Women have been playing golf for as long as five hundred years, with Mary, Queen of Scots, having been recorded in history as one of the earliest female golf enthusiasts. While we can only conjecture as to how the earliest women golfers dressed, we do know that women’s golf apparel has evolved quite a bit even over the past seventy years or so when women golfers began to capture the nation’s attention by putting an end to the image of golf as a private preserve for men in the United States.
If pioneer golfer Babe Didrikson Zaharias were to return to a professional or amateur golf tournament of today, she would be completely out of place as far as golf apparel is concerned. Her crushed and flat golf cap has now been replaced by women’s golf hats of all patterns and descriptions, that are similar in shape and appearance to baseball caps and far more comfortable than any women’s hats of her era. Admittedly, and despite her nickname, this multi-talented athlete of old actually eschewed femininity in her behavior and dress, but even a more conformist female golfer would have worn a cap that hardly screamed femininity or fashion. Even her more conformist contemporary, Patty Berg, was photographed wearing a beret, which, while perhaps more feminine than Zaharias’s almost military looking cap, hardly scored much in terms of practicality as it did little to shield her from the sun. Other styles of women’s golf hats from the earliest era of women’s professional golf included shapeless sun hats, again a far cry from the fashionable, attractive and practical women’s golf hats and visors worn by professionals and amateurs today. As for other aspects of women’s golf apparel, it was based around a skirt or dress and often included a cardigan sweater, and it was only during the 1960’s when, following street hemline trends, shorter skirts began to appear on the golf course.
It was indeed during the 1960’s and 1970’s that today’s unmistakably feminine colors and practical, comfortable styles of women’s golf apparel and golf accessories began to appear on golf courses. Nancy Lopez was known for sporting an easily recognizable red golf visor, which while wider and not as refined as today’s visors, was certainly a far cry from the hats of two decades earlier, to say nothing of the flowered visors that were worn by British golfers at the beginning of the 1900’s (such flowered visors were featured by the renowned Thomas Burberry, whose signature plaid began its appearance on the golf course). Golf shorts would soon become a staple of women’s golf apparel, and women’s golf accessories would retain their femininity while reflecting the trend toward female equality and self-expression that manifested itself in all aspects of a woman’s life, from music and fashion to career and education, during that exciting and groundbreaking era.
The women’s golf apparel of today is fashionable and reflects the image of golf as a pastime for modern and trendy women. It mirrors trends of comfort and femininity for sports apparel in general, with women’s golf hats and visors now available in a range of patterns that are made available by major sporting goods manufacturers as well as by specialty golf hats and visors manufacturers and retailers. For today’s women, golf apparel can easily be worn while relaxing after a game, or while exercising to get ready for an afternoon of golf. It is comfortably feminine in an athletic way, and has indeed come a long way from the often restricting golf skirts and shapeless women’s golf hats of old.
write by Sherwin