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Vintage golf

When I see something in pop culture that seems designed to stun the senses, I naturally assume the reason is related to money. That’s certainly the case for the most offensive magazine cover I’ve seen in a long time, the May issue of Golf Digest. (I refuse to link to it because that rewards them for bad behavior.)

There you’ll see Paulina Gretsky posed suggestively in nothing but a sports bra and yoga pants. Gretsky is not a golfer. She is the daughter of hockey’s Wayne Gretsky, and fiancé of golf’s Dustin Johnson.

Other than a related inside story where she demonstrates certain fitness exercises for golfers, her appearance there serves no good purpose. Gretsky’s connection to these famous athletes are the nearest logical reason for her selection. But that would be giving Golf Digest too much credit.

First of all, there are dozens of female golf professionals who might have brought attention to golf and fitness more aptly than Gretsky. Secondly, Ms. Gretsky’s attire is nothing like the attire expected in golf, a sport that is still known for rules of etiquette, including certain standards for dress at most golf courses. Yes, golf is one of the last bastions for dress codes!

For women, that requires a collared shirt and a modest choice of bottoms—usually a pair of shorts or a skort that falls at or a few inches above the knee. Capris and slacks also work. That’s a far cry from what Ms. Gretsky wears in her cover photo.

These days, golf attire is equal to fitness attire. There is no reason for any woman to grace the cover of Golf Digest wearing anything else—unless the magazine was blatantly tantalizing its male subscribers. How sorry I am that they feel this way about their female subscribers—not to mention the legion of fabulously fit female golf pros. Any of those women would have been aspirational for both genders.

Sports media has long embraced soft porn as part of its brand message. Sports Illustrated started using women in swimsuits back in the 1950s, but started in earnest with a whole edition devoted to that in 1964. Obviously, it’s working for them. The shocking part is that a magazine like Golf Digest would decide to follow suit.

I adore these photos of vintage golf attire from an era when women golfers dressed even more modestly than we do today. I could still embrace these styles! What about you?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.