The Golf Shirt – Cotton vs. Performance Tech Fabric

Exhibit 1

Ah the age old question, performance-tech fabric shirt or cotton shirt? Okay well maybe the question isn’t that historic, but when it comes to golf shirts, it is quickly becoming relevant. Back in the day the only option was cotton, and while nobody knew enough to complain, the introduction of various sport-tech fibers brought applause from the masses. The new shirts were lighter, cooler (temperature-wise), and seemingly allowed more room for the golf swing.

Author’s note: If I must acknowledge the fact that they wick away moisture, I will, but I am now obligated to point out that this also creates your own little B.O. factory, so maybe pipe down on that one.

I have always been a slow mover when it comes to the next big thing in golf, with the overriding principle being that I’d rather look like a worse golfer than I am . . . the opposite effect gives me shivers just at the thought of it. So when the new fabrics started coming out and the golf shirt was reinvented, I was far from first in line at the stores. The last thing I needed to do was drop $60.00 on a fancy, often shiny new shirt and proceed to honk one off the first tee into the gorse. So I stuck with the picque polos like a good frat-boy should, and after a tough day at the course I had the red scratches on my chin to prove it.

Years later I was given a legitimate golf-tech shirt as a gift and was suddenly a fan. My swing felt all sweet, as far as I was concerned anyway, and I was able to keep a bit cooler during the hottest rounds of the summer. And for a second there, I looked cooler too.

Which brings us to a new crossroads in 2012. As Adam has pointed out a few times, manufacturers are now making better cotton materials that make for a better cotton golf shirt, e.g. QED Style, Criquet, Linksoul, Martin and Leisure Society.

QED Style

Oen of our favorite cotton golf shirts. QED Style Francis Polo

So there’s that. Keeping that in mind, I contend that there are two compelling reasons it’s time to make the switch back to cotton:

1) The performance techy golf shirt has been done to death, and unlike cotton, it is not timeless. Too many dudes have folded it into their everyday wardrobe. We could surely place part of the blame on the casual Friday movement, but I’m not here as an anthropologist . . . the fact is, they just aren’t legitimate good looking shirts. They were designed with a purpose in mind, and much like with the Palm Pilot or Ivana Trump, something better looking has come along that gets the job done just as well. At this point it’s just another middle-aged-man look, trotting dutifully behind the all-white Seinfeld sneakers and pale jeans (sorry guys, I know you’re all good people and probably don’t care either way).

And 2) wait for it . . . manboobs! As I hit my late 30’s I have noticed that my sweet pectorals, if not presented correctly, could easily be misconstrued as a pair of PhillyMick specials. Shocking, but true. How do I defend against this phenomenon? Wear anything BUT tech fabric golf shirts!

Exhibit 1

Exhibit #1

Performance fabric tends to hang off those suckers like drapes, bringing undue attention and shadowy stuff to one’s manmary glands. Before scoffing at this notion, please go ask two or three of your peers and see what they have to say, as it is very difficult to judge yourself in this matter (and remember, denial is Stage 1). Don’t believe your friends? Just go to the research – awesome scientists agree that 6 out of 10 men over age 30 who declare themselves innocent of bombsmuggling are actually guilty in the first degree. And guess what, this number increases to 9 out of 10 when tech fabric golf shirts are brought into the equation!  So don’t shoot the messenger – it’s science.

Man-nips? You’re on your own there.


Written by Matt Murley
I’ve been playing golf for a long time, but every year brings new adventures with my game. I pay zero attention to statistics, refuse to register any playing partner’s GPS readings that get barked out from the cart, and generally shave .8 strokes off my game with each beer that goes down the gullet.