Pushing Back on Standard Golf Attire

Golfcore: How a Fashion Trend is Changing the Game

Golf is no longer a sport for rich, old men, and fashion is proving it by progressing from traditional boring khakis and polos to chic golfcore, the golf fashion trend that’s getting major buzz. We’ve decided to unpack exactly what the aesthetic is and how it’s a bellwether for the changes we are seeing on the fairway and in the sport as a whole.

Outdated thinking of golf as a formal, elitist game still permeates the sport and the courses and clubs where it’s played. Sure, it has a history of exclusivity and costs to play are certainly a barrier to entry, but the game is seeing a major influx of young, and largely female, players. In fact, 25% of golfers in 2021 are women according to the National Golf Association. This new wave of golfers is challenging the traditional narrative of who can play golf, where they can play, and what they can wear.

We are seeing groups who were formerly outsiders to the game now moving inside the circle and making the game their own. Believe it or not, golf fashion, and golfcore in particular, is actually driving this increased interest and access.

The popularity of golfcore is an indication of the sea change coming to the sport and to women’s golf fashion. But what exactly is golfcore and how can a golf fashion trend broaden the horizon for the sport?

Great question! Let’s take a swing at understanding it.

What Is Golfcore?

Taking nods from traditional golf attire including preppy patterns and tailored trousers, golfcore leaves stiff chinos and square polos at the door. It’s an aesthetic that evolved from country club prep, making the statement that there can be a respect for the vintage game, including proper decorum and tradition. But with 6 out of 10 Americans believing that golf dress codes are outdated, golfcore asserts that players can break from the strict rules enforced by private country clubs and golf associations.

The golfcore style has gained popularity with younger audiences as it’s been celebrated and splashed all over social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Playing with the collective nostalgia of country club style, it reimagines the look off the fairway, on the street, in restaurants and casual offices. It’s fashion to be worn throughout the day. Using athletic performance fabrics that offer moisture-wicking, sun protection, and a sporty athleisure look, golfcore is fashionable enough for the wearer to go from player to diner to shopper without a wardrobe change.

The lines of golfcore clothing lean away from boxy polo shirts and wide legged chinos and instead offer stylish streamlined cuts, providing a more polished look that’s also ready to serve the athlete taking on 18 holes. There’s even a bit of campy fun to the style as it plays with vintage golf’s traditional plaids, ginghams, and argyles. No matter if the outfits tweak traditional layers or offer different collar styles, they stick to the starched wrinkle-free look we expect from buttoned-up golf attire.

Beyond the designs and colors and fabrics, golfcore is a response to calls for golf to be more inclusive, to welcome women and people of color, to move the game beyond the narrative that it’s reserved only for some.

Why Golfcore Matters

Thanks in part to the pandemic and the desire for socially distanced, outdoor activities, more and more people reconsidered and tried golf over the last two years. A fair share of celebrities have been sporting vintage-inspired preppy fashion and taking up clubs across Instagram and TikTok. It’s these newcomers to the game who are driving the golfcore movement, blurring the lines between athleisure and runway fashion, busting up barriers to entry in the sport, and pushing golf clubs and associations to reconsider their dress codes. The golfcore aesthetic isn’t necessarily anti-country club or anti-golf establishment but it’s definitely pushing back on the idea that golfers need to look a certain way in order to be accepted.

With this shift in attitudes, and the famous faces representing them, the game itself has to respond. Golf has crossed into the mainstream and the golfcore trend has definitely made this more possible. Beyond fashion, the entire vibe underneath the golfcore aesthetic is rebellious. It shows that golf clothes can be edgy, that players can bend, or even break, dress code rules. In challenging the elite status quo of the sport, this style and the attitude underlying it inspires a broader, more diverse audience to watch and play golf. And that’s an undeniable golf industry trend that companies and clubs alike are watching and responding to. Dress codes are loosening and bylaws are being reconsidered to allow broader membership.

This momentum in golf right now is exciting. New players are taking the uniform of the sport and making it their own, bringing personal style to a historically vanilla game.

With more women playing golf than ever before, they're incorporating their own sense of style on the green and beyond. In our second Women in Golf Equality Index, 77% of women who have played or are interested in playing golf responded that when you wear stylish clothes and feel confident in your appearance you play better.

KINONA is responding to the golfcore trend, offering styles that fit your lifestyle on and off the course. With performance fabric built for sport and comfort, our collections celebrate that clothing can look great and serve a purpose, that it can perform right alongside the player.

Add some golfcore aesthetic to your wardrobe with KINONA.

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