The 148th Open is fast-approaching. Pros are waking up at 1 a.m. ET to acclimate to the time change, some are already on-site at Royal Portrush practicing in the torrential downpour, and I’m just over here trying to remember if Irish Whisky is spelled with or without an ‘e’ (yah know, so that I can accurately report on which liquid is being consumed from the claret jug in celebration come Sunday night).
Preparation is key, which is why I’m here to help – if you’re heading overseas to catch the action in-person and maybe get in a few rounds (golf, not Irish Whiskey), the last thing you’ll want to do is fret and fidget over your wardrobe. I’ll be making my way to Northern Ireland this year to cover my fourth Open for Golf Channel
, and throughout the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about packing for a summer sojourn across the pond. Below, I’ve unpacked that insight for you:
Layers – Pack for the Entire Spectrum
So, you’ve checked the forecast? Great. You’re ahead of the curve, except for the minor detail that the weather can change at the drop of a putt and will likely fluctuate significantly throughout the week. I made the mistake last year of not packing any shorts, skorts, or short-sleeved shirts before I headed to Carnoustie. Turns out the weather was unseasonably warm (despite what the forecast called for), and there I was in pants and sweaters every day, hotter than the recent championship record of a certain purple-thong wearing, four-time major winner. You will experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows (only slightly overdramatized), so pack for the entire spectrum.
Don't Forget the Rain Gear
I gave you credit for checking the forecast, but did you actually? If you did, then you already know it’s going to be a wet week. Don’t skimp on the rain gear (or “waterproofs” as the Euros call them) – a hefty rain jacket, rain pants, rain gloves, socks and at least two pair of water-repellent shoes are essential. That way, you’ll wear one pair while the other pair dries out for a day. And of course, don’t forget a large golf umbrella.
Classic vs. Sporty
Part of the secret to successful dress is being mindful of the tone of the event you're attending. In this case, the tone of The Open (and if you’re teeing it up in Ireland or Scotland) is more traditional and timeless – The Open is, after all, the oldest championship in all of golf. This is a personal preference, but when I head over to The Open, I try to tailor my looks to be a little more European and sophisticated. What does that mean? Most of the differences have to do with cut and pattern - pants that are more form-fitting with tapered legs; polos and quarter-zips with slimmer silhouettes; and solid colors that are neutral (think navy, white, black, red). If that’s too tame for you, try adding a pop of color or pizazz with a hat or your shoes, but keep the overall aesthetic clean and basic.
I know what I just wrote (“solid colors that are neutral” and an aesthetic that is “clean and basic”), but hear me out. There are subtle ways to introduce plaid, argyle, or tweed-type splashes into your overseas wardrobe that are sophisticated and measured, not an eyesore and obnoxious. Maybe it’s as simple as a pair of socks. It could be an argyle sweater vest, a hat or beanie, or even a pair of pants. If you’re still unsure if you can pull off a piece like this, it’s safer if it features basic colors (again, think navy, white, and red vs. neon yellow or orange), and keep the rest of your outfit minimalistic.
Style Your Golf Bag
This may seem silly, but I think it’s a really simple and fun way to truly get into the spirit of links golf. If you’re going to be playing a lot of golf, consider investing in a carry bag. Maybe mix up your headcovers and throw in some wool or heavier woven options. Or maybe pick something up at one of the courses you play while overseas. Your golf bag should be a source of joy, even when the round of golf you just played is not. That’s what Whiskey is for.