After over a year of life in lockdown, we can finally start socializing again. But not so long ago, the options for group hangs were few and far between. One of those few was golf, a sport that’s seen a stunning rise in popularity. While golfers aren’t particularly known for their style, the linksman renaissance has grown so pervasive that fashion is getting in on the game. The latest taking a design eye to the fairway is Mr P, which has launched a collection of golf gear that’s up to aesthetic par.
Many a traditional menswear purveyor has offered golf apparel in the past, but Mr P’s collection was designed with the new generation of golf enthusiasts in mind. GolfNow, an online tee time reservations platform employed at some 7,000 courses across the country, reported a 60 percent year-over-year increase in rounds booked in 2020. Even in May of last year, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found that 41 percent of American adults supported the reopening of golf courses—a greater percentage than for any other business measured, including restaurants, retail shops and gyms.
Olie Arnold, Mr Porter’s style director, says that the e-tailer had been following golf’s rise “sparked by the younger, more athletic image the game has developed,” noting stars like Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas as well as newcomers such as Viktor Hovland and Will Zalatoris. “The biggest factor, though, has been the pandemic,” says Arnold. “The benefits of golf for mental and physical health have become very evident.”
Also evident: Ill-fitting chinos and polos aren’t going to cut it for today’s style-minded golfers. That’s not to say that links fashion needs to be reinvented; it’s more about returning to its origins. “This is something we’re seeing in the larger menswear context: a nostalgic desire for retro designs,” Arnold says, noting that sportswear titans like Nike and Adidas have recently adapted their most iconic sneakers, like the Air Max 1 and Stan Smiths, into functional golf shoes.
For its golf collection, Mr P looked to fairway OGs like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus for style cues. The results are reverent of the game’s rich culture and many traditions (collars are abundant, in observation of clubhouse rules, and pockets have been engineered to fit scorecards) but subtly tweaked to look just as good off the course. Even the more technical designs, like a pair of golf shoes riffing on Mr P’s best-selling derbies, wear their performance ability lightly.
Teeing up or not, the collection’s retro sportswear stylings tick many of the boxes for summer fashion. Here, Arnold shares a few of his favorite pieces to sport off the course and around town.