Lyle and Scott Golf Clothes: New Life for a Storied Brand
I’ll be honest, when I was first approached about covering Lyle and Scott apparel – I wasn’t familiar with the UK brand.
There are a lot of brands that play up their heritage and historic pedigree. For instance, Gap has 1969 emblazoned on a lot of its apparel. 1972 for Nike.
Well, they’ve got nothing on Lyle and Scott.
That’s right, Lyle and Scott has been around since 1874 – that’s a long time.
So why have I never heard of them?
Well first off, they’re a UK brand and they’ve only just recently started making a push into the United States.
Second, it’s been a few decades since they’ve catered to the golf market.
Back in the 1950s, Lyle and Scott was actually one of the major players in golf apparel. They were well known for their industry-disrupting patterns and prints, as well as their high-quality materials.
Over the years greats like Nicklaus, Norman, Jacklin and even Lee Westwood sported Lyle and Scott apparel.
But as time went on, they shifted their focus away from golf.
So the question becomes, with their newfound foray into the world of golf apparel, are the clothes any good? Who’s the target market for Lyle and Scott – and what makes them more appealing than other established brands?
Let’s find out.
First Impressions of Lyle and Scott
I honestly wasn’t totally sure what to expect before receiving a nice horde of Lyle and Scott golf apparel to check out.
It’s a 148-year-old brand whose strongest golf ties came at least 3 decades ago.
For a brand like Jones Golf Bags, you can play up that vintage, “what’s-old-is-cool-again” vibe.
But does it work with apparel? And a better question: is that what they’re even trying to do?
Before opening my package and going deep into their 2022 Spring/Summer line, I was expecting it to be old school.
I figured they’d be competing with the old guard Peter Millars of the world and targeting my grandparents, or at the very least my parents, with their clothing,
But after one look at their website, those notions were quickly dispelled.
All you have to do is take one look at their home page, and you see a very wide target market:
This was confirmed when I received my package.
The oversized, boxy clothes I was expecting were nowhere to be found.
What I received were some very well-made golf clothes, with more of a tailored fit than I’d been anticipating. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, they are European after all.
You can tell Lyle and Scott is an established, mid to high-end brand simply by the presentation of their packaging. Despite not being in golf for a long time, they’ve clearly built quite a business for themselves outside of golf in the UK.
The hangtags and everything about the presentation of their clothes is very nicely done.
But the important question remains how do the clothes look and perform? And who should be buying them?
Who is Lyle and Scott For?
Before I get into the specifics of the clothes, I want to address an important question a little bit further:
Who is Lyle and Scott for?
As I said, I expected it to be targeted at an older demographic, but their branding and fit suggests otherwise.
It seems like they’ve cast a wide net in the US market, which may or may not work out well for them.
My impression is they’re going after the middle-aged market (think 30-60) who wants something different from their friends, that is also very high quality.
But this is where my one major issue with Lyle and Scott lies. It’s a bit of a generational thing, but I know I won’t be the only one who has this concern.
The golden eagle.
The golden eagle is their iconic brand emblem, that was prominently emblazoned across each of the half dozen or so pieces of apparel I’ve tried out.
On its own, it’s a nice logo! And I bet they’ve been using it for decades.
But you know who also uses a prominently displayed bird of a very similar ilk?
Yes, that fast-fashion brand that nearly every middle-class teenager wore in the 90s and early 2000s.
I’ve had no less than 4 people come up to me while wearing Lyle and Scott say something like “So, American Eagle makes golf clothes now?”
This isn’t a knock on the quality of their clothes, as you’ll see, they’ve got some wonderful pieces.
But there’s certainly a demographic that will have flashbacks of their adolescence, rather than of a European fashion brand.
But if you can get past that? You’ll be treated to some very nice pieces from an apparel company with a lot to offer.
Lyle and Scott Airlight Golf Shorts
Let’s start off with one of my favorite garments from their current collection: the Airlight golf shorts.
Honestly? I love these shorts.
They’re made of a technical wicking material that I’ve really enjoyed. They were very comfortable when for a round on a hot Mexico day at Quivira.
They remind me of a slightly more formal version of Redvanly’s Hanover short. The inseam is a little bit longer, and the double button on the outside and inside of the waistband harkens back to more traditional golf pants.
Otherwise, everything else about these shorts feels modern. They’re comfortable, they perform, and the silicone-lined waistband is probably my favorite feature you can have in golf pants these days. Nothing worse than a shirt that’s just a little on the short side, and pants that don’t help it to stay tucked in.
That’s not an issue here.
Lyle and Scott Merino Mix Quarter-Zip
It’s funny, despite the American Eagle reference I made above (which I’ll be honest, is a little bit of an issue for me personally), I’ve found myself reaching for my Lyle and Scott pieces more often than I expected.
And the Merino Mix 1/4 zip is the item I wear most.
I’ve had a few wool sweaters that honestly feel too delicate to wear very often.
Stains, rips, tears, moth holes – you name it. It seems like the softer and more expensive my merino sweaters are, the more likely they are to get ruined quickly.
Now I’m not saying this Merino Mix sweater is immune to moth holes, but I think it’s the perfect blend of comfortable style and durability.
It’s not quite as thin and not quite as soft as pieces I’ve had from Bradley Allen or Peter Millar – but I’m willing to bet you this one lasts a lot longer.
The fit is very good. Although as with just about any brand, I wouldn’t be mad if they added an extra 3/4 inch to the length to accommodate my long torso – but that’s a “me” issue – not a product fault.
However, it’s still very comfortable and does fit well.
The sweater has been just as nice during a chilly morning round of golf, as it has been out to a nice restaurant in the evening.
Golf Gilet (aka Vest)
It may be the classless American in me, but apparently, a “gilet” is a vest? Who knew.
And it just so happens that this particular gilet is another favorite of mine in the Lyle and Scott lineup.
It fits well, and the Primaloft insulation is very comfortable and warm.
My black vest works great with any golf polo, and the stretch material they’ve added to each side makes it a breeze to wear while swinging a golf club.
Lyle and Scott Golf Polos
Finally, I have a couple Lyle and Scott polos, which I’ve found to be well-made, solidly performing shirts.
I found the medium to be just a little bit on the smaller side for me, so I’ll likely go with a large next time. Gotta love that time in life when you hit middle age and you find yourself solidly in between sizes…
With the polos, there’s not a whole lot to say. They’re nice-looking, well-executed golf polos.
So if you’re a fan of their designs, then they are absolutely worth giving a shot.
Final Thoughts on Lyle and Scott
Overall, I’m actually quite impressed with Lyle and Scott’s recent foray into the world of golf.
With their success outside of golf, I think they’ll have the resources to really make a splash in golf, if that’s something they decide is important.
I’m curious to follow along and see how they evolve.
The quality and history is there, but I’m still left a little confused by who they’re targeting. Is it an older crowd that still wants a well-tailored piece of apparel (with some ties back to the history of the sport?)
Or is it the younger, hipper golfer who is trying to do something different than everyone else?
I think there’s a market either way, but in order to succeed, narrowing down their ideal customer is going to be a key part of their success.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue enjoying the wonderful golf shorts and layering pieces, while educating my friends about an eagle that long predates the one they’re thinking of.