If theres 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? Youll need it.
With the U.S. Open and U.S. Womens Open set to begin Monday for two back-to-back weeks at Pinehurst No. 2, theres 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. Theyre doing it, so why not you?
Its definitely not as conservative as it used to be, says Mary Lopuszynski, USGA senior director of licensing and merchandising, whos been in Pinehurst since early May setting up the USGA merchandise tent. People are getting more fun with what they wear, whether its bold color or just little color pops.
Take those octopus-print pants by Ralph Lauren that pro golfer Billy Horschel wore at last years 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 mens and womens fashion trends by going bigger and bolder, both in colors and prints. At Raleighs Golfsmith on Glenwood Avenue, youll 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 Antiguas spring collection. Its 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, its 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.
Theyre 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 doesnt necessarily look like performance wear, Bowers said.
One of the things we pride ourselves on is that with the natural and performance fabrics, you cant tell them apart, Bowers said. Were not an entry-level apparel. We dont do things on a budget here. Our No. 1 concern is a No. 1 garment, and then well figure out what it will cost.
Want to stock up before the tournament? Peter Millar can be found at Kannons 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.