Hat History Home
Dress Hats
Gangster Fedoras
Panama Straw Hats
Western Hats
Borsalino Hats
Dobbs Hats
Indiana Jones Fedora
Stetson Hats
Golf Celebrities
Hat Care

Hat History
PO Box 995
Angel Fire, NM

History of Straw hats & Felt hats - Golf hats

History of Straw hats and Felt hats - Golf hatsGolf as we know it today originated from a game played on the eastern coast of Scotland in the Kingdom of Fife during the 15th century. Players would hit a pebble around a natural course of sand dunes, rabbit runs and tracks using a stick or primitive club.

The growth of golf as an organized competitive sport in the United Kingdom was paralleled abroad in India and the USA. Gate receipts were used as prize money for the first time in 1892 in Cambridge, England. The first international golf tournament was the Amateur Golf Championship of India and the East in 1893. In 1894, the United States Golf Association was established to regulate the game in the United States and Mexico.

In the 1920s, the game of golf in the U.S. became an avenue for fashion, golf dress became a must. Typical golf fashion included baggy plus-fours in lightweight material and fancy colors, matched with two-tone shoes and a sleeveless Argyle sweater, with accompanying blazer.

Straw golf hats were popularized by Sam Snead and later Greg Norman. Snead was ageless, the only player who won sanctioned tournaments in six decades, from the 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro to the 1982 Legends of Golf, which he won with Gardner Dickinson as his partner. He was famous for his straw hat and natural swing.

Greg Norman grew up in northern Australia, very close to the equator, and spent a majority of his time in the bright sun, surfing, fishing and diving. In Australia, the popular hat was a typical surfer's wide-brimmed straw hat. It has a brim that circles your entire head, even the back of the neck. It is the perfect hat for keeping the pounding sun away from your face and keeping you cool. When Norman played golf, he was able to keep his eyes focused on the ball while it was sitting on the tee, in flight, and after landing; all without getting a blinding shot of sunlight in his eyes. Originally his mother and father absolutely hated his straw hat, so much so, this his mother would hide it. She thought straw hats just weren't appropriate for golf. In the beginning of his career, Greg Norman was sponsored by an Australian hat company, known for their large, Aussie cowboy style hats. While on the course, this hat was too hot for him, so the company created the same shape of hat that he loved in childhood, but in straw.

In the hot sun, you absolutely must wear a hat to protect you from the bad things a tropical sun can do to your skin. But, just as importantly, your golf hat makes a definite statement about what kind of golfer you are, or at least hope to be. Nowadays, the two most common kinds of golf hats seen on the course are the straw hats, such as Greg "The Shark" Norman wears, or the more plebeian baseball caps. A minority of players wear the floppy brimmed hat that was first popularized by Christopher Robin.

The psychological benefits derived from choosing a straw hat are two-fold. First, it can give you the feeling of being uncommonly adventuresome, especially if you bend the brim into a passable imitation of the one Crocodile Dundee wears. Further enhancement may be achieved by inserting such things as a feather into the hat band. On the other hand, a stylish straw hat can create a James Bond appearance of casual elegance. Also, I might add, most men find ladies wearing smart straw hats to be a definite distraction, that may be worth several strokes to them during the course of play.


History of Straw hats and Felt hats furnishes enlightening detail, beginning with interesting accounts of dress hats in the early years, through the roaring 20's gangster fedoras, includes features on golf and movie celebrities' hats, and highlights some original and contemporary hatmakers.