A man who goes golfing week after week in the same old brown shoes not only is sticking a wedge in the eye of fashion but may actually be hurting his game. That, at least, is the happy theory behind 1969's color-keyed coordinates. One designer says: "A golfer who looks the part gets a psychological lift that should cut strokes off his game." Amateur Peck Prior, the blue-toned gentleman chatting with Pro Marty Fleck-man and Gerry Rodehaver Jr. (left), agrees. Says Prior, "First I decide what shoes I am going to wear—and then I choose the rest of my outfit." Partner Rodehaver also concurs; he has 22 pairs of golf shoes in a range of colors to match his clothes and moods.
This status-shoe situation is coming on strong this season for a couple of reasons: 1) the shoes are a sartorial next step after patterned pants, which are now showing up on courses all around the country; and 2) jazzy shoes are now easier to maintain because of new advances in leather techniques, plus such man-made materials as Corfam. The new shoes all clean easily (one swipe with a clubhouse towel usually does the job). Golfer Prior currently keeps a dozen pairs of colored shoes stashed away in his lockers on both coasts, since he divides his work—and his game—between New York and Los Angeles. When he turns up with new golf togs he often sends a color swatch to Johnston & Murphy and they produce the shoes to match, such as the two-tone ones he wore at the Bob Hope Desert Classic (opposite page). Prior's custom-made shoes come at $75 a pair, although they can be had for considerably less—or more, depending upon one's financial mood.
The people who are stepping out with all these colored shoes say the boom is just getting under way. The Etonic division of the Charles A. Eaton Co. offered 11 different color combinations last year and this season are up to 24. Back in the dark old days of 1964 the division made just one two-toned shoe, and that model was basic black and white. Another manufacturer, Foot-Joy, in spite of the fact that it stands solid with leather ("If you've got it, you'll maintain it"), has tripled its production of colored golf shoes in the past three years. And most of the shoemakers agree that there is one more step still to come.
Since the latest trend in golf slacks is clearly to whites (such as those worn here by Rodehaver or a basic white overlaid with a plaid as worn by Fleckman), the shoes are sure to match the style. Prior put it simply enough: "I went over to pattern-and-white," he says, "because I was getting tired of solid-and-bright." And manufacturers agree. But more than that, white is the comer, says one golf-slacks specialist, because "chemical experiments and such technical advances as Dacron, Fortrel and permanent press make white as practical for the golfer as for anyone. The grass stains can come right off now, where the slacks used to be ruined or permanently stained." Thus traditional all-white shoes are still good, with such new touches as the buckles worn by Fleckman. And white-and-one-color combinations, as in Rodehaver's outfit, keep up the pace.
For a final touch, there are such little dandies as matching golf gloves, another traditional item staying up to date, and, who knows, next season maybe watchbands and belts. Remember: there is still no guarantee that coordinated pants and shoes and such things will improve your lie. But they sure can't hurt your stance.