A new breed of golf shirts has come onto the market in recent years, some apparently containing edgier technology than the iPhone 5. They are ultra light, wick away sweat and dry faster than an industrial Maytag. Some offer protection from the sun’s ultra-violet rays. Still others contain anti-odor properties, a most comforting thought when ordering a brew from the too cute bartender at the 19th hole.
However, on golfers who are only a few pounds above their optimum weight, the cut and drape of some of these modern fabrics grossly emphasize the most modest Budweiser tuber, a fun-house mirror of clothing that causes even Regular Guys to ask in wonder, “Does this make me look fat?”
While the answer is often yes, an exception is the Fila Golf Phoenix Golf Polo, the body of which is 91 percent recycled Polyester and 9 percent Lycra, which gives it an environmental cache. The mesh inserts that put a little thickness into the shoulders and collar are 93 percent Nylon and 7 percent Spandex. This shirt, which retails for $80, also dries quickly and has anti-bacterial properties.
Moreover, in dark blue in particular, it hides that tell tale flubber like the thick cotton pique shirts of old.
The Oscar Madison Rumple
OK, this feature doesn’t matter much to young flat-bellies, although according to national obesity statistics that’s a shrinking demographic, so to speak. And if you’ve developed a Maltbie style gut, a fellow has no choice but to bear such prosperity with pride. But a player who looks good on the course often feels good on the course, and in turn might play better. Or, at least the shirt fits well and remains comfortable on a hot day.
Yet another trait the Fila Polo shares with other 21st century fabrics is that the shirts simply don’t wrinkle, unlike those cotton shirts that looked crisp until the second time through the wash, and then devolved into a shop rag. In fact, in the tradition of Oscar Madison, most sportswriters can rumple a shirt with a mere glance. But these new fabrics are a veritable French Resistance against crooked creases, even for the slovenly, and make golf travel a much better experience.
Indeed, who wants to press shirts with those cheap hotel irons and wobbly ironing boards? Not this non-morning person. And while I’m not exactly committed to vanity – – just ask the wife – – I like to look OK, even when only ten pounds over fighting weight. And that, I think, is true for a lot of other golfers, who appreciate a light, flexible, dry and wrinkle-free shirt that feels good and looks even better.