Anyone for polo?

By Randy O Williams from the United States

When it comes to golf, about the closest thing that comes to a universal uniform for the sport is a polo shirt.

Typically it is a form of shirt with a collar, a small opening at the neckline, a placket with two or three buttons, and an optional pocket.

Some historians actually trace its roots as far back as the beginning of the nineteenth century when they were part of the uniforms worn by polo players in England and the United States.

Its popularity really took off during ``The Roaring Twenties'' as French tennis star and fashion designer Rene Lacoste helped demonstrate how the style aided yachtsmen, golfers and tennis players worldwide to perform with comfort and ease of movement.

With its exceptional versatility, the iconic style has certainly endured. Clearly it has been particularly embraced by golfers on and off the golf course as a garment that effortlessly conveys classic style with immaculate performance.

Just like golf clubs, what has really been improved upon concerning the polo shirt is technical features. One of those key refinements revolves around fabric, says Rob Stein who is president and chief executive of Donald Ross Apparel.

“We use 100 percent polyester fiber,” Stein said.

“It is engineered and shaped for moisture management. Everyone is always looking for the next trend and some (manufacturers) are trying to break out of the mold of synthetic fabrics.

“But from a pure pragmatic standpoint, you play golf in warm weather so a shirt that wicks moisture and dries fast is simply a big advantage for the golfer.”

Fabrics also come into play in aiming to maximize the golfer’s range of motion throughout the swing. To that end, manufacturers are always looking for ways to use materials that stretch and while spandex is good for that, it also has its downside, especially in the heat.

“People enjoy all the stretch it (spandex) provides,’’ Stein added.

“But on the flip side, spandex is a little heavier and a lot warmer than the polyester yarn that we use.

“What our research has shown us is that, yes, polyspandex has more stretch, unfortunately it is warm and when it is against your skin, especially on a hot day, spandex can get sticky and clingy. Not one of my favorite feelings, especially out there on the golf course. (However), we do use it use it a lot on second layers. Garments you wear over shirts.”

Speaking of warm, another development in the polo shirt is offering advanced protection from the sun with quality garments featuring UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 50 plus.

On and off the golf course, players are also concerned about fashion and what is popular in terms of designs, colors and patterns.

Renowned designer Bert LaMar, creator of the handcrafted Iliac line, worn by such PGA stars as Retief Goosen, Jimmie Walker and Zach Johnson, is seeing a return to something he helped create a few years back and that is “a lower profile button v-neck that plays with the height of the collar.”

While Iliac has done quite well with black and white, when it comes to colour, the polo shirt is offered in an almost infinite range of hues and tones as well as patterns.

Stein added: “There is a lot of movement in design in terms of patterns and printed fabric is huge right now. Instead of the stripe going from point to point, you have print designs of golf balls and tees and paisleys.”

LOFT Golf apparel owner John Halvorsen notes that “yellow, purple, and a distinctive black/pink combination are really hot sellers right now”.

There will always be the classic colours usually found in most golfers’ wardrobes including white and varying shades of blue, but the veteran clothing executives are constantly on the lookout for what is going to flourish next.

Stein: “What is making a splash is burnt orange and creams, but what’s really trending is light grey. Why? Because it goes with everything.”

That is not unlike the polo itself, as it is the type of shirt that not only flexes with changing market trends, you can find it being worn in just about an endless variety of social occasions.

Five British Open wins — Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson.jpg

Peter Thomson won The Open Championship in Britain five times.
Only the legendary Harry Vardon, with six wins, has won more.
Three of Thomson’s wins in the British Open were in consecutive years — 1954, 1955 and 1956 — and he is the only player to achieve such a feat.
In one year on the seniors’ tour in the United States, in 1985, Thomson won an amazing nine times. That’s a record unlikely to be rivalled.
Thomson won the Australian Open three times. He won the New Zealand Open nine times — nine is not a misprint. He won the national open of 10 different countries.
It goes without saying that Thomson, who died on June 20 this year at the age of 88, was one of Australia’s greatest golfers.
Thomson was born in Melbourne where the numerous courses on it’s sandbelt seemed to prepare him ideally for the many links venues in Britain. Thomson said he seemed to understand the bounce of the ball on a links course.
“I liked playing on a course where the ball bounces,’’ Thomson once recalled.
“As time went by, I found I had an advantage. Somehow, I comprehended that style of play, watching the ball bounce forward.’’
His five wins in the British Open came at Royal Birkdale (1954), St Andrews (1955), Royal Liverpool (1956), Royal Lytham (1958) and again at Birkdale (1965).
The latter win was particularly satisfying for Thomson.
Critics had suggested his earlier wins had been made easier as they came during a period when top American players declined the trip to Britain. But in 1965 the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tony Lema, the greatest of the era, were in the field.
Thomson was born in difficult times and remembered his mother struggling to pay the rent and his father, a signwriter, leaving the family.
“I don’t know where my father went to, but he went out of sight,’’ he once recalled.
“I was really brought up by my grandfather and my mother.’’
Years later, when he succeeded in making a living from the game, he bought the West Brunswick house that he had grown up in and gave it to his mother.
Thomson gave much back to the game. He was president of the Australian Professional Golfers’ Association for 32 years and was an architect of golf courses around the world.
He was inducted into the Sport Australia hall of fame in 1985 for his contribution to golf and was elevated to “legend of Australian Sport” in 2001. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998.
He stood for election to the Victorian Parliament in 1982 as a Liberal Party candidate, but was defeated.
In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.
Thomson battled Parkinson’s disease for four years which saw him withdraw from public life in his last year.


R&A chief executive acknowledges Thomson

Royal and Ancient chief executive Martin Slumbers was amongst the many to publicly express sympathy at the death of Peter Thomson.
“Peter was a true gentleman and will be forever remembered throughout the world of golf as one of the great champions of our wonderful sport,’’ Slumbers said.
``He was a distinguished honorary member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and will be sorely missed by all of us at The R&A. Our thoughts are with his family.
"Peter gave me a number of very interesting and valuable thoughts on the game, how it has developed and where it is going which demonstrated his genuine interest and love of golf.
“He was one of the most decorated and celebrated champion golfers in the history of The Open, winning the championship five times in total and becoming the only golfer of the 20th century to lift the Claret Jug on three consecutive occasions between 1954 and 1956.’'
Thomson’s fellow five-time champion golfer of the year Tom Watson said, “The world of golf has sadly lost arguably the greatest links player in history, Australian Peter Thomson.
``His record of winning five Open Championships combined with his finishing in The Open’s top 10 finishers an incredible 18 out of 21 years (1951-71) will go down in the annals of golf’s greatest achievements. We will miss him.”
Thomson’s first appearance in The Open came in 1951 at Royal Portrush where he finished sixth and went on to produce arguably the finest stretch of results in the history of the Championship. In the next seven years, he was either first or second, winning on four occasions: Royal Birkdale in 1954, St Andrews in 1955, Royal Liverpool in 1956 and Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1958.
Thomson went onto win a fifth time in 1965, defeating Christy O’Connor senior by two strokes to claim his second Open Championship victory at Royal Birkdale.
His 89 professional wins came all around the world including six PGA Tour titles, one European Tour title and a victory on the Japan Golf Tour.
Thomson was president of the Australian PGA from 1962 to 1994 and was a winning non-playing captain of the international team that defeated the United States in the 1998 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.
In 1982, he was elected an honorary member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, where he played an active role.

Pearce takes overall title on Charles Tour

 Hawke’s Bay professional Daniel Pearce on his way to his victory in the Akarana Open in Auckland. Photo: BW Media

Hawke’s Bay professional Daniel Pearce on his way to his victory in the Akarana Open in Auckland. Photo: BW Media

Hawke’s Bay professional Daniel Pearce won the season-long points race to the Jennian Homes Trophy after another great season on New Zealand’s Charles Tour.
The 29-year-old year will be remembered by his two wins in the Ngamotu Classic in New Plymouth and the Akarana Open in Auckland.
Pearce picked up an additional $5000 in prizemoney, courtesy of Jennian Homes which continues to help grow the game and provide New Zealand’s leading amateur and professional golfers the opportunity to prepare for performing on the big stage.
“It’s great to be rewarded after a long and pleasing season on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour. I want to thank Jennian Homes for what they are doing for the game and giving us the chance to play in our own backyard,” said Pearce.
“It’s crucial to have tournaments like these at home with it giving us the perfect preparation to play well overseas and grow our careers.
“I have had a tough couple of weeks to finish off, but I am stoked with what I achieved this year and hopefully I can build from here and play well in China.”
The 2018-19 season of the Charles Tour begins in October.