Heading to the US Open in Pinehurst? Have a little fun with what you wear

CorrespondentJune 4, 2014 

  • Pinehurst-bound? What to wear and what to leave at home

    Bring it

    •  Sturdy, comfortable shoes. Your instinct might be to put on your golf shoes but: “You’re not playing, so you really don’t need stability,” said Mike Bowers, vice president of design and merchandising at Peter Millar. You’ll be walking around a lot, and yes, there’s that pesky Pinehurst sand. Wear sandals, if you dare. For the trendiest look invest in a new pair of Sperry Topsiders. Women may also consider ballet flats. If you insist on wearing heels, opt for a wedge.

    •  Headwear. A straw hat is always fashionable, but ball caps and visors work, too. And in case you forget your hat, the 39,000-square-foot USGA merchandise tent will have more than 100,000 hats to pick from, said Mary Lopuszynski, USGA senior director of licensing and merchandising. (She said she’ll happily sell you sunglasses, if you forget those, too.)

    •  Sunscreen. The average temperature in Pinehurst in mid-June is 87 degrees.

    Leave it

    • For women, handbags and backpacks aren’t allowed. However, a bag about the size of a fanny pack – 6-by-6-by-6 inches – is allowed, as well as clear plastic totes smaller than 12-by-12-by-12 inches.

    • Metal-spiked shoes.

    • Cellphones, PDAs, tablets, cameras (except Monday through Wednesday for personal use), food, water bottles, coolers or umbrella covers.

    • Here is a full list of prohibited items: http://nando.com/gd

  • Shop the U.S. Open

    If you aren’t going to Pinehurst, you can still stock up on U.S. Open bags, hats and clothing: http://nando.com/gf.

If there’s a sporting event where what you wear matters, the U.S. Open golf tournament is probably at the top of the list.

Bright pink performance polo? You bet.

Octopus-printed pants? Why not?

A cool straw hat? You’ll need it.

With the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open set to begin Monday for two back-to-back weeks at Pinehurst No. 2, there’s plenty to consider before heading to the Sandhills: the hot and sticky weather, the pesky sand, the 18 holes (or 7,500 yards) to walk and the chance you might be on TV.

But also take a cue from the pros: Have a little fun with what you wear. They’re doing it, so why not you?

“It’s definitely not as conservative as it used to be,” says Mary Lopuszynski, USGA senior director of licensing and merchandising, who’s been in Pinehurst since early May setting up the USGA merchandise tent. “People are getting more fun with what they wear, whether it’s bold color or just little color pops.”

Take those octopus-print pants by Ralph Lauren that pro golfer Billy Horschel wore at last year’s U.S. Open. They might be out of your comfort zone, but why not try an orange polo with khakis? Or a purple and green striped shirt with royal blue pants? Or the navy Izod pants peppered with American flags that Raleigh native Webb Simpson wore to the Masters in April?

‘A little bit more intense’

Golf wear has been mirroring men’s and women’s fashion trends by going bigger and bolder, both in colors and prints. At Raleigh’s Golfsmith on Glenwood Avenue, you’ll be overwhelmed with bold choices: pink shirts and lime green shorts for men and bright raspberry golf dresses for women.

“Golf has always been a colorful business and this year just a little bit more intense,” said Ron McPherson, president and chief executive officer of Antigua golf apparel line, about Antigua’s spring collection. “It’s bright and bold – really colorful.”

The only real trick to pulling off the trends at Pinehurst No. 2 is picking golf wear that performs as well as it looks, the kind of performance that provides moisture-wicking and protects from the sun.

“Performance fabrics are all the rage,” says Mike Bowers, a former golf pro and vice president of design and merchandising at Peter Millar, the Raleigh-based golf wear apparel maker. “Nothing is better than a performance golf shirt.”

The Peter Millar dream

And if anyone knows golf wear for Pinehurst, it’s Peter Millar, whose design and marketing teams work from offices in Pilot Mills near downtown Raleigh.

“The USGA in Pinehurst is kind of a dream come true for us,” Bowers said.

They’re used to sweltering Southern summers, so they understand why fabrics not only need to block sun and wick moisture, but also stretch with a golf swing and stay wrinkle free.

But Peter Millar takes it one step further, creating performance wear that doesn’t necessarily look like performance wear, Bowers said.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is that with the natural and performance fabrics, you can’t tell them apart,” Bowers said. “We’re not an entry-level apparel. We don’t do things on a budget here. Our No. 1 concern is a No. 1 garment, and then we’ll figure out what it will cost.”

Want to stock up before the tournament? Peter Millar can be found at Kannon’s clothing store in Cameron Village as well as golf pro shops at the Carolina Country Club and Raleigh Country Club. Nordstrom also carries the brand.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service