The game of golf dates back to 15th century Scotland. Golfing attire back then is presumed to have been kilts or tunics (think Braveheart) and certainly not anything different from what the average Highlander spent the rest of his day wearing. As it spread in popularity, thanks to the English nobility the peculiarities of the noble classes influenced the attire. Overcoats, ties and pants tucked into long socks was the look. Since there are not too many hot days in Scotland and England moisture wicking fabric was probably not uppermost in their minds!
In the early 1900s, as the popularity of the sport expanded and was picked up by people of different social standings, the clothing requirements became more relaxed - meaning the hot and restrictive overcoat was jettisoned in favor of a V-neck sweater, and the tie could either be a regular or bow-tie! It was only in the latter part of the century that long pants were worn outside of the long socks (although the early 1900's look is still copied by some very stylish young junior golfers). It truly is a timeless look - until you become a tween and start dressing yourself.
Most golf courses have a strict dress code designed to ensure player's uphold the traditions and etiquette of the game. The golfer's dress code includes the following: Men should wear collared shirts, pleated or flat front, long or short pants , socks and the correct footwear. Women's requirements are similar though less rigid but still need to conform to standards of etiquette and modesty. Junior golf clothes should adhere to these dress codes.
Although within the confines of the above - personality, individuality and personal brand are encouraged to shine through and companies like Nike, Under Armor, TravisMathew, Puma and adidas spend millions of dollars on fabric technology to keep golfers as dry and cool (in the heat), warm and insulated (in the cold), and connected and comfortable as possible. Junior golf clothes can be fun and functional!
Key factors to take into account when choosing junior golf clothes:
Performance fabrics allow for natural range of motion through the swing (stretch is at least a 90/10 ratio of polyester and spandex), comfort, moisture wicking (DryCELL. ClimaLite. DriFit, ProDry - different brands use different terminologies) and UV sun protection. Targeted ventilation is also a key factor in today's technologies for example Nike's Zonal Cooling and adidas Climachill.
The new look distinctive Nike TW Cooling polo is increasingly visible in tournaments and TravisMathew is a high quality brand that is extremely versatile and rising in popularity among the young set.
Stretch, moisture wicking and UV sun protection are also all important considerations for golf outerwear. For protection against wind and light rain a nylon shell can provide good protection. Zippered hand pockets are advisable for storage and protection of valuables and scorecards against the elements. While nylon shells are adequate protection against wind and light rain, for protection against cold weather, polyester outerwear with warmCELL technology and a water repellent finish, so you stay dry while body heat is trapped, is advisable.
For versatile protection against wind and light rain, but while retaining ease of swing motion and breathability, our go-to is the Footjoy Short Sleeved Rain and Wind Shirt.
Golf Shorts and Pants
Flat front golf shorts are a golf course staple. They should have sufficient stretch for maximum movement and preferably wrinkle resistance. A lot of shorts and pants now are made with moisture wicking technology. A new adidas trend in their pants (long and short) is that they feature a silicone adidas printed gripper, which keeps your shirt securely tucked in through your round, and a stretch waistband, delivering maximum comfort.
For older juniors, the TravisMathew Hough pants have a great slim cut with stretch for ease of motion.
My older junior's favorite long pants are the Under Armour UA Showdown Tapered Pants in a small men's size. They utilize a high-performance, mobile fabric, a stretch waistband, and a new streamlined fit to reduce drag on every swing and unlock mobility on the course.
My younger junior does not like to wear long golf pants on the course. Although long pants on a younger player are super engaging, it is often difficult to find a good fit. Most of the time we have had to have alterations done to take the waist in (long legs and slender bodies) which can add costs to already expensive outfits. For really cold weather golf he generally wears warm athletic pants, the rest of the time he rocks golf shorts and fortunately there are masses of opportunities for self expression in youth golf shorts.
There is enough pressure on junior golfers on the golf course. Don't let their attire cause them to stress or second guess anything about themselves. Junior golf clothes should be comfortable, fun and functional. Arnold Palmer was a great proponent of sharp dressing on the golf course and believed there is a relationship between the player and his dress, although he was quick to add: does that mean that they are all gonna play good if they dress properly? Well it doesn't mean that.
But for him - the sport shirt with the straight collar, that's important. It takes the sloppiness out of things. I'm an advocate of the unwrinkled straight-collar shirt, creased pants, shined shoes. I think the key is dressing with an emphasis on neatness. Golf is about precision.