionable in golf fashion and grooming

January 4, 2018

Golf fashions remind us of that Clint Eastwood movie. There’s the good. There’s the bad. And there’s the stuff you should be quietly escorted off the course for wearing. To clarify what works and what absolutely doesn’t, we recruited Ian Gilley, the style-minded founder of golf brand strategy firm Sugarloaf Social Club, and asked him to weigh in on the best and worst looks of the last year. 

1. Best Sunday Outfit at a Major: Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship

Saddle shoes, matching belt, deep navy pants and cap with a simple geranium pink shirt for pop. “He dresses like a player,” Gilley says. “And the results back that up.”

2. Worst Sunday Outfit at a Major: Sergio Garcia at the Masters

“If you plan on winning the Masters, dress like you already have,” Gilley says. “In no universe does dark teal with an ombre pattern work under a green jacket.”

3. Best Team Scripting: U.S. Walker Cup team

Their play was sharp. Their dress was even sharper. The highlight, Gilley says, came at the award ceremony, where the guys rocked their bright Sunday pants with crisp white polos and solid green blazers. The result was “simple, classy and bold.”

4. Worst Team Scripting: Presidents Cup International team

In a woeful week for the Internationals, Gilley says the worst aesthetic moment came during the team picture, when the players sported a teal-and-white ensemble that “looked more like a crew member uniform on a Disney Cruise Line.” Nearly as bad were the team’s drab black-and-grey Sunday outfits, though — come to think of it — the gloomy color scheme was fitting for the burial service that the competition turned out to be.

5. Best Color Coordination: Geoff Ogilvy

Credit the Aussie, Gilley says, for sartorial understatement that makes him a sneakily great dresser. “He has a knack for pulling off a muted color palette extremely well. It’s quiet, classy, with a dash of throwback—just like his game.”

6. Worst Color Coordination: Shanshan Feng

Silly us. We were thinking John Daly was a shoo-in for this dubious honor, given his penchant for dressing like a one-man clown parade. But Gilley suggests giving Long John a break, because his outfits, while outlandish, are very much in character. As Gilley sees it, this season’s more egregious fashion faux pas came from Feng, who proudly sported a collection of “questionable cow-print pieces.” Gilles believes they were a first for a professional athlete. Here’s hoping they will also be the last.

7. Best Old-School Look: The cast of Tommy’s Honour

Set in Scotland in 1866, this film about Old and Young Tom Morris nailed the fashions of the era to a T. “From the tweed-laden professionals to the red-coated ‘gentlemen’ of the R&A, every detail was buttoned up to perfection,” Gilley says.

8. Best New-School Look: Adam Scott

A lot of big-box outfits are a big bore. Not so Scott’s Uniqlo duds, which, Gilley says, perfectly reflect his personality, with “super simple and classy timeless pieces that should be staples of everyone’s wardrobe.” (Hey, there’s a reason he’s our Most Stylish Male Golfer!)

9. Best Headwear: Bryson DeChambeau

His name isn’t Bond, James Bond. But the trilby cap he wears calls to mind Sean Connery’s dapper dress in his match against Goldfinger.

10. Worst Headwear: Bernhard Langer

As they get older, most people grow more set in their ways. Not the 60-year-old Langer, who used to sport high-crown Tour visors but has come to favor dorky tennis visors—a look that Gilley likens to Langer’s putting technique: something about it doesn’t look quite right.

11. Best Facial Hair: Scott Piercy

Whether he’s sporting a soul patch, a goatee or five-o’clock shadow, the conscientiously groomed Piercy gets Gilley’s nod as “the Danny Ocean of the PGA Tour.”

12. Worst Facial Hair: Andrew “Beef” Johnston

If an Amish farmer mated with a lumberjack, the offspring might look something like the amiable, unkempt Johnston, whose beard is gnarlier than a bad British Open lie.

13. Best Street Clothes: Lydia Ko

If you polled the players on the LPGA tour, Gilley says they’d likely call out Ko for her killer off-course clothing. “He dress game for those mandatory dinners is always on point and she has excellent taste for modern street style,” Gilley says. “Comfortable, happy, adorable and confident — that’s what her look says to me.”

14. Best On-Course Footwear: Phil Mickelson

When you’re grilling on the patio, Crocs will do. But when you’re strolling the fairways, what you want are gators. As in Lefty’s classy alligator-leather kicks.

15. Best Off-Course Footwear: Pat Perez

One look at Perez, and you believe him when he says that he’s allergic to the gym. One glance at all his sneaker collection, though, and you might mistake him for LeBron James.