Father’s Day Gift Guide: The Best Golf Clothing And Shoes For Dad
Golf experienced a huge boom during the COVID-19 pandemic with many “retired” players dusting off their clubs and deciding to give another try to fun and camaraderie in the great outdoors. Many courses had record years and the trend shows no signs of slowing – several of the biggest golf resorts in the country have reported that their usual “off seasons” have ceased to exist and bookings are strong straight through summer even in hot weather locales that usually slow to a crawl.
For these reasons, it’s a better year than ever to give golf gifts for Father’s Day, but as a longtime expert on golf, I always caution against gifting clubs, which are too personal, often need to be fitted and rarely make the perfect present. Plus, Dad already has clubs and you can only play with fourteen, but you can never have too much great golf clothing, and sooner or later those shoes are going to need to be replaced. So this Father’s Day give Dad the gift of performance, comfort and most of all, some serious style.
KJUS: When it comes to fashion, Europe has always set the pace for the world, and when it comes to outdoor performance gear, the same is true. Mountaineering, skiing and of course golf were all invented in Europe and the push for better gear and materials has always been ahead of our curve. If you ski you probably already know ultra-desirable Swiss brand KJUS, but you might not know that the company has moved into golf in a big way. Forbes reported that after introduction the golf line quickly went global and is carried in 75 of the top 100 US golf course pros shops and nine of the top ten in the UK. Just as they did with skiing, KJUS paired high performance materials and flattering fit with a distinctive style so you feel good and look good. Warm weather pants and shorts lines like the Iver and Trade Wind keep you feeling cool – and offer UV protection, while the jackets and vests keep players warm and dry in rough weather.
Frankly, the entire lineup looks great, but here are some highlights. The Soren Polos come in short ($100) and long sleeves ($109) and are made from an ultra-stretch technical fabric that absorbs moisture to keep you dry all day and are packed with important technical features like UV protection (great for the Dad you can’t convince to slather with sunscreen) and an absence of underarm seams for comfort. They also look great and come in tons of colors, solids and stripes. The Retention vest is a lightweight but insulated, quilted style stretch tech vest, perfect for that slight early tee time chill where you need just a little more than shirt sleeves, and again, it looks great ($250). The Ike Pants ($189) are exactly what you want on a golf pant, comfortable and good-looking chino-styles that are made from a 4-way stretch material that is also water repellant, dirt resistant and quick drying. These are the ones I put on when I am playing a world class course, and they come in regular, fitted and warm (for colder weather) versions to fit every Dad in every climate, as well as shorts. But you really can’t go wrong with performance or looks, so peruse the whole collection. The KJUS golf apparel is also surprisingly reasonably priced, an affordable luxury, not as over the top as the skiwear.
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Chervò: This year I’m doubling down on world-class European ski turned golf brands because American golfers have been stuck in a rut of the same old stuff sold at big box and chain stores. Chervò is another top luxury skiwear brand with a long rich history – four decades – that moved into golf in a big, stylish, high-tech way, but this one is from Italy. Peter Erlacher, co-owner and Chief Design Officer, was a racer on the Italian national ski team who wanted to bring better performing gear to the slopes. Then, in 1987, when breathable outdoor fabrics were still in their infancy, he took up golf and created Chervò AcquaBlock, a fully waterproof light, silent, and breathable fabric that quickly made the company one of the best-known golf brands in Europe, worn by numerous professional players on the PGA European Tour and Ladies European Tour.
Chervò makes a huge range of lightweight, moisture wicking polos ($170-$190) that have stunning patterns, look great, feature UV protection, but most of all, are literally the silkiest golf shirts I have ever worn, and I have dozens and dozens (and dozens more) of golf shirts from all the top brands. For Dad’s who look good in slim fit, the Seletto pants with UV protection and UV and two-way stretch fabric are a snazzy pick ($280). The Trottola ($200) is a very distinctive lookingzipneckturtleneck pullover of ultra-soft, lightweight stretch jersey fabric that is moisture wicking, has UV Sunblock protection, so light it takes up almost no space in the bag and is perfect for those slightly chilly spring and fall days.
Linksoul: If these Euro brands are perfect for the styling, dressed to a tee Dad, than Linksoul is for the laid back Pop with more of a surfer aesthetic. After golf apparel legend John Ashworth sold his eponymous brand, he turned back to basics, embracing natural fibers over synthetics, and cuts that work great on the course but don’t require changing out of to go bar hopping afterwards. I have a bunch of their stuff and love it, especially the Boardwalker shorts, which are golf shorts that don’t scream golf shorts. Linksoul makes plenty of traditional polos, but I really like the Oxford ones with button down collars, a unique golf look that stands out from the pack, but they also make a lot of full button down the front styles that Tony Soprano might play in. My go to pick for the Dad whose game has some soul in it are the Oxford polos, and in warm weather climates – pretty much everywhere in summer – the Boardwalker shorts.
Better Belt: Golf belts are a too often overlooked part of the on course ensemble, and the best ones are highly adjustable, more than just what you are given by the traditional set of spaced holes, good looking and able to stand up to sweat, which is why dressy leather models are less than ideal. One popular solution is the infinitely adjustable simple nylon strap, which works but with a marked absence of style. I prefer the stretchy woven versions that still look like nice belts but can be securely closed to any size and offers the necessary performance characteristics. The best I have found is the Adidas stretch braided golf belt ($40, in 2 colors).
Better Performance Golf Shoes: The key features in a g serious golf shoe are being totally waterproof, having excellent traction and fitting great right out of the box. Adidas has long dominated this space with a succession of near perfect models like the famed Tour 360 and its spin offs, and the latest and greatest iteration is the ZG21, very light, with an excellent traction pattern of fixed and removable spikes and Adidas’ proprietary Boost midsole (numerous colors, $180).
Better Looking Golf Shoes: Too many golf shoes today sadly look like running shoes, which is to say they are too ugly for golf. The very best golf shoes are still the classic high-end replaceable soft-spike true golf shoe models, but for Dad who want something more stylish and super comfy, you cannot beat the Ecco Street Retro. When Fred Couples wore the original Ecco Golf Street shoe onto Augusta at the 2010 Masters he changed golf comfort and fashion forever. Now every brand makes a knockoff of the skate park inspired look, but Ecco has a long rich history of comfort innovation in footwear, and still makes the best. The leather shoe has panache but is much more comfortable than your traditional golf shoe, with a textured sole instead of removable spikes. These are so comfy and good looking you can put them on before you leave home, drive to the course, go out to eat afterwards, all with “golf shoes” on. When you are playing, they have a full grain Napa leather upper that’s treated with the company’s Hydromax water resistant technology, plus 100 traction bars molded into the sole for grip, and a removable footbed for increased breathability. I have three different pairs of Ecco Golf Street shoes, but the newest model, the Retro, adds a micro-suede style collar and is the best looking one yet, in four color schemes ($160).
Better Looking Rain Suit: I keep a rain suit in my bag all the time, because you just never know. There are a lot of good makes of high-performance, waterproof suits, but most have stressed these features and overlooked fit and style. This void led the founder of Galway Bay to make fitted, better looking rain suits so the Dad who likes to look good on the course can do so even when it rains, all with a more athletic fit that allows for natural unrestricted movement. I have a lot of top shelf rain suits, but after I tried one from Galway Bay, it moved into my bag. It delivers on the company’s motto, “Just because the weather changes, doesn’t mean your swing has to.” This high-performance outerwear is waterproof, highly stretchable and soft, expertly tailored for flexibility without hampering your swing. The new 2021 line of All Weather Jackets include long ($329) and short sleeve ($249) versions with matching pants ($184).
Better Breathing Rain Suit: Sun Mountain is so well known for making the very best bags and pushcarts in golf that people sometime forget they makes great rainsuits, soft and ultra-flexible, in sort of a vintage track suit style. But Sun Mountain just upped the ante with a new line that is twice as breathable than its previous suits, meaning you can stay dry from the rain in warmer climates without getting clammy underneath. The 2021 Cirque is the company’s top-of-the-line rain gear featuring a three-layer Japanese fabric with a 20k waterproof rating and a 50k breathability rating, which is extremely high for any sport garment. Cirque is extremely lightweight, waterproof, quiet, and breathable and it has four-way stretch fabric. In full-zip jacket with waterproof YKK zippers ($300) and pants with auto-fit stretch waist with zipper fly and belt loops and four pockets ($260).