Is there a perfect golf shirt?

I thought I had found what must be the perfect golf shirt recently when I wandered into a pro shop to buy a tournament logo shirt and found them priced at $98.50. Best I could tell, it was for one shirt, not the entire rack, so I passed. Must have been the perfect shirt.

A bit pricey, although there were 10 people waiting in line to pay for at least one shirt, and one woman appeared to be carrying enough to outfit her grandson’s Little League team. 

I thought they looked pretty snazzy, but I would have had to skip lunch and dinner to buy one. For several days, I mean. And I wasn’t too sure about the right size, anyway. Somewhere between XL and 2XL, and I would have hated to take the wrong size home. The guy running the room didn’t appear to be encouraging folks to try them on, what with the temperature outside rolling rapidly toward 100 degrees. You know, sweat and all.

It’s an unusual commentary on the game to report that some people seem to play better when they’re wearing a shirt with a big-time logo. Big time as in the Masters, the PGA Championship, Pebble Beach or Pinehurst. 

This might be true, but I have no clear evidence. I wore a 1991 Ryder Cup shirt for years, and my scores didn’t improve. Perhaps it was cursed by Bernhard Langer.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that some people tend to frown on golfers with fancy shirts. If you’re wearing a U.S. Open shirt, for example, they might snicker over behind the big potted plant in the pro shop, their disdain implying that you didn’t really attend the Open but that you got the shirt online. At a discount. With free shipping.

A sale often is the only time average folks can pick up really nice golf shirts. I played a few years back at a fine resort in Arizona and wandered into the pro shop before departing. A sign at the door advertised an unusual sale, offering 25 percent off any item with the colors red, white and blue. Using golf smarts I figured were Jack Nicklaus worthy, I found a shirt with all three colors and carried it to the counter, excitedly awaiting my 75 percent discount. The nice guy wielding the credit card machine told me it didn’t work that way. I was disappointed – it was like having a mulligan suddenly ripped from me, but I bought the shirt anyway. And it’s been a good one.

The perfect golf shirt doesn’t necessarily need a logo, of course. Comfort should rule the day. Colors matter. Don’t wear solid black on a sunny, 95-degree day, for example. Bright pink might not be entirely fashionable, but it can distract and irritate your opponents, and that can be a good thing. Red can make you feel like Tiger (but not play like him).

In the end, the biggest thing to remember about golf shirts is this: Please wear one.