Writing about the best golf clothing brands in 2021 is a much heartier and more entertaining endeavor than it would have been, say, a decade ago when the industry was still dominated by sportswear giants and conservative pro-shop brands. Those icons still loom large, and many for good reason (sometimes you just want a damn good golf shoe), but mixed in are a suite of new-guard brands that bring streetwear, nostalgia, and humor into their designs, and inclusivity into their brand ethos, in an effort to revolutionize the sport’s conservative and elitist codes. Now, instead of a sea of shiny, boxy polo shirts, you’ve got bucket hats, rugby-inspired polos, and workwear-inspired golf pants. You’ve got knits that fit, and T-shirts that help you spread the gospel of golf when you aren’t on the links. Mix and match to create your flyest, and most functional, golf wardrobe ever. (And if you need styling inspiration just look at these three.)
If you want a nod to the ‘90s Golf Dad aesthetic without actually buying striped performance polos and pleated khakis from the pro shop, Adidas Golf will send you in the right direction. The shoes are chunky, the shorts are knee-length, and you’ll find boxy polos and half-zip pullovers as far as the arm can swing.
Macklemore fell in love with golf a couple of years ago, and because he’s a Grammy-award winning rapper and loves to Get Dressed (his biggest hit remains “Thrift Store”), he naturally started his own golf apparel line. The aesthetic is dressy, bright, and retro in a way that’s hard to find in an industry dominated by nondescript tan pants, not to mention fun.
Bonobos specializes in polo shirts, slim-yet-comfortable chinos, and dressing every man in America, so golf is a natural category for the brand. In the collection, they’ve got wild prints aplenty, but we’re partial to the solid colors, which can be paired up tonally for a very stylish, very modern effect on the links and beyond.
With Eastside Golf, Detroit-based founder Olajuwon Ajanaku aims to make the sport not only more stylish, but also more inclusive. The line of tees, hoodies, and accessories feature Ajanaku, a Black man, wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, and gold chain in mid backswing. “There has never been a brand like us to speak authentically and knowledgeably to both sides—golf and urban culture,” Ajanaku told GQ earlier this year.
If you’re covered on polos and need bottoms that’ll keep you comfortable from the 1st hole through the 18th, try Greyson, founded by Ralph Lauren design vet Charlie Schaefer. The brand’s pants and shorts have all the performance details you need on the links, while looking nice enough for the clubhouse, and come in a dozen colors.
Founded in the early aughts by Norwegian Olympic skier Lasse Kjus and Swiss entrepreneur Didi Serena, Kjus will make you feel like the Daniel Craig of your golf club, your ski club, and any other club you happen to be staking out. Think: simple, clean silhouettes, luxury fabrics, lots of navy and black.
We know what you’re thinking: but Lacoste is a tennis brand. Sure, but since when is an anti-uv polo shirt or breathable half-zip not appropriate attire for the links or the clubhouse? Not only are the majority of pieces in the brand’s Sport line golf-friendly, but Lacoste also makes a few golf-specific buys including a tailored-looking golf pant and raglan-sleeve golf polo.
You’ve got to hand it to Lululemon which, despite its legacy as a women’s yoga-pants brand, really brings the heat when it comes to stylish, high-performing, men’s athletic wear. While Lululemon doesn’t designate pieces exclusively for golf, it’s pretty easy to see that the brand’s famous ABC pant and breezy mesh polo shirts are primed for the green.
With Nike and Champion collaborations under its belt, and frequently sold-out drops, Malbon Golf, launched in 2017 by Stephen and Erica Malbon, feels like the independent golf brand most poised to become a future standby. It also helps that the brand has a complete collection of performance golf apparel, from socks and headwear to bags and technical pants.
Metalwood’s ‘90s-inspired collection of tees, sweatshirts, and tech-y shorts skews more golf-appreciation merch than performance wear, but that’s kind of good thing. Especially if you like watching, thinking about, and evangelizing golf as much you like actually playing it, or if you just can’t get into preppy clubhouse-wear.
Golf isn’t the most fashionable sport in the game—after all, there are no paparazzi-lined tunnels or GQ fashion awards—but Nike will change your perception of what its capable of with its sleek, futuristic line of golf attire that, most impressively, includes some excellent links-friendly sneakers.
Peter Millar is a North Carolina-based brand that launched in the early aughts. It sells heavily in resorts, which makes sense given the fact that it’s built around cashmere sweaters, polo shirts, and performance golf apparel. But they also have e-commerce and a price-to-quality ratio that’s hard to beat. (Peter Millar also owns, G/Fore, another popular, Mr Porter-stocked, US-based golf line.)
No one pleases the pros, the pro-shop novices, and the menswear heads like Ralph Lauren. That’s why the brand is the official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic team and countless major sporting events and pros, including Tom Watson and other golf greats. Wearing Ralph Lauren on any field, court, or course is basically like wearing an American flag around your body (and sometimes that’s not even a figurative statement).
If you’ve got Nike taste but a Ralph Lauren golf club, Mr. Lauren’s more technical RLX Golf line is here for you. It’s sleek, modern, and performance-oriented, but with that preppy taste poking through with a quilted vest here and a contrast-color polo collar there, and plenty of navy.
Radda Golf’s polo shirts look more like rugby shirts than the typical pro-shop polo (think ultra-thin stripes and slippery fabric), which is to say you’d want to wear them off the course and outside of the clubhouse, too. Combine one with the brand’s headwear or bright golf pants and you’ve really changed the game.
Random Golf Club’s aim is to make golf more fun and inclusive through educational content, local meetups across the country, and of course, sick merch. The brand’s thematic collections include accessories like putter covers and towels, along with tees, hats, and sweatshirts that spread the RGC gospel.
You can see a UA Golf polo shirt a mile away—with its big stripes, slinky fabric, and contrast-stitch logo— but the athletic brand also does plenty of high-tech, low-key performance wear, from gloves to half-zip pullovers, that work for a golfer of any age, ability, or personal taste.
Uniqlo might not have a fully realized golf apparel collection, but the Japanese retailer’s investment in performance fabrics, not to mention its obsession with polo shirts, makes it a solid place to buy new gear. The Dry-Ex collection, for example, wicks away moisture, neutralizes odor, and has a weightless feel you’ll be grateful for during a high-summer round.
You could easily mistake Whim’s collared pullovers, suede shoes, and t-shirts for beautiful, everyday clothes, which makes sense given the brand’s tagline: “for people who might like golf”. Technical, standard-issue country-club wear this is not. And thank the golf gods for that.