Back in January, even the busy LPGA players couldn't miss the trend in the 10 miles of aisles at the big PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. Nicole Smith didn't need glasses to see: “A lot of really bright colors are coming in, with Adidas bringing in neon for shoes, Oakley with the bright pink, Puma with its bright colors.”
Thank you, Rickie Fowler. Puma and Loudmouth are no longer alone in popping eyes on the golf course. Even traditional golf clothing labels such as Cutter & Buck and EP Pro helped make orange the color of 2012.
Yes that is orange, also known among designers as “tangerine” and, most predominately, “poppy.” The latter may refer to a flower, or to the adjective that describes this particular shade -- it surely pops and therefore must be poppy.
A few other trends popped as well -- here are five.
1. Sporty shoes
Oakley’s new Cipher shoe doesn’t come in poppy and it doesn’t come in women’s sizes. It does, however, come in bright blue and in red, as well as more vanilla colors -- and its billing as the lightest golf shoe on the market (at 260 grams) makes it worth trying on.
My size 7 1/2 (in women’s I wear a 9 to a 9 1/2) felt like a slipper. The shoe has “nanospike” technology, with a flat, replaceable insert that resembles an emery board for traction. With no spikes applying pressure to the feet, the shoe was all the more comfortable.
The Cipher ($130 retail) represents a trend toward lower profile, sportier looking shoes, particularly for young women.
Kikkor enlisted Ryann O’Toole to promote its sporty, comfy women’s line, and a new company called Barefoot B.E.R.B.S made a splash with its almost-naked shoe, golf’s equivalent of a yoga shoe.
Ah, but the market leader, Footjoy, has an answer to all the competitors, and its Lo-Pro accounts for 7 percent of all golf shoes sold in the U.S. Yes, that is a women’s golf shoe, one model alone collecting 7 percent of the entire golf shoe market. And there are ore styles than ever this year, including polka dots!
2. Styles that slim
Compression fabrics were all the rage, with Skirt Sports and its hot skirts-over-leggings look and a newcomer to the golfwear scene, Luxxe. Luxxe owner and designer Nicolette Mayer finds inspiration in art and themes for pull-on clothes in a performance fabric, LuxxeTech, that doesn’t wrinkle and miraculously slims (fabrics that compress). In prices along the lines of the familiar Jamie Saddock collections, Mayer’s designs overlap yoga, tennis and street wear as well. “Our customer is the woman golfer who’s been around the block and is bored,” she said, adding that the fabric “sucks you in, hides bra fat and hides muffin top.” Yay!
GG Blue’s popular item proved to be its slimming, pull-on Movement Skort, with several color choices in sizes XS to XL. Needing no zipper or button closure, bulk is instantly reduced.
This jury’s still out on Swing Control, a pull-on short/skort/capri/pedalpusher/ankle pant with built-in tummy control called “Flaterie Fit.” Retailing for more than $100 -- partly because, a sales rep said, “if a woman finds a bottom she likes, price becomes a non-issue” -- these bottoms are very fitted. I tried on a pair and thought they looked great and flattered my figure, but, would they be comfortable for 18 holes? Good-looking enough to be worth a try.