It’s axiomatic that one can learn more about a person on the golf course than over years of business meetings, and for experienced golfers the point can easily be extended. Even before the first tee shot is struck, golfers scope each other out—clubs, clothes, shoes, bag, accessories—for the material clues to their companion’s personality or game. And the deeper one gets into the subculture of golf, the more such signifiers begin to stand out.
In a match, nothing is more dangerous than predicting players’ ability to score based on whether they are using all the latest space-age technology; the rusty putter and the ancient blade iron are often the tools of the bandit. Likewise, the following wardrobe staples are not the province of the touring pro or even the low-handicapper, but simply the signs of a player who appreciates golf in its simple, traditional form. Along with a good-humored, sporting nature and an unforced mastery of the game’s complex etiquette, they signal that one is in the company of a true golfer.