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March 07, 2002

Young Chang

NEWPORT BEACH -- A quick scan of the Newport Beach Country Club turned

up tans and canary yellows, baby blues and navies, murky browns and even

dreary grays.

But competitors at the eighth annual Toshiba Senior Classic on

Wednesday neglected to flaunt the pinks and limes.

Stripes were ousted by solids, while polka dots were rejected for the

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chevron stitch.

And whatever happened to plaids?

Golf-fashion mavens in Newport-Mesa say they've gone to the women, as

men's golf wear has calmed in colors and prints of late.

"The men are now wearing much more neutral colors, and I feel that

they're doing it because the women are so much more fashion forward on

the course now," said Karen Cantrell, president and chief executive of

Lady Golf Inc. in Newport Beach. "The roles have actually reversed."

But the dash in men's fashions isn't completely lost. The flamboyance

-- the extravagance and color and quirky designs -- now lies in the

fabrics, the sides of shoes, the insides of collars and the accessories.

"Golf wear was very wild," Cantrell said. "It was very bizarre in the

'20s and '30s. . . . But it's really advanced now, and with the new

technology and the new fabrics it's really come a long way."

The most popular brand in America for men and women is Astra Classic,

Cantrell said. The company manufactures clothes with an SPF protection of

60 woven into the threads.

The European brand Masters, comparable in price to Escada, is known to

use antibacterial agents in fabrics to make sweat evaporate in 60

seconds.

Makers of golf bags are playing with how light they can go, with some

of them weighing as little as 2 1/2 pounds.

"People like to carry them around now and walk more courses," said Jim

Pooler, owner of Cal's Caddyshack in Costa Mesa. "They're a little bit

more fitness-oriented."

When it comes to gloves, a style called Evertan allows you to tan

through the glove so you don't have to choose between calloused hands and

an even arm.

"I think they've become much more sophisticated," said Linda Beale,

chief executive of Newport Beach's At Ease sportswear retailer, of golf

fashions.

Don Kennedy, an Orange County golf celebrity in his own right who's

been playing for 70 years, sported a conservative but chic look on the

Toshiba greens Wednesday in a navy button-down vest, a pale yellow shirt,

beige pants and sharp brown and white shoes.

"After I got out of college, I did wear plaid," said the 83-year-old

Kennedy. "But it's too much work to do that."

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