Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

The article below was written by Matt Coles of National Club Golfer.

How many clubs can I carry? Can I pick up and clean my ball? Can I tee my ball up anywhere? Here are some of the rules that beginner golfers have to know!

For golfers just starting out, learning the Rules of Golf can be just as difficult as consistently putting a clubhead on to the ball.

How many clubs can you carry? What happens when you lose your golf ball?

Hannah Holden took the time to explain some of the key rules, and why they’re so important for beginner golfers to get to grips with them.

You can watch the video below, or scroll on down to see a baker’s dozen of important rules and golf etiquette revealed…


The rules every beginner golfer needs to know

How many clubs am I allowed to carry?

Yes, there is a limit! You can only carry a maximum of 14 clubs. You can choose to carry less, but have any more than 14 in the bag and you’ll be getting a penalty.


Where and how do I start?

How do you start playing a hole? By playing a ball from anywhere inside the teeing area. A ball is classed as being in that area if any part of it touches or is above part of the teeing area.

You can use a tee, or you can play it from the ground, and you’re under way when you make a stroke to begin the hole.

This bit is important. A stroke is defined as the forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. So, even if you miss it entirely, it counts a stroke. Add one to your score.


Can I tee it up everywhere on the course?

No. The only time you can place the ball on a tee is when you are in the teeing area. Everywhere else on the golf course, the ball must normally be played as it lies – whether that is in the fairway, rough, bunker, or on the green.


I’ve lost my golf ball…

What if you can’t find your ball? Once a three minute search time has elapsed, you’ll have to take stroke-and-distance relief. That means going back to where you played your previous shot and hitting another ball.

For instance, you’ve hit your drive offline and you can’t find your ball in the rough. If you haven’t already played a provisional ball, you would have to go back to the teeing area and put another ball into play.

This is now your third shot, as you’ve hit off the tee, incurred a penalty stroke for taking stroke-and-distance relief, and have played from the tee once more.


Where does my golf bag go?

You have made it on to the green, but does your golf bag come with you? We don’t want to put it in the way, or too far out of the way so we are slowing down golfers behind.

If you can, always try and put your golf bag between the flag and the next tee, so it is on your way as you leave the putting surface. Just make sure your bag never goes on the green!


How do I know whose turn it is?

Ah, the honour. Traditionally, the person with the lowest gross score on the previous hole is the first player to tee off.

As the hole develops, the player who is furthest from the hole usually players first. Many golfers, though, adopt a mantra of ‘ready golf’.

If someone else in the group is ready, and it is safe to play, they can hit their shot to keep the game moving.


My ball has made a pitch mark on the green – what now?

The greens are usually the most receptive bits of turf on the golf course. These can also mean a golf ball coming from a high trajectory can cause marks and indentations in the ground.

If you get to the green and find your ball has done this then it is correct etiquette repair it. Normally you’ll use a pitch mark repairer but you can also use a tee.

This is done to make sure the green is in as good a shape as possible for the next group, and there are no big indentations after you’ve finished the hole that can damage the putting surface if left unattended.


Can I clean my ball when it’s on the green?

Yes, you are allowed to mark your ball and clean it before putting. You can place your ball marker behind the ball, you can use a tee if you wish, and you can then lift the ball.

When you’re done, place the ball back on the same spot, remove the marker, and away you go!


Can I move the flag?

When you are on the green, does the flagstick have to stay in the hole?

This is entirely your choice. You can putt with the flag in. You can also remove it. If you’re a long way from the hole, you can ask a playing partner to ‘attend the flag’.

This means they hold the flagstick until the ball gets closer to the hole, and then remove it. If the ball hits the flagstick, or the person attending it, a penalty will ensue if that was done deliberately.


I’m on the green, but the wrong one…

This happens more than you might think! You’re not allowed to play from a wrong green and must take relief.

You need to find the nearest point of complete relief from interference from the wrong green – that includes stance and area of intended swing – it that can be no nearer the hole you are playing.

You drop the ball, from knee height, into a one-club relief area.


How many can we have in a group?

Most clubs will only allow a maximum of four people in a group. If you are in a fourball and there are ones and twos behind, the Rules say players are encouraged to allow faster groups to play through. Step to the side and wave them on.

Posted by & filed under Majors.

The article below was written by Steve Carroll of National Club Golfer.

The age at which past champions can play at The Open has been altered by the R&A, while there was no good news for LIV players as exemption changes were announced.

When you pick up the Claret Jug, you get more than just golf’s most distinctive trophy. You get to come back and play The Open as a past champion for decades to come.

Who can forget those memorable moments on the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrews as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson said goodbye to the game’s oldest major?

But from this year’s event at Royal Troon, the R&A have changed the Champions’ exemption category. From now on, players who win The Open will only be exempt until they are 55.

Past champions have previously been able to play until they are 60 and those currently exempt under that arrangement will continue to do so.

Whoever wins on the Ayrshire coast this time around, though, will get five years less than Brian Harman, who tamed the weather and Royal Liverpool last summer.


Open champions exemption changes: How does The Open compare with other majors – and what about LIV?

The Masters gives former winners lifetime invitations to the opening major of the year, while all former winners of the PGA Championship can compete. The US Open is the most stringent, with winners’ exemptions expiring after 10 years.

While LIV golfers may be clamouring for major invites, the R&A have announced no explicit changes that would benefit the breakaway Saudi tour.

There were reports last autumn the league had been in talks with the governing body about the prospects of places in the field – with The Telegraph writing they had asked for 12 spots.

But a new exemption will offer players competing on the Asian Tour, the Japan Golf Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour the opportunity to qualify through the International Federation Ranking list.

The leading five golfers as of the closing date of entries will be awarded places in The Open. With LIV golfers frequently taking up Asian Tour spots in a bid to gain world ranking points, that may offer another route for those seeking to avoid a trip to qualifying. Andy Ogletree is second on that list.

An exemption for the Africa Amateur Champion has also been added. It will be taken up this year by Altin van der Merwe after his victory in the inaugural championship at Leopard Creek.

The R&A have also confirmed Michael Hendry has been granted a medical exemption to play at Royal Troon. He had been unable to play at Hoylake because of serious illness.

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The article below was written by Matt Chivers of National Club Golfer.

Rory McIlroy’s live reaction to the news of the PGA Tour’s merger with the Public Investment Fund was caught by the Netflix Full Swing cameras.

“F*** it, do what you want to do” were the words of Rory McIlroy after discovering the PGA Tour’s agreement with the Public Investment Fund.

McIlroy’s rage at the tour’s stunning new alliance with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund that bankrolls LIV Golf was made clear in season two of Netflix’s Full Swing.

Despite months of hostility between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the leaders of these entities revealed a framework agreement which is yet to be fully solidified.

“There is a palpable vibe of confusion and anger because we have very little information right now apart from basically, entered into an agreement, don’t know what that agreement’s going to involve,” McIlroy said.

“What happened?” McIlroy added in the next scene. “How did you get from not knowing this guy, not meeting this guy to signing what is probably the biggest deal in the history of professional golf?

“You get dragged into these things from time to time and I’ve been dragged in in a big way, but I’m almost at the point of, ‘F*** it, do what you want to do’.

“It was all sprung in us so quickly. Everyone was blindsided by it. I think that created a lot of anger and confusion amongst the tour membership.

“Jay realised pretty quickly that the rollout of it could’ve been handled better.”


Rory McIlroy: Netflix cameras catch PGA Tour star in fury

The news was revealed ahead of the 2023 RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour where commissioner Jay Monahan also addressed the players in a meeting to which the Netflix cameras were not privy to.

Episode two also shows the stunned reactions of major champions Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa. The docu-series, which was first released in 2023, shows the tour’s membership was left in the dark about negotiations with the PIF, which was the main frustration that was reported from Monahan’s initial meeting with the players at the time.

In the ensuing press conference at the tournament, McIlroy maintained that he “hated” LIV Golf and he expected it to go away, however, he described himself as a “sacrificial lamb” too.

Since LIV Golf’s inception in June 2022, the Northern Irishman had been the PGA Tour’s loudest vocal supporter and played a key role in devising the revamped PGA Tour schedules in 2023 and 2024 in his role on the Policy Board.

The PGA Tour has introduced a series of eight Signature Events in 2024 with each event featuring a $20 million purse. The tour’s recent $3 billion deal signed with Strategic Sports Group has made the circuit’s desire to financially combat LIV Golf even starker, while also throwing the progress of talks with the PIF into doubt.

In the new season of the Netflix show, McIlroy said he was closer to Monahan than any other player on the PGA Tour.

But at the end of last year, McIlroy stepped away from the Policy Board in an effort to focus on his career, as his confidant Tiger Woods stepped into his shoes at the end of last summer as a player director.

Posted by & filed under Debates.

The article below was written by Steve Carroll of National Club Golfer.

With drivers upwards of £500 and iron sets passing £1,000, the price of new equipment is a constant debate for club golfers. On The NCG Golf Podcast, Hannah Holden put the figures into context.

New drivers, irons, putters: the big equipment brands are launching their latest products in droves and the prices may not be for the faint-hearted.

It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, £500 is a chunk of change for a new driver and a through-the-bag set will now likely run to thousands.

What goes into the pricing? Is it all about profit or is the technology, research, and effort that goes into making new clubs worthy of our investment?

On a recent episode of The NCG Golf Podcast, Hannah Holden was asked the $64,000 question that all club golfers have about new gear.

Why does it cost so much?


“Price points are really interesting because, obviously, you pick up a driver for £500 and that is a lot of money,” she said. “It is an expensive product.

“But I’ve also been in the R&D facilities and the manufacturing facilities where they make this stuff and there is seriously expensive kit in there and a lot of technology going into making these clubs.

“I don’t think they are overpriced but that doesn’t mean they’re not expensive. I think it’s quite a hard debate. Manufacturers are spending millions of pounds just on machinery to build stuff, never mind the costs and spending on developing new technologies.”

With most modern drivers looking to the untrained eye like a hollowed-out shell, compared with the more solid structures in the past, Hannah was also asked to explain the technology that went into making a new driver and whether that contributed to rising costs.


Golf equipment costs: ‘Get rid of the equipment rules for amateurs’

Hannah added: “It’d be a lot cheaper to just get a block of wood and cut it into the shape of a driver. It’s tough to get your head around because there is less there but that’s a lot harder to build.

“With TaylorMade’s driver this year (Qi10), the full face is carbon, the full top line and the crown is carbon. Some of the intricacies and the cost of that is being able to manufacture it – to get it to fit together – with so few materials.

“The problem with the solid block of wood idea is that you’ve got a lot of weight in places where you don’t want it. So much of driver performance is about centre of gravity relative to loft.

“Say you need to hit it higher, you’ve got to have the centre of gravity low. With a block of woods, there is loads of weight high up in the head. It’s giving you a lot more spin and you’re hitting the ball lower.

“Think of the old hickory, it’s a lot harder to flight it and most people need the weight low and back. To get forgiveness, you also need weight on the perimeters, which doesn’t help with speed at all. It’s completely counterintuitive.

“Once you’ve got the weight where you need it, you’ve got to change the whole shaping to be able to swing it at a speed that allows you to get some distance.

“There are so many trade-offs to balance in the clubhead when you try to make that balance between speed and forgiveness but you’re having to do so much in terms of shaving material.

“A lot of the research and development and the cost ends up being in researching materials. I keep using TaylorMade as an example but they spent 20 years trying with carbon to get the face to work so it’s lighter and they’re saving weight there.

“That’s 20 years of cost to put into one driver, and then someone’s annoyed because it’s £30 more. What was funding that 20 years’ of research?”

Asked to explain the steep rise in prices in recent years, outside of inflation and the cost-of-living, with some clubs having near doubled over the past decade, Hannah said it was partly the cost of innovation.

“It gets harder for manufacturers to make the products better because of legal limits and rules which are forcing what they can do.

“They’ve got to look at more complicated ways to get around the rules that are in place and limiting things. You have to go for more expensive materials, and different things like that, which then drives the price up.

“Maybe you should be saying to the R&A, ‘we’ll get rid of the equipment rules for amateurs’. We can have cheaper solutions to make our drivers perform better and maybe that will drive the prices down.”

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Eighteen holes of golf will always throw up various different tests and situations. The ability to play different golf shot shapes—from tucked away pins to simply finding the middle of the green—is a huge benefit.

In this guide, we speak to PGA Pro Barney Puttick about some of the most common golf shot shapes and how best to play them.

We’ve broken it down into the four golf shot shapes you’re most likely to find on the course and how you can practise each one.


What are the most common golf shot shapes?

golf shot shapes


Table of contents

1. The Low Shot
2. The High Shot
3. The Fade
4. The Draw


1. The Low Shot

golf shot shapes

Barney says…

What I get my students to do is narrow their stance and then move the ball back towards the middle of the stance.

I think the best way to learn how to hit it ‘low’ is to get a 7 or 8-iron and start with 30-yard chip shots. That way, you’ll start to get the feeling of keeping your hands in front, but you’ll also be practising hip rotation to get the right synchronisation.  

A common mistake golfers often make is they stick their hands just in front and then just prod them forward without any lower half movement. So, instead, try playing a chip and then expand it to 60-70 yards. The art for me, then, is truncating the swing on either side of the ball, so you go chest-high to chest-high, and because you have the slightly narrower stance and the ball positioned a bit further back, you can retain the angle through the impact zone. Then, you get that nice trapping sort of shot, and it takes off from there.

If you rehearse a few throwing movements, that will start to give you the synchronisation with the lower half. An underarm or side throw, similar to throwing a cricket ball or playing a forehand shot in tennis, for example, is good for understanding the feeling of movement in the hips.


2. The High Shot

golf shot shapes

Barney says…

Most golfers don’t struggle too much with getting the ball up as their angle of attack is quite steep. Here, it’s all about moving the ball further forward in the stance—normally, with a 6-iron, you’d be halfway between the left heel and middle of the stance—almost where you would normally put your driver. The theory, then, is that you’ll increase your hand action and start to get that desired elevation. 

You’ll be more level with the ball rather than in front of it this time, and that’s what starts to pop it up. Obviously, you don’t want to flick it, but I’ve always told golfers to start clipping a few balls with their feet together because that helps to accentuate the swing path, and you can really start to feel your hands releasing.

With your feet together, you have to release your hands so that when you put the ball forward in the stance, you can retain the same feeling in your hand action. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll start to see a positive release.

To encourage a steeper takeaway, I usually start with something simple. I get golfers to hold their left hand where it would be at set-up, then take their right hand away as though they’re making a swing, and clap the left.  It’s quite interesting to watch, as no one ever whips their right hand inside—instead, they’ll always take it back on a normal path, so I think that’s good.  

Another method is using a medicine ball or a weight. I get golfers to take their normal posture and make a move away to simulate a throw. Body logic often takes over here, and you can see that with a weight, you’d never whip your arms across your body because it wouldn’t make for an efficient movement. Essentially, you are trying to make it so that it’s less of a fight to get it back on plane. 

I may also get golfers to put the club in the perfect position, halfway back, and make a turn from there before swinging through. Nine times out of ten, most of the damage is done by waist-high.


3. The Fade

golf shot shapes

Barney says…

I’m a bit ‘old school’. I always work in impact factors, so I’ll get golfers into good impact positions—i.e. hips cleared, hands forward, and do the drills to help with that.

I’ve worked with many good golfers, trying to get them to hold off shots with some fade to stop them from dropping it back on the inside. They’ve often ended up with a pretty straight shot with nothing on it.

Fade shots are very different now compared to 30-40 years ago. They’re often a safety thing, and if a good player loses five yards, who cares? If you’re talking about a deliberate fade, I’d aim the body where you want the ball to start and put the clubface down in line with the target.

Obviously, better golfers will feel it a little more in the downswing.  If you were to stand behind Max Homa, for example, he wouldn’t appear to be aiming that far left—certainly not like back in the day with Lee Trevino or Colin Montgomerie (Monty)—it’s very minute.  

Monty would often take out one side of the course. He knew there was never a danger of him losing it left, and I’ve seen him on right-to-left holes just plonking it over the corner, hitting it to where someone else would have just started it right and drawn it back in.  

The stock shot is an underrated one. People talk about Tiger hitting nine different golf shot shapes, but for most people, that’s the worst thing they could do. Golf is tough enough to be learning one shot never mind nine. With Monty, it was all about hitting this shot under pressure, and it was a nice, simple thing to go back to. And, of course, he was blessed with unbelievable rhythm—he didn’t look any different from the range to the practice ground.  

When people marvel at somebody getting over 60% accuracy with a driver on tour, it’s easy to forget that Monty was often in the high 70s and even 80s. He was repeatedly playing from the short stuff, and that is huge.


4. The Draw

Barney says…

The big thing for me here is making sure you get the club back on plane. In an attempt to hit a draw shot, people often end up whipping the club too far on the inside, thinking they’ve got to get around the body—but, of course, there’s no room for the club to shallow out on the way down.  

So, step one of hitting a draw is to make sure you’re coiling on plane, because it’s easy to get too tight to the body, and leave yourself nowhere else to go but over the top. 

Let’s use tennis theory—if you really want to draw it, hit it like a top hand. Then, pull your right foot back and hit it.

Golfers always want to swing around their feet. That’s always the ‘conundrum’, but they can see that even if they start to make a forehand move, like a top-spin, it comes inside but not right around. There is some shape for that shallowing movement to make.

The number one error I find with golfers trying to draw it is they aim too far right and get flatter and flatter on the backswing. Then, they wonder why they’ve ended up with a ‘low blocky’ one because they’ve got to come over the top on the way down.


About Barney Puttick

Barney turned professional in 1979 and worked under Ian Connelly, best known as Sir Nick Faldo’s original coach. He was once tied for third with Greg Norman in a 36-hole tournament in Cannes, behind Corey Pavin.

He has been the head professional at Mid Herts GC since 2000, and is a Golf Monthly Top 50 coach. He was recently made an Honorary Member of Hertfordshire Golf.

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

Although some golfers play throughout winter, spring is often a time when many come out of ‘hibernation’, and golf courses gradually start getting busier again.

However, don’t be fooled by the springtime sun—it’s likely to still be quite chilly out there on the greens, so now is the perfect time to invest in a new golf jumper.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the best golf jumpers currently on the market—and these days, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Whether it be lambswool, merino, a quarter-zip, half-zip, mid-layer, or fleece, the beauty of modern golf jumpers (especially the best golf jumpers) is that they’re constructed with technologically advanced fabrics to ensure they’re stretchy, warm, water-repellent, and durable.

Put simply, a good golf jumper is an essential piece of golf clothing. So, which one will you choose? Let’s take a closer look at some of the best golf jumpers on the market.


The best golf jumpers (2024)


FootJoy Chill-Out Xtreme Pullover

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Fleece lining
  • Heat retention
  • Easy-care fabric

Nothing quite beats the feel of a soft fleece on a cold day, especially when the wind is whipping across the fairways—and this is one of the best golf jumpers for just that.

As well as a fleece lining that offers body heat retention, this performance sweater allows plenty of movement throughout the golf swing. Meanwhile, engineered woven panels on the chest and rear yoke provide further abrasion protection.


Ping Nordic Half-Zip Fleece

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Water-resistant
  • Made from 100% polyester
  • Lightweight

The Ping Nordic Half-Zip is another excellent choice when the courses are chilly. What’s great about this golf jumper is that it keeps you warm while not hampering your swing at all.

Ping stretch binding at the hem and cuffs ensures maximum comfort, while the grid fabric is nice and lightweight, so the jumper doesn’t feel too heavy or restrictive on the upper body.

The stylish look and feel make this jumper suitable for the course and clubhouse.


Under Armour Storm Evolution Daytona Half-Zip Pullover

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Loose fit
  • Breathable insulation
  • Repels water

A jumper that repels water is worth its weight in gold, especially with the changeable weather that comes with spring in the UK.

But this jumper is a match for any April shower, cleverly adapting to whatever the weather’s doing—ensuring you keep warm on colder days while allowing excess heat to escape when it gets warmer.

Designed with a slick, contemporary style, it’s wonderfully light, breathable, and looks great off the course.


Galvin Green Dwight Pullover

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • INSULA technology
  • Stretchy fit
  • Maximum breathability

This half-zip golf jumper from Galvin Green features INSULA technology, meaning the fabric has built-in air chambers, warmed by your body heat to provide effective and long-lasting thermal insulation.

The soft, stretchy material fits to your upper body shape for enhanced comfort, and the chest pocket is ideal for your phone or scorecard. Galvin Green branding on the pocket adds a touch of extra style.


Sunderland Aspen Mid-Layer

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Adjustable drawcord
  • Teflon-coated finish
  • Lightweight

The Sunderland Aspen Mid Layer is one of the most premium and professional-looking golf jumpers you’ll find. It provides plenty of warmth without compromising any breathability.

Coated in a Teflon finish, the jumper is weatherproof, so it’s a good one to have in your golf wardrobe all-year-round, not just for the spring.

Some really smart colours are available in the range, but the blue/black (pictured) gets the nod from us. It’ll certainly help inject a bit of colour into your playing attire!


Stuburt Enhance Half-Zip Fleece

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • DRI-back moisture transfer technology
  • Waist pockets
  • Elasticated drawstring at hem

This highly versatile and stylish golf jumper can be worn as an outer layer or even as a mid-layer when it’s especially cold.

It’s made from a breathable, soft, stretchy fabric to aid your swing movement, while the soft brushed material on the inside helps you retain body heat.

DRI-back moisture technology helps regulate your body temperature further while also repelling water if you’re caught in a shower.


Mizuno Windproof Lined Sweater

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Lined detailing on the waistband, neck and cuffs
  • Regular fit
  • Lightweight

Sometimes, a classic is best. This quarter-zip jumper may be from Mizumo’s AW20 range, but it still strikes a chord today.

This timeless piece has you well covered, offering protection against the wind and plenty of warmth when the temperature drops.

Lined detailing on the waistband, neck and cuffs adds a touch of class to the overall look and feel, making this jumper just as smart off the course as it is on it.


Callaway Full-Zip Waffle Jacket

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Opti-Dri moisture moving technology
  • 95% polyester / 5% spandex
  • Stretch fabric

It might be referred to as a jacket, but the soft fleece material here really makes this more of a jumper.

Let’s call it a hybrid—either way, Callaway’s Opti-Dri moisture moving technology draws moisture away from your body, meaning you stay comfortable and dry, while the stretch fabric ensures your freedom of movement in the swing.

It’s lightweight, trendy, and a favourite amongst many of Callaway’s Tour players—and it’s not hard to see why!


Glenmuir Lomond V-Neck Lambswool Golf Sweater

Key features

  • Glenmuir signature performance finish
  • 100% lambswool
  • Elastic shape retention

We think every golfer should own a premium quality knitted garment. And if you’re only going to have one, you can’t go too far wrong with a Glenmuir Lomond V-neck.

This stylish golf jumper combines tasteful modern design with premium quality, inspired by Glenmuir’s rich legacy. Made from 100% premium lambswool, it provides maximum comfort and freedom of movement.

And with plenty of colours to choose from in the range, why not choose a couple to mix things up?!


adidas Core Heather Quarter-Zip Sweater

Key features

  • 100% recycled polyester
  • UPF 50+ protection
  • Moisture-wicking properties

Part of the adidas Golf ‘Tour’ clothing range, this jumper features a fleece fabric for extra warmth and a moisture-wicking finish for comfort.

The stand collar, heather detail, and adidas logo on the left chest really add to the style, but it’s the sporty look that makes this golf jumper such a popular choice among Tour pros.

What’s more—it’s also got a UPF 50+ Protection rating: the maximum sun protective rating achievable for fabrics.


Oscar Jacobson Loke Quarter-Zip Sweater

Key features

  • Innovative cut lines
  • Stretch fabric
  • Warmth-locking

This modern and versatile golf jumper is the perfect mid-layer choice, and because of its full-stretch technical fabric, it won’t bulk up if you need to wear it underneath a waterproof jacket—win-win!

It’s easy to put on and take off, with soft, secure cuffs and hems aiding the overall fitted feel.

A colour-contrast Oscar Jacobson logo on the right shoulder helps finish the style nicely.