While this past weekend's golf action was a big win for Tyrrell Hatton, it was a giant leap for playing tournament golf in a hooded sweatshirt.
The latest effort from golf apparel brands to further freshen the game's regalia was amplified this week by Adidas and Hatton, who, at the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship at fabled Wentworth, released a tweet in his competitive gear after his opening round 66 that garnered some reaction.
A midweek tweet from Hatton encouraged followers to reply for a chance to get their own Adidas golf hoodie. Hatton went on to win the event, the fifth in his career, placing him inside the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Maybe it was the cozy, casual comfort of the hoodie.
We see other sports' top athletes wearing hoodies all the time: basketball players walking into the arena, hockey players in the locker room taping their stick. It just so happens that with golf, the same sport once played in tweed suits, you can apparently now wear them in elite competition, much like your favorite esports superstar does on Twitch.
Over the weekend, there was fervent support for the new golf hoodie on social media from various golf personalities.
But let's be clear, there really wasn't all that much upheaval about Hatton's hoodie to begin with. In the replies to Hatton's initial post, there was mostly support, and also some rather polite (for Twitter) opinions the hoodie wasn't for me, but you do you. It certainly wasn't "ratioed" - a term used to define an excessive amount of replies (generally in contempt) over likes or retweets.
Other comments expressed uncertainty if they are allowed as proper dress code at the course. I've struggled to find much of any evidence of prominent voices in the game expressing a true get-off-my-lawn disdain for the golf hoodie.
The fact is, most golfers today have thoroughly enjoyed the seismic shift in golf apparel over the last two decades. Prior to the debut of Tiger Woods and Nike, my fellow 90s kids and I would hike up the sleeve on our front arm before we would swing big and rip 230-yard heaters down the middle with our Burner Bubble drivers. Apparel today is lighter on the body and helps wick away sweat and even comes with UV protection. Garments are soft and bright and stretchy. A lot of brands are form-fitting, like TravisMathew or Hugo Boss. Many others aim to keep you from looking like a golfer entirely, like Criquet or Linksoul.
Perhaps the recent promotion of the golf hoodie is a merely a response to the quarter-zip pullover that has become a golfer cliche and hung around as the official cool-weather top way too long.
As someone who sloths around the house on a cold day in a hoodie more days than not, I have as much urge to wear one on the first tee as I do my flannel pajama pants. I tried playing in a hoodie once a couple years ago and the sensation of floppy fabric around my neck during the swing felt like there was a ferret draped on me.
There is the also the simple performance issue that loose, unnecessary ounces could slow down your swing speed. If there is the suggestion that simply wearing a watch can have an impact, surely there are aerodynamic concerns with excessive fabric on your shoulders.
That isn't to say Adidas and other brands shouldn't make golf-themed hoodies. One trend I've applauded in golf apparel in recent years is that pro shops are stocking club-branded performance tee shirts. I enjoy wearing collarless, course-branded clothing to the gym or to the park. Who says your golf shop memento has to have a collar? (They're cheaper, too.)
So maybe a golf hoodie has a place in the wardrobe: wear it everywhere but on the golf course. Consider me old-school and give me a cashmere Peter Millar sweater for those crisp fall rounds. And if the wind is especially biting, I'll add a beanie cap. The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a boon for neck and face coverings, which are certainly more useful than a hood.
The market will ultimately decide if golf hoodies are here to stay or if they go the way of pleated pants. I don't anticipate a significant percentage of upscale public or private golf clubs tossing customers for playing in one (let us know in a Golf Advisor review if they do). Though I suppose there are uppity private clubs out there whose old guard is currently in a back room iron-cladding their bylaws to ensure hoodie-wearing riffraff never make it inside the gates.
Speaking of, Georgia in November can be crisp. Perhaps the next milestone to watch in the hoodie movement is if any of these golfers will drape a green jacket over their hoodie in the Butler Cabin.