Female pros with great fashion sense
Remember the days when a trip to a golf store to buy women’s apparel ended with purchasing shapeless polo shirts and unflattering tailored shorts which looked about as sexy as a sack of potatoes? While these were a definite improvement on 19th century golfing attire which consisted of a wide-brimmed floppy hat, corset, belted, long skirt with multiple layers of petticoats, long-sleeve blouse with high-necked collar and stockings with high buttoned shoes, it was nevertheless disconcerting to discover that finding fashionable golfing threads was a challenge.
Times have changed, thank goodness, and as the game has increased in popularity over the years with many more women golfers gracing the fairways, golf brands such as TaylorMade adidas Golf (TMaG), Nike and Callaway, have started recognising and sympathising with the plight of women players. Another indication of the change in fairway fashion is that leading clothing brands like Liz Claiborne and Cutter & Buck have followed suit, together with a large number of smaller independent clothing labels. This makes it a breeze finding fashionable yet comfortable women’s golf gear to wear on the course.
We take a look at some of the fashionistas of the course who made a few heads turn during the recent HSBC Women’s Champions 2010 at Singapore’s Tanah Merah Country Club.
Name: Michelle Wie
Turned Pro: 2005
Career Wins: One
Sponsors: Nike, Omega
Label Endorsed: Nike
Ms Wie is no stranger to making golfing headlines, first picking up a club at the age of four and six years later becoming the youngest player ever to qualify for the Women's US Amateur Public Links Championship. Touring professional at the age of 16, Wie relied on sponsor invitations and playing in men’s events before qualifying for the LPGA Tour at the end of 2008. Aptly juggling studies at Stanford University and her professional career, Wie finally lived up to the hype by winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last November in her rookie year on the LPGA, which qualified her for this year’s HSBC Women’s Champions. Wie is a sponsor’s dream, with her 6 ft 1 inch frame, good looks and megawatt smile. On the final day of the HSBC Women’s Champions 2010, Wie, who finished in a tie for 15th, was decked out in signature Nike – black skirt, red stripy golf shirt, white cap, white shoes and Nike belt.
Name: Natalie Gulbis
Turned Pro: 2001
Career Wins: 3
Sponsors: TaylorMade adidas Golf (TMaG), RSM McGladrey, Canon, Michelob Ultra, SkyCaddie, Payment Data Systems, Raymond Weil, MasterCard, Winn Golf Grips, Lake Las Vegas Resort and EA Sports.
Label Endorsed: TMaG
Ms Gulbis turned professional at the age of 18, and while she did not win a tournament in the first five years of turning professional, she still finished sixth on the LPGA money list in 2005 with over $1 million (US) in earnings and played on the winning United States Solheim Cup team. In 2007 she broke through to win the Evian Masters and although her best finish last season was a tie for seventh, Gulbis has gone on to win almost US$4 million in career prize money. Noted for her fashion sense on the course, in 2005 she released her own calendar and has also posed for FHM magazine as well as made a number of television appearances.
Name: Ai Miyazato
Turned Pro: 2004
Career Wins: 18
Sponsors: Bridgestone, Suntory, Japan Airlines, Honda, Hisamitsu, Mitsubishi Electric, Meiji Seika and Yamaichi.
Labels Endorsed: Tourstage, Oakley
After putting herself into contention for the title in last year’s HSBC Women’s Champions after an opening round of 68, Ai Miyazato had a final round she’d rather forget after shooting a 77 to finish in a tie for 29th. Last year saw her put all that behind her as she had a stellar year, earning over US$1.5 million which was three times as much as in 2008, winning the Evian Masters Presented by Societe Generale, finishing second at the Samsung World Championship and tying for third place at the RICOH Women's British Open. The diminutive Japanese won this season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand by one stroke over Suzann Pettersen and the HSBC Women's Champions becoming the first player since 1966 to win consecutive season-opening events. On the final day of the HSBC Women’s Champions 2010, champion Miyazato wore bright orange checked shorts, a white shirt, yellow cap and white shoes.
Name: Hee Young Park
Country: South Korea
Turned Pro: 2004
Career Wins: 4
Sponsors: Hana Bank, ELORD
Label Endorsed: ELORD
While perhaps not as well-known as the other ‘Seoul sisters’ on the LPGA tour – Se Ri Pak, Na Yeon Choi, Inbee Park or In-Kyung Kim – Ms Park has performed well since her joining the LPGA tour back in 2008 where she had four top-10 finishes. In 2009, her best finish was second at the Honda LPGA Thailand, where she carded a career-best and course record 64 in the second round, and tied for second at the Mizuno Classic, where she crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings. She also had a number of top-10 finishes during the year and is one golfing star to watch in the future. On the final day of the HSBC Women’s Champions 2010, Park, who finished in a tie for ninth, wore bright pink shorts, a black long-sleeved shirt, pink cap and white shoes.