As a group, professional golfers have always been a rather stylish crowd. There are not many sports where the ultimate prize for one of its major tournaments is a single-breasted, finely tailored green blazer.

Golf is a centuries-old sport, with a timeline of fashion styles to match. The garb, whatever the time period, has long sat at the intersection of function and style, with some eras featuring the more buttoned-up look of long-sleeved shirts and ties, to the current crop of professionals whose athleticism and fashion-forward approach are influencing styles.

Look to U.S. professional golfer Michelle Wie for a shift from more traditional looks to more body-conscious, “athleisure” style that is driving everyday fashion. Her short skort and sleeveless, collarless halter top from Nike during the HSBC Women’s Champions in March would probably not have passed muster in private clubs, and perhaps some public courses, as well. But it is moving the needle forward, just as haute couture collections eventually trickle down to the masses. The looks worn on the PGA tour eventually make their way to a golf course near you, with a bit less flair and a little less dare.

Even the footwear has changed, such as the hi-top golf shoes from Puma sported by U.S. golfer Rickie Fowler, and the sneaker-like shoes that began hitting the links in the last several years. Designers have borrowed from other sports, such as running, to provide better performance.

The tour drives the trends, says Helen Macmillan, the golf shop manager at the Pro Shop at Sterling Farms Golf Course, an 18-hole public golf facility in Stamford. Shorter skorts, more patterns and prints, bright colors and sleeveless shirts can be found on the racks for women, while bolder, even some neon colors peek out from the more-traditional garb in the men’s section.

Those are some of the trends that have been building in women’s and men’s golf wear, says Nancy Berkley, president of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based Berkley Golf Consulting Inc. She has covered fashion for womensgolf.com. Men and women are looking for greater sun protection with longer sleeves and material engineered to block the rays. Purple is in, and watch for prints to be popular. Most of the changes of the past several years have been in women’s fashion.

“All this is driving what the industry is calling a lifestyle approach to women’s clothing,” Berkley says. “You put it on in the morning, you go to the office with it … and you can wear the very same thing to the golf course.”

Macmillan agrees. “I tell people you don’t really need to be a golfer to come in here,” she says, holding a skirt with an attractive blue-and-green pattern that would be as welcome on the course as it is at a restaurant.

Clare Hare, of Darien, who runs a 15-year-old eponymous resort fashion line, concentrates on golf looks for women that feature strong colors, patterns and prints, but are more refined. She uses fine English and international textiles in timeless and classic patterns. Many of her customers are looking for cotton, rather than synthetic performance material, she says, which has become increasingly difficult to find.

“My whole niche from the beginning was to do all-cotton, nonperformance wear and use imported fabrics, including Liberty of London and others,” she says. Her pieces are sold at private and public clubs in Fairfield County, the Hamptons, N.Y., Martha’s Vineyard, the Midwest and Florida. She offers longer hems on her skorts, skirts and shorts, largely based on customer preference, but adhering as well to the regulations in effect at many private clubs.

“It is not just for golf … because it has more of a luxury look,” Hare says. “Athleisure is a huge trend in the clothing industry right now. You have people doing yoga or being active, and they are looking for what they can wear to the gym and wear through the day and not look like they just got out of the gym. I think my product has always been like that. You can wear it and easily transition into something else.”

If you are looking to stand out, however, one of the more rebellious brands is Loudmouth, a California golfwear company for men and women started by Scott “Woody” Woodworth in 2000. With its penchant for vibrant patterns, prints and colors, the line has attracted such celebrity followers as Alice Cooper, Bill Murray and Will Ferrell and some pro golfers, including John Daly.

Woodworth kept the construction simple, eschewing any “weird-fitting designs,” such as super-skinny pants, and let the colors, designs and fabric tell the story. One can find Kelly-green pants filled with shamrocks, bold red-white-and-blue stars and stripes, comic strip panels and a “shagadelic” ’70s print. Although the Loudmouth brand is not in many area stores, items can be ordered online.

Woodworth, who grew up on the East Coast, was inspired by wild plaids, stripes and patchwork madras donned by golfers in the 1970s, and the plaids and patterns of the late 1800s.

“I wanted to bring them back and put a twist on it,” he said in a recent phone interview.

chennessy@hearstmedia.com;

Twitter: @xtinahennessy