While sporting these country club fashions, every competitor can serve and swing with style.

You can thank 1920s-era tennis champion René Lacoste for sparking the movement toward comfortable athletic apparel. During his 1926 win at the United States National Championship, he wore a short-sleeve starched white button-down shirt instead of a long-sleeve shirt--“a daring evolutionary step toward an archetype of sportswear,” according to contributing writer Troy Patterson in his 2015 New York Times article “Unstarched Shirt.” Lacoste had reportedly been inspired by a posh friend who played polo in a similar shirt.

In 1932, Bunny Austin, an English tennis player who for 74 years was the last Briton to reach the final of the gentlemen’s singles at Wimbledon until Andy Murray did it in 2012, decided that heavy white flannel trousers were just too darn hot to play in. So he bravely wore shorts at Wimbledon—and King George V and Queen Mary didn’t object, underscoring the inevitability of a new era in athletic apparel design with the player’s comfort playing an important role.

Nearly a century later, today’s tennis players and golfers are overwhelmingly looking for dry-wicking fabrics that are comfortable, stretchy and quick-drying, says Steve Pinzon, marketing director for AKWA Apparel (PPAI 205981). “Both golf and tennis involve a lot of upper body and core rotation. If the shirt doesn't move with the athlete, it's restrictive and it chafes. So, a lightweight dry-wicking shirt with some Spandex is the ideal formula,” he adds.

Polyester is relatively affordable, but Spandex is expensive, so if you add a lot of Spandex to a shirt to give it more stretch, the shirt gets quite expensive, Pinzon says. “Also, too much Spandex takes away from the natural drape of a shirt and can leave it limp. At AKWA, we found four percent Spandex is just right to add a little flexibility to the shirt without taking away the drape.”

As for decoration options, Pinzon says that sublimation is ideal for both sports. “Screenprinting and embroidery leave stiff spots against the skin, and these can be uncomfortable, especially when one gets really sweaty. Sublimation dyes the strands of fabric (instead of coating or stitching them) so it has no stiff spots to irritate the skin.”

In Praise Of The Modern Polo

“Breaking par” is the inspiration for the new Greg Norman Sublimation Print Polo. This shirt has all the features necessary for the links: Play Dry® moisture management system, luxurious stretch fabric and an athletic color combination. Fashion details include a self-goods collar, forward shoulder and shark plate branding on the right sleeve hem. It’s available in sizes S-2XL and in white with a sunset and gunmetal heather print. Pair it with the Greg Norman women’s Dot Jacket.

Vantage Apparel / PPAI 113235 / www.vantageapparel.com

An allover embossed tonal tri-blade pattern gives this retail-inspired polo a sophisticated edge while Dri-FIT moisture management technology delivers breathable performance. Design features include a self-fabric collar, three-button placket and open hem sleeves. A contrast heat transfer Swoosh design trademark is on the left sleeve. Adult sizes include XS-4XL.

SanMar / PPAI 110788 / www.sanmar.com

The high-end embossed honeycomb design on this Made in The USA polo gives it high perceived value, and wearers will love the no-curl collar. At five ounces, this dry wicking poly/spandex shirt has just enough stretch for comfortably swinging a golf club. It’s available in men’s and women’s in black, French blue, navy, charcoal, hunter and red in sizes S-4XL for men and S-3XL for women.

AKWA / PPAI 205981 / www.akwa.com

The 6.5-ounce Hanes® X-Temp Blended Pique has an adaptive finish, Fresh IQ odor control and a 40+ UPF rating as well as double-needle hem sleeves, a welt collar and self-fabric neck taping. The women’s style has flattering side-seam shaping. Colors include black, blue horizon, charcoal heather, clean mint, deep forest, deep red, deep royal, light steel, navy and white. It’s available in S-3XL and in men’s sizes up to 5XL.

Hanes/Champion / PPAI 191138 / www.hanesbullseye.com

This women’s performance polo is made with 97-percent polyester and three-percent Spandex jersey using Desert Dry™ moisture-wicking technology. Gradient sublimation print goes from white to color to black and contrast taping complements the print at the inside placket and top shoulder and is finished with matching snaps at the placket. Choose from six available colors and sizes S-XL.

Antigua Group / PPAI 133110 / www.antigua.com

Apparel And Accessory Advantages

This 5.9-ounce 100-percent polyester waffle knit Callaway jacket with fleece back and heather front offers Opti-Therm insulated fabric to withstand the cold and provide a layer of thermal comfort. High-quality details include a full zip with contrast zipper binding and Callaway logo rubber zipper pull. Sizes include S-4X and it’s available in blueprint heather, castlerock heather, highrise heather.

Heritage Sportswear / PPAI 177353 / www.heritagesportswear.com

Sylish and sporty, Bollé Recoil sunglasses are perfect for all country club sports. Arched arms and a contoured profile give the frame an attractive and athletic style with a comfortable fit for medium to large faces. Nose padding and a temple lining made with Thermogrip® technology provide a secure and comfortable fit.

Fields Manufacturing / PPAI 111951 / www.fieldsmfg.com


These pliable Nike® Solarsoft foam midsole slip-on sandals are ideal for the country club. Slip them on around the pool or before or after golf or tennis. Available in gray and black.

BIC Graphic USA / PPAI 114187/ www.bicgraphic.com

Maximize brand equity with this custom golf glove. This premium quality synthetic glove has a leather patch on the palm. The glove is a canvas for a custom design and the price includes up to three colors on the glove and on the raised rubber wrist strap.

Ball Pro Promotional Group / PPAI 112763 / www.ballpro.com


Made from 100-percent woven microfiber polyester, this unstructured, low profile visor features lightweight microfiber that wicks moisture for more comfortable performance during aerobic activity. With a pre-curved bill, contrast binding and an adjustable hook-and-loop closure, the cap fits most sizes.

Augusta Sportswear / PPAI 187246 / www.augustasportswear.com

Cool Towels are individually packaged 100-percent cotton towels that are pre-moistened with an all-natural cooling solution. They combine reusable cooling refreshment and brand awareness with a call to action (on a customized card in each folded towel). Cool Towels are perfect promo items for golf and tennis tournaments. The towel can be embroidered or reactive printed so consumers will be absorbing your client’s brand while refreshing themselves between sets.

Cool Towel / PPAI 654022 / www.cool-towel.com

Serving Up Style

Besides still playing tennis at such a high level that she reached the finals of the Australian Open this year (only to lose to her sister, Serena), Venus Williams is also a successful entrepreneur with a tennis and fitness clothing line: EleVen. She’s been running the line since 2007 as a hands-on leader and creator who often takes her sketchbooks on the road with her to tournaments.

According to her website, the company name represents how she approaches her life—without limits. “In our world, ‘10’ is just another number, but EleVen is a lifestyle—it’s about challenging your status quo, embracing positive change, and pushing beyond whatever is holding you back from living your ideal life.” As for what she thinks makes a great tennis outfit, Williams told online shopping publication Racked, “Something that’s flattering. And also something that’s fun to wear, something that motivates you to get moving.”

Fast Fashion

Distributor American Solutions for Business (PPAI 253958) has solidified an exclusive partnership with Loft8, an up-and-coming, fashion-forward luxury golf and corporate apparel brand that is already established at more than 700 golf courses throughout North America and has worked with the CGSAA, Toyota, Chevrolet, Mopar, Ralph Lauren and Footjoy.

This unique line of Loft8 apparel is available to order on demand, using ASB’s proprietary eCommerce technology. The products have been hand chosen and modified after input from American’s select corporate and sales associate focus groups. This collection for ASB’s Just-In-Time program is a custom line that adds a unique personal touch to its current apparel selection.

Dye On Demand

Coloreel, a Swedish technology company, has created a new technology that allows apparel decorators to dye textile thread on demand during the embroidery process. According to Coloreel, Embroline is a unique, stand-alone digital thread-coloring unit that can be used with practically any embroidery machine without modification. By instantly coloring an Embroline base thread during embroidery production, Embroline eliminates any limitations in the use of colors. Color changes on the thread can be made rapidly, from one solid color to another or gradually, to make smooth transitions or virtually any coloring effect.

“This opens up an entirely new world for designers, embroidery manufacturers and apparel customers,” says Joakim Staberg, the founder of Coloreel and the inventor of the technology.

Embroline by Coloreel will launch in mid-year. For more information, visit www.coloreel.com.

Julie Richie is associate editor for PPB magazine.