Growing up, Bill Murray and his five brothers (Ed, Brian, John, Joel and Andy) worked as caddies at Indian Hill Country Club in Winnetka, Ill. They gained more from the experience than crumpled cash.
Ed Murray won a Chick Evans scholarship to Northwestern University. Brian Doyle-Murray drew on his caddying for “Caddyshack,” of which he was a writer. John Murray had a cameo in the film, while Bill Murray starred as the deranged groundskeeper Carl Spackler, forever injecting his goofball, anarchic spirit into a game traditionally associated with corporate strivers and conservative Rotarians. Andy Murray, now a chef, was, like his brothers, inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame.
Last fall, the Murray brothers, who host a yearly charity tournament in St. Augustine, Fla., near the World Golf Hall of Fame, deepened their ties with the sport by introducing a golf apparel line. Its name, William Murray Golf, carries a stodgy whiff of Judge Elihu Smails (another character from the movie), though the marketing copy says the clothes are meant to “introduce casual irreverence” to the links.
You may have seen Bill Murray wearing one of the designs at the World Series last year: a short-sleeve polo with a print featuring tiny highball glasses, some of them tipped over.
The line, sold in partnership with theChive.com, has recently released its spring collection. Polos in tropical flower patterns and baggy shorts of aqua camo hark back to the 1970s, not only in their loud patterns and colors but also in the combustible material — 92 percent polyester. Not since Jack Nicklaus ambled down the fairway in plaid Sansabelt trousers has golf wear looked this wonderfully gauche.
Joel Murray, who, in addition to being an actor (he appeared in “Mad Men”), is the chief executive for Murray Brothers Golf, said the clothes are intended to inject liveliness into the sport.
“You look at the golf world right now, it’s just not that cool,” he said. “I’ve got boys that are 26, 25, and they’re not into golf like we were growing up. They think it takes too long.”
To design the clothes, the Murray brothers traveled to the Chive offices in Austin, Texas, and shared stories about their days as loopers. The anecdotes are translated by William Murray Golf employees into concepts that the brothers refine — say, switching a print’s miniature golf carts to Eisenhower-era ones.
Bill Murray came up with the line’s best seller, the shirt with the highball glasses.
“He said: ‘What if some of the drinks are spilled? Sometimes drinks spill,’” Joel Murray said. “We try to put a little whimsy and cleverness into it, and Bill is good at that.”
As Bill Murray revealed in his 1999 book, “Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf,” there are advantages to dressing a little outrageously on the course. In explaining his wardrobe choices when he played the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament, he wrote: “Today’s palette is central coast chameleon, nothing that would flush the fauna from the flora. Save the fine vines for later in the week, when they can serve to distract the gallery from my golf game.”
The brothers plan to introduce two collections a year and eventually expand into light jackets, blazers and pants. They are sticklers about the details, Joel Murray said, recalling how shorts were sent back for a redesign after they discovered the pockets were too shallow.
“Deep pockets, that’s just something you need when you golf,” Joel Murray said. “You want your balls to stay in your pocket — you don’t want things falling out the side.”