Since January, I have served as the Style Insider for the PGA Tour, contributing a weekly column covering golf fashion. I discuss everything from tournament style recaps, to interviews with players and designers, seasonal style guides and apparel scripts. I haven’t promoted my PGA Tour columns here on GolfThreads, but I’m going to make a better effort moving forward.
GolfThreads’ Fall Favorites series looks at my go-to pieces this fall in the hopes of giving you a glimpse at what I’m wearing on the course this season. I would love to hear what you think about my picks in this series. Drop a note in the comments area below. Also, let me know some of your favorites that I should check out.
After a week of watching the Ryder Cup followed by the Dunhill Cup, it is no surprise that layering is on my mind.
One of my favorite layering pieces this year has been Dunning’s 1/4 Zip Stripe Stretch Thermal Pullover. I received a black one in early spring and just received another one in navy blue (or halo as Dunning calls it) for fall.
Prior to trying the Dunning pullover, sweaters were my go-to layering pieces on the course for the past few years. I’ve always found sweaters to offer a better fit through the body and arms compared to jackets and pullovers. Plus, I liked that sweaters were quieter and they provided a very classic look for the game of golf.
SEE ALSO: Dunning Golf: Stylish Players Wanted
With the 1/4 Zip, Dunning has managed to capture all the features I love about sweaters in the athletic and casual look of a pullover. It has led me to change my mind about pullovers and relegated sweaters to second-class citizen status in my closet.
As with all Dunning garments, the 1/4 Zip is built for comfort and performance, and this starts with the fabric. It is made from a 94% polyester, 6% spandex blend that provides the warmth you need on a cool day without the bulk of a heavy jacket. The inside of the 1/4 Zip is lined with a brushed material that not only provides a soft, sweater-like feel, but it also offers a thin layer of insulation to lock in the warmth. The outer layer has a silky smooth hand and just the right amount of stretch without having that elastic-y feeling that a lot of technical fabrics have these days.
The warmth that the 1/4 Zip provides in such a thin profile makes it a highly versatile layering piece. On cold mornings, I’ve layered a sweater or sweater vest under it. The flexibility of the fabric allows an additional layer like this to comfortably fit underneath. On those wintery days when it has been raining sideways, I’ve worn it under a light waterproof jacket and achieved the warmth and playability that the conditions demanded.
The drawstring around the waist serves two purposes. First, it forms a seal with your body to keep the cold and wind from hitting your core. Second, the drawstring keeps any excess material from interfering with your golf swing and putting stroke. I have to say, I’ve never really used the drawstring. With the stretchiness of the fabric, I’ve been able to size down and get a trim fit, while still maintaining comfort and performance. That snug fit through the arms and body that I got from sweaters over the years, has been replicated by Dunning in the 1/4 Zip.
One feature of the 1/4 Zip that is unique, but often overlooked in reviews and descriptions, is the cavity at the front of the neck that allows the throat to sit unfettered. This keeps the cold and wind off the neck without having that tight, zipped up feeling you get with other pullovers and jackets.
You will also notice from the pictures that the zipper does not go all the way to the top of the neck. This may seem like a small detail, but it is significant in the comfort of the piece. I can’t tell you how many jackets and pullovers I’ve sent to the bench because the zipper ripped up my chin during the swing or grabbed the hair on my chinny-chin-chin after a few days of skipping the razor.
From a style standpoint, the 1/4 Zip offers the same clean, understated and athletic look that perfectly fits with Dunning’s ‘Engineered for Athletes, Designed for Players’ motto. The contrast piping around the placket adds an air of sophistication, while the single racing stripe down the spine gives the 1/4 Zip an aggressive and sporty aesthetic. This is the outerwear piece for the player that appreciates a refined style and prefers to make noise with his game, rather than his apparel. For the true minimalists, an even more basic version of the 1/4 Zip is available minus the contrast piping and racing stripe.
In addition to the 1/4 Zip, Dunning also offers a complete layering system with base layers, vests and sweaters in natural and technical fabrics that allow you to mix and match pieces based on the weather. Check out the video below. Founder, Ralph Dunning, will tell you everything you need to know about the philosophy behind Dunning’s layering system. Keep in mind that Dunning was the pioneer in layering for the modern game. Think back to the 2007 Masters when Zach Johnson slipped on the green jacket after strolling the fairways in a unique cold weather look that consisted of a form-fitting base layer underneath a polo and topped off with a color coordinating technical vest — all from Dunning. How many times has this look been copied by pros and amateurs alike since the 2007 Masters?
It is not often that I use superlatives here at GolfThreads. Identifying the best shoes, shirts, jacket, pants, etc. is difficult these days. Unlike 10 or 15 years ago when only a few golf brands really ‘got it,’ there are more and more brands that are producing stylish threads with great fabrics.
While identifying ‘the best’ is next to impossible, I certainly have my favorites or my go-to pieces that I wear regularly on the course. For that reason, I’ve decided to create a new series for the season called, Fall Favorites. This will hopefully give you a glimpse into what I’m wearing regularly on the course. I would love to hear what you think about my picks in this series. Drop a note in the comments area below. Also, let me know some of your favorites that I should check out.
J.Lindeberg Golf Gusten Pant
There is no better place to kick off my Fall Favorites than with J.Lindeberg Golf’s Gusten pant. If you are a regular GolfThreads reader, the fact that a J.Lindeberg pant is on my list of favorites probably isn’t a huge surprise. I’ve been wearing various styles of J.Lindeberg technical pants for 10 years. I’ve worn everything from the Troon to the Troyan to the Trenton. This year, I was introduced to the Gusten and the Elof (another great pant that I will write about in the future).
The Gusten is flat out my favorite pant for the season. I’m favoring pieces that produce very clean, well-tailored aesthetics, and the Gusten is a perfect match with my personal style these days.
J.Lindeberg classifies the Gusten as a narrow fit pant, which is the brand’s slimmest fit. It possesses a very modern silhouette that is slim through the thighs with a slight taper through the lower leg. Don’t let the narrow fit description scare you, though. We are not talking about an ultra skinny pant that takes your voice up an octave and requires a spatula to put them on and take them off. The Gusten fits true to size. I sized up on my first pair thinking that I might want a bit more room and ended up having my tailor take them in. I went with my normal size on the second pair and they fit perfectly.
Speaking of tailoring, the Gusten begs to be tailored with a short break (see above). I find that the combination of the narrow leg opening and a full break leads to material bunching around the ankles. Get the legs hemmed so that they just brush the tops of your shoes and slip on a pair of cool socks from G/FORE because you will be showing some ankle when you are reading a putt.
SEE ALSO: J.Lindeberg Golf Raises the Bar…Again
The key to the slim fit of the Gusten pant is the fabric. For years, J.Lindeberg used micro twill, which was a great water resistant, breathable fabric in its own right. This year the brand rolled out a new micro stretch fabric that took the performance, comfort and fit of its pants to a new level. This new fabric is composed of a water resistant, bi-mechanical stretch material with an 89% polyester and 11% elastane blend. The micro stretch fabric is even lighter than the micro twill, and the touch of elastane provides great range of movement, while delivering a slim fit. The v-notched waistband also adds to the comfort and playability.
From a style standpoint, the Gusten pant is totally on-point. The tuxedo tape on the side seams really separates the Gusten from other technical pants. This unique design element is not only eye catching, but also adds an air of sophistication. The jetted front and rear pockets are sharp, and the ribbon around the internal waistband is pure class.
From the well-tailored fit to the high performance micro stretch fabric and high fashion styling, the Gusten is a complete technical pant for the season. It is easy to see why the Gusten pant is one of my Fall Favorites, and apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so.
J.Lindeberg brand ambassadors, Camilo Villegas, Jamie Donaldson and David Lingmerth, have been sporting the Gusten this fall. Villegas has typically favored the straight-legged Troon and Troyan trousers over the years, but he sported the narrower Gusten at the Deutsche Bank Championship during the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Donaldson opted for the Gusten at the Wales Open the week before the Ryder Cup. David Lingmerth wore a vibrant blue pair at the Wyndham Championship.
If you are looking to pick up a pair of Gustens, Trendygolf and Fairway Styles have the Gusten in stock. Trendygolf also did a great post in the Magazine section of its website earlier this year on the various fits of J.Lindeberg pants. It is a great reference. Check it out.
As golfers, this is the time of the year when our attention turns from beating the heat to beating the setting sun on that quick nine after work. It is also the time when the shorts slowly start making their way to the back of the closet in favor of pants. I don’t know about you, but I’m always left with the dilemma of buying technical golf pants that can’t be worn anywhere except the course, or risk ruining a pair of work trousers traipsing through leaves, wet grass and mud — and that’s just on the fairways.
The solution? Bluff Works pants.
Stefan Loble, the founder of Bluff Works, emailed me a couple of months ago to introduce his company. I’ve received several emails like Stefan’s over the last couple of years from non-golf brands (biking, hiking, etc.) that think their pants may be great crossover pieces for the course. You haven’t heard about any of these brands or products here on GolfThreads because they didn’t actually transition that well to the course. Some were too warm. Some were too puffy (padding is great for cycling, but not golf). Others were just ugly.
Several things about Stefan’s email, though, made me cautiously optimistic. (1) The pants on the Bluff Works website looked stylish and possessed a modern fit. (2) Stefan talked about his schedule that entailed seamlessly bouncing from one activity to the next. (3) Bluff Works pants had a very successful Kickstarter campaign.
Kickstarter campaigns are a great vehicle for startup brands to test a concept or product with little risk. Many young technology and fashion companies take their ideas to Kickstarter in the hopes of gaining funding. I knew Bluff Works had something special when I checked out its Kickstarter campaign and it demolished its goal of $13,500 with more than 1,000 backers pledging over $128,000. That’s nearly 10 times its goal.
I’ve had my pair of Bluffs for about six weeks now and worn them nearly everywhere in an effort to beat them up. I battled the flu a few weeks ago and basically lived in my Bluffs for several days. So how do they perform? Here’s a long list of what I like about Bluffs and few ideas I have for future versions.
What I Like About Bluff Works Pants
Unique fabric. Bluffs are constructed of a polyester fabric that is tough as nails but also has a Teflon-like finish that resists stains. There is a technical quality to Bluffs without looking techy.
Easy care. Bluffs are extremely easy to care for. You can play 18 holes in these on Sunday, throw them in the washing machine that night and wear them to the office on Monday morning. After washing them, just put them in the dryer for about 10 minutes, take them out, lay them flat and wear them again.
No ironing. Bluffs resist wrinkles like a plastic surgeon in a room full of Botox. You can fold them, stuff them in a gym bag, or roll them up in a ball and throw them on the floor. Trust me. I did all these things.
Lightweight and breathable. The weight and performance of the fabric makes Bluffs a winner on the course.
Stop sitting on your phone. The side cell phone pocket is my favorite feature on the Bluffs. This pocket has been discretely worked into the hip area on the pants. Not only does this address the comfort issues of stashing your phone in your back or front pocket, but given the bending issues reported with iPhone 6 Plus this past week (#bend gate and #bendgazi), it may save you a trip to the neighborhood Apple store.
Dress them up or down. Off the course, Bluffs can easily go anywhere or do anything. I’ve paired them with a button-down shirt and oxfords at the office, a t-shirt to and from the gym and a casual shirt for dinner with friends. In Bluffs, you’ll always look on point and appropriately dressed for any occasion.
Modern, athletic fit. This is sure to appeal to a wide range of golfers. There is not a lot of stretch in the fabric, but the athletic fit allows you to comfortably make full swings and squat to read putts.
Range of traditional colors. I’ve been wearing the grey color and I would classify it as an ash grey. It is very versatile and can be paired with either black or brown belts and shoes. Also available is a charcoal grey, navy blue, brown and khaki.
Attention to detail. If you think Bluff Works is just another fly-by-night startup, think again. Stefan has an apparel consultant who has been in charge of operations for complete couture lines, two pattern makers who work on pants lines for national brands; wear testers, fit models and a design firm. On top of that, Bluffs are very well constructed.
Ideas for Future Versions of Bluff Works Pants
Rear pockets. The rear pockets are narrower and shallower than my favorite pairs of golf-specific pants. You can stash a scorecard and a glove without an issue, but a yardage book may be more difficult.
Slim fit. The athletic fit is the equivalent of a modern straight fit. I’d love to see a slimmer fit with tapered legs in the future.
Trendy colors. It would be great to see a dark green or burgundy added to the mix along with some patterns like houndstooth or herringbone.
Overall, Bluffs are a great pair of pants that will serve you well on or off the course this fall. The pros far outweigh any desired improvements. Also, at just under $100, they are priced similar to many technical golf pants, but you can actually wear these off the course, as well.
Hunter Mahan broke out a new pair of prototype kicks from FootJoy at the Ryder Cup. Mahan, may have fidgeted uncomfortably next to Phil Mickelson at the U.S. Team press conference as Lefty and Tom Watson sniped at each other, but he looked comfortable throughout the matches in his new FootJoys.
Mahan has never been one to shy away from testing new FootJoys. Over the last few years, he has worn the brand’s Icon, Superlite and D.N.A. models, and now these. There is no word from FootJoy on Mahan’s shoes, so we can only assume that they are a prototype at this point.
As Twitter follower @Scheps14 accurately pointed out, these new FootJoys, with a pillowy outsole, look a little bit like Adidas’ Crossflex shoe. I think the outsole also has a similar aesthetic to Skechers’ GO GOLF Pro shoe that Matt Kuchar has been sporting.
Mahan’s prototype has an athletic look. The uppers appear to be constructed of a lightweight material (mesh?) with the FJ logo on the outside of the mid-foot area and a well-defined heel cup. I would have to assume that the upper is waterproof. I don’t think any professional golfer would step foot on a course in Scotland without a waterproof shoe. That would have been the second biggest gaff of the 2014 Ryder Cup next to playing Mickelson twice on Friday and zero times on Saturday, but I digress.
The eye-catching features of Mahan’s prototypes, though, is clearly the outsoles. Damn, those look comfy. Maybe too comfy. They also have a traditional spike system with nine soft spikes on a contrasting plate.
Although Mahan sported a light grey/white/blue colorway during the matches, earlier in the week he wore a black/white colorway.
Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.
Earlier this year, Skechers Performance Division signed Matt Kuchar to a multi-year deal, which served as a shot across the bow to Nike and Adidas that the brand is all in on golf shoes.
Many of the footwear brands design custom shoes for their staffers to wear at majors and team competitions, and Skechers has joined the act. It designed a Payne Stewart tribute shoe for Kuchar at the U.S. Open and has followed that up with some custom Ryder Cup kicks for Kuch — just another sign that Skechers is planning on strolling the fairways with the big boys.
The limited edition GO GOLF Pro model that Kuchar will sport at Gleneagles is constructed from a waterproof, premium leather and includes replaceable soft spike system. Although the brand says it features a classic design, I’d put this shoe more on par with Nike’s Lunar Control, Adidas’ pure 360 and FootJoy’s D.N.A., rather than FJ’s Icon or ECCO’s Tour Hybrid Wingtip.
Kuchar will have the option of slipping on two different red, white and blue colorways at the Ryder Cup — one with a white upper and one with a navy blue upper. The real eye-catching design element, though, is the U.S. flag motif on the bottom plate.
I got mixed reviews on Kuch’s Ryder Cup Skechers today on social media and earlier this year I questioned if GO GOLF Pro was too clunky. Having seen them at the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience a few weeks ago, though, I will say that they look much better in person. They have a sleek and athletic look to them. Here are a few more images of the non-Ryder Cup colorways). Look for the GO GOLF Pro to hit stores in November or December. We can all get a closer look then.
Skechers is also providing Team USA and Team Europe caddies with custom designed footwear sporting each team’s colors. The custom Skechers GO GOLF BLADE (not a golf shoe) features a waterproof upper to keep the caddies feet dry if the Scottish weather turns nasty, and features a Skechers GOrun 4 outsole, as many of the caddies prefer to wear running shoes on the course. These may be the first caddie-specific shoes I’ve seen.
Wives of the U.S. Ryder Cup Players will be provided with the brand’s Gowalk 2 Supersock footwear.
Custom Ryder Cup Footwear for Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Jim Furyk and More
Which side are you on? Pick your stars. Choose your three stripes. adidas Golf is outfitting its Ryder Cup players in custom designed footwear for the 40th edition of the matches at Gleneagles.
The full collection consists of a unique design of the brand’s adizero one, pure 360 and adicross gripmore shoes in the team colors for each side.
“The Ryder Cup is one of the greatest sporting events in the world and we are excited to have a great representation of five staffers playing and one serving as captain. We realized this was a great opportunity for us to take our highest performing footwear models and offer unique and exciting colors that not only represent each team but truly embody what this electrifying event is all about.” — Masun Denison, Director of Global Footwear Product Marketing at adidas Golf
If you are hoping to slip on a pair of these limited edition kicks, you better hope your name is Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Jim Furyk, Stephen Gallacher or Paul McGinley because you will not find these on a retail store shelf.
My favorite shoe of the bunch is the pure 360 (shown above) that Captain McGinley will be sporting with yellow laces and three blue stripes. The pure 360 possesses a sleek silhouette and sporty details that have made it one of best looking shoes of 2014. adidas Golf has taken the pure 360 to another level for the Ryder Cup with a very on-trend yellow flaked design on a blue outsole. If not for his leave of absence, Dustin Johnson would have likely worn the United States version of this shoe with a red and white flaked design on a blue outsole.
Expect Sergio Garcia and Stephen Gallacher to wear the European adizero one model (shown above) as both players have sported this featherweight shoe throughout the 2014 season. The European colorway is accented with yellow stars, stripes and laces. The adizero one also features a similar outsole design to the pure 360 with a yellow-flaked design.
Martin Kaymer captured the 2014 Players Championship and U.S. Open in adidas Golf’s ultra-casual adicross gripmore shoe, so it is no surprise to see that he is slated to slip on the shoe at Gleneagles. Teammate Justin Rose will also sport the European colorway that features a white upper, yellow laces and yellow stars on the brand’s iconic three stripes motif.
Jim Furyk is the lone adidas Golf staffer on the American side at Gleneagles and he will wear the red, white and blue colorway of the adicross gripmore. Tonal prints have been a big trend of the fairways this year and Furyks gripmores feature a tonal U.S. flag motif. Red laces, blue stripes and a red and blue spikeless outsole complete the patriotic theme.