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How to Dress for the Masters

For author David Coggins, attending the Masters golf tournament at Augusta is a fine opportunity to dress a little better than we have to.

By: David CogginsDate: 2024-03-13

Going to the Masters is one of the best days of the year for anybody lucky enough to attend. Fathers arrive with sons. Dear friends meet in Augusta. Some cliches have the benefit of being true and it really is, in Jim Nantz’s words, a tradition unlike any other. Devotion has a cost and people might not confess what they paid for tickets on the black market. But once inside, it’s a day of days. And what do most people wear to this momentous event? The most forgettable ensemble: A hat, polo shirt and shorts, maybe a windbreaker, as if they’re playing a round themselves. What’s this? Somebody in a visor? Oh no! The only person wearing a visor should be paid to wear it.

There has to be a better way. Now, I’m not a serious golf fan, but I love the Masters. Each April I block out my calendar and get ready to watch the beloved tournament—I set aside a few bottles of Riesling. Spring is here! There’s the familiar piano theme by Dave Loggins (a mere typo away from my name). I’m ready for Nantz, the wall of green at Amen Corner, Verne calling the action on 16, and the rest of it. When I finally made my Masters debut a few years ago I was, naturally enough, thrilled. But that gave way to the daunting task of deciding what to wear. I was not going to look as if I was in the rough on a municipal course.

Two men leaning against a tree at the Masters

Photo by Patrick Keegan

Now, I was going to take a different approach. Now I’m partial to a sport coat, but I think that’s a bit formal. I mean we’re on the course, after all, so let’s save the blazer for Wimbledon. In any case, it’s better to defer to the members in their green jackets, who can carry the banner for the formal end of things. I opted for a chore jacket (from the great English company Drake’s, if you’re curious about such things). This felt more casual, but still brings with it a certain amount of intent. Pale pink oxford cloth shirt—it's spring after all—and to celebrate the affair, a knit tie. I love knit ties, they are never wrong, this was my way of paying respect.

I figured I could buy a baseball hat—the Masters, according to some calculations, sells a hat every 1.5 seconds. And, having witnessed the mayhem in the merch tent, that figure seems correct. Men line up and go wild. Every year the Masters sells a rope hat and I try to get one or call in a favor from a friend who’s attending and have him get one. If that’s not in the cards then they show up on eBay at three times the cost, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

If you’ve ever paid close attention to the Masters galleries you’ve probably never seen so many men wearing shorts in your life. Now, we may quarrel here, but I’d rather not wear shorts anywhere I can’t see water. Or, to look at it another way: No player at the Masters wears shorts so let’s follow their lead and not wear them either. The world will do just fine not seeing your knees. Chinos are the move. No need to overthink it. And to walk across the fairways and the famous pine straw? How about a pair of boat shoes. I knew there was a reason I had a green pair of Sperry’s so I wore those as a subtle (or not so subtle) homage to the Masters. And that, my friends, was that.

  • Two guys on the golf course at the Masters
  • A man golfing at the Masters
Photos by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

There are other approaches, of course. Are you in possession of a deep collection of discrete Brunello Cucinelli knits? Now’s the time to share it with your adoring public. A beloved Lacoste shirt will also do the trick. Are you the kind of person who can wear white jeans? If you’re unsure, then you, like me, are probably not. But white jeans bring a certain freshness that feels right. I would say wear some loafers, but you are walking on grass after all and it can get slippery.

But, if I can have a polite word here, you do not need to wear your favorite golf ensemble. I appreciate the impulse. You’re on the course! Jon Rahm is right there. But, no matter how close you stand to him, he is not going to hand you his five iron. So let’s leave the technical fabrics to the players. We’ll do just fine dressing a little better than we have to—which is a good approach wherever you are, but especially when you’re at Augusta celebrating Spring.

David Coggins new book isThe Believer: A Year in the Fly Fishing Life. He’s also the author of The Optimist and the NYT bestseller Men and Style. His newsletterThe Contender covers style, travel and design.

Golf ball on a golf course

Harry Rosen x The Traveller

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