David Leadbetter is currently advertising his line of golf shirts sold through Jos. A. Banks, claiming that they are the best golf shirts you’ve ever had or you get your money back. They look nice and they are 100% cotton, so they meet two of my criteria. But if they don’t have pockets, they won’t be the best I’ve ever had.
Don’t get me wrong here. I like Leadbetter. His 100% Golf got me back on track after a long lay-off. But I’m talking clothing here, not swing mechanics.
What’s the deal with no pockets in golf shirts? It’s next to impossible to find them now, but they used to be routine. Just to be sure I wasn’t imagining an old fart’s better world of yesterday, I pulled out my copy of A History of Golf, by Steve Newell. Sure enough, there’s Gary Player slipping on the green jacket (a pocket is in his shirt). There’s Tom Watson hoisting the Claret Jug (a pocket is in his shirt). There’s Arnold Palmer, deep in thought (a pocket is in his shirt).
Not everyone always wore a shirt with a pocket, of course. I’m all for freedom of choice, and if you don’t want one that day, or even ever, fine. But how about a little consideration for those of us who want one? I’ve solved my dilemma by buying LL Bean polos with pockets, and they come in tall sizes so the tail doesn’t pull out on me, but some other choices would be nice.
I presume some fashion guru thought things looked sleeker without pockets, and nobody (or almost nobody) carries anything in their shirt pocket while playing golf, so why not just ditch the pocket. That’s all well and good for folks with lockers, those lucky ones of us who change at the course, but what about the other 95% of us who have to make a stop at the hardware store on the way home while we’re wearing our golf clothes? Where are we supposed to put our pen, our sunglasses case, our cell phone, our shopping list? And back at the course, where are we supposed to put our receipt to show the starter before we tee off? Where am I supposed to slip that buck I won off the Chipping Lizard when he slides it across the table after the round? I want my pocket!
If golf wants to shed that “evil sport image“, we need shirts with pockets. It makes us look like wusses, not the buff and toned hard workers we are, when we wear those useless shirts. I was delighted to see that the pro and amateur U.S. Open winners have joined the cause, and proudly displayed pockets. And they did it on moving day, the best possible time to show that golfers are real people too. You know, lift that couch, tote that cooler full of beer.
Rory McIlroy’s shirt had an understated pocket, hidden inside the shirt and under a button down flap, but I understand his need to maintain appropriate decorum while championing such a controversial and revolutionary cause. But Patrick Cantlay proudly displayed his solidarity with us regular folks with two (count ’em, two!) pockets on his shirt. Go, Patrick!
Now, if someone would just come up with a sunscreen that isn’t greasy, works great, and won’t stain, I’ll be happy. Kinda.