Individual style is integrated into golf culture.
The clothes a player chooses to wear can provide insight into their golf game. Just as golf course designers create layouts with signature elements and players have unique quirks in their swing or pre-shot routine, clothing designers can have both a psychological and physical impact on a player’s performance.
“It’s a huge deal to look good while you are playing,” said Chris O’Brien the vice president of Sub 70 a golf clothing company with its headquarters in Warrenville.
“Whether a player is at a private country club or one of the great golf courses across the country, Sub 70 has classic outfits. The colors might be a little brighter and the fit and look a bit more trendy, but it’s still classic golf attire.”
Technological advancements in materials has revolutionized golf clothes. At Sub 70 a performance polyester, Polar Dry, is used for moisture wicking. The advancement in moisture management has provided players with a physical advantage.
“Moisture management clothing is important because it pulls the moisture off a player’s body and allows it to evaporate within the light weight shirt,” Nate Viland, athletic trainer for DeKalb School District 428, said. “This keeps players cooler and helps prevent their body from over heating.”
The Polar Dry material used by Sub 70 isn’t silky in texture like other moisture management clothes, but it is lightweight, very breathable and fits well from the practice range to the golf course.
“It does a great job and pulls moisture away from a player’s body,” said O’Brien who grew up as a tennis player but broke into the golf business about 20 years ago. “You don’t want your shirt sticking to you when you are playing. It’s so light weight that it helps move moisture from your skin as you are playing.”
Sub 70 is inspired by classic golf style. Plaid pants or shorts, expertly tailored polo shirts, knit cardigans and sweaters. Yet, there’s a modern influences with bold colors in the shirts, pants and even trendy belt buckles.
“We are a unique brand,” O’Brien said. “We’re kind of an anti-brand because we are just an upstart company. We aren’t trying to be in 15 different stores in a one-mile radius. That’s not who we are.”
“We’re a small brand and we’d like to get bigger and grow as we do business and move forward. We don’t have to report to Wall Street or a board of directors. We want to be offered at the nicest country clubs and boutique shops in the country.”
While there is no specific research to link clothing color or style of clothes to on-course success, it’s hard to ignore the final-round red polo shirt worn by Tiger Woods every Sunday.
Does it have an impact on his record entering a final round with a lead?
Paul Carpenter is the chairman of the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department at Northern Illinois University. There are studies that correlate aggressive behavior in other sports to a team’s jersey color. Just as the intimidating silver and black of the Oakland Raiders, Woods could send a message to the field without saying a word or hitting a shot.
“I am not aware of any research on the colors or styles that golfers wear. There has been research in a number of sports – soccer, football, ice hockey – on the impact of jersey colors; the intimidating black of the Raiders,” said Carpenter via email. “There is also research suggesting teams wearing certain color shirts are more aggressive as indicated by the number of fouls they commit. There is also some research suggesting that the color of the shirt can be a determining factor in picking out teammates.”
Where to go
For athletes who like a tailored fit – plenty of golf shirts on the market are excessively baggy – Sub 70 is ideal. Order one size bigger than usual for Sub 70 polo shirts.
“We appeal to players that want to have their own individual style,” O’Brien said. “They are their own person. Aaron Baddelly was one of the first professionals to wear Sub 70 and he has the style and attitude that fit our brand. Our clothes have a sleek athletic fit. It’s a younger, more athletic fit than the standard golf polo.”