Fashion puts new swing in ancient game
Michelle Wie. Photo: Melissa Adams
Golf is a sport with a history steeped in tradition. A tradition of strict dress codes, ill-fitting polo shirts and pants boasting loud prints and ugly pleats, but that is all changing thanks to the fit and fashion-savvy professional women coming through the ranks.
From Thursday, the greens of the Royal Canberra Golf Club will double as a catwalk for the latest in sportswear trends thanks to the Women's Australian Open and the next generation of stylish stars such as Michelle Wie and Cheyenne Woods.
On their first trip to Canberra the pair are looking forward to competing for $US1.2 million in prizemoney and the chance to show off their style to a new crowd.
Both women make bright and bold fashion statements. Wie, who admits to pulling on the knee-high argyle socks on tour, accessorises her game day look with a DIY bright manicure, a diamond encrusted Omega watch and her graduation ring she received from Stanford University last year.
Fitness is also of paramount importance to Wie and Woods, with both adhering to clean-eating diets and strict regimes of yoga, running and spin classes while on the road.
Woods was swinging the nine-iron as a five-year-old thanks to her grandfather, Earl Woods. Fast forward a few years and the 22-year-old is now a university graduate and full-time professional golfer. Since she began competing she has won about 30 amateur tournaments and, like Wie and her uncle Tiger, she was quickly picked up by Nike.
She made her debut at last year's Ladies Professional Golf Association Championship and after spending the majority of the past season on the European Tour she is looking forward to spending more time in the US this year.
While she admits she hasn't thought about starring in any campaigns for Nike, the next in line for the Woods golfing throne says she wouldn't rule out starring in her own version of Tiger's 1996 ''Hello World'' campaign for Nike.
Both Wie and Woods are pleased with the evolution of the dress code for female golfers.
''There are still a few restrictions. If you have no sleeves you need a collar. There can be nothing too short but you want to be cute so nothing down to the knees. Really that's it. I think the fashion is getting a lot more broad and lot more athletic which is cute so we're seeing a lot of colours, especially this time of year so it's always exciting at the beginning of the new year to see what every brand has out,'' Woods said.
While handicaps can differ, Woods and Wie agree the style game is even.
''Some of the Asian players come out with the knee-high socks and that has really caught on. I see a lot of girls with the knee-high socks now. We all really wear the same stuff, there's just different ways of wearing it,'' Woods said.
''When you look at pictures from the '90s and the early 2000s it is funny to see how it used it look. Nothing fit right, there were those damn pleats in the pants. Fashion has come such a long way,'' Wie added.
''Styles are evolving. It's becoming more functional and fashionable at the same time. Every year the fits are getting better, it's just geared more towards women and how we dress.''