What to Wear When You Go Golfing
March 24, 2021
Working hard on your golf game is one thing, but looking like a total noob out on the course is another. Which is to say: you have to look the part.
But there’s no need to scramble across the internet looking for golf style advice. We’ve covered the basics for you. Check out our top do’s and don’ts for golf wear below!
Do: A Collared Polo Shirt
Out of all the tips you’ll find here, this one is the biggest no-brainer. Turn on the telecast for just about any golf tournament, and you’ll see that just about every player wears a shirt with a collar. Sure, some pros (remember this guy?) will opt for a mock turtleneck or collarless shirt, but if you’re reading this, I feel pretty confident in saying that you’re not a pro.
Some country clubs have strict dress codes both on the course and off. Most of the time, that code requires players to wear a collared shirt. Even if those rules are more relaxed on the course, they usually aren’t in the club. You don’t want to miss out on the 19th hole, do you?
This might be enough to convince you to wear a collar. But if you’re still leery about how a collared shirt will feel out on the course, remember that textiles have come a long way since the days of Arnold and Jack. Nowadays, brands make “polos” with top-of-the-line moisture-wicking material. That way, when you’re about to double-bogey for a third straight hole, at least you’ll feel cool.
Don’t: T-shirts with big branding
Even when Tiger ditches the collar, he isn’t exactly wearing a T-shirt. And he’s especially not wearing anything with big graphics, or branding that makes him look like a walking billboard.
When it comes to standing out on the course, let your color selection carry your outfit. A small logo here and there, or a subtly-placed graphic can be good. Something small on the left chest area is the traditional place to find embroidery on a golf shirt. Using a custom-made logo or a monogram of your initials here can look impressive.
If you want a bold look, go for vivid colors. However, you should keep in mind that some courses have restrictions on anything too garish.
Do: Shorts or Slacks
Pants: you can’t leave home without them. Okay, unless you’re donning a dress, skirt, or kilt. The point is, bottoms are a must, and the golf course is no different. Of course, you want to look neat, but without feeling restricted. Golf requires athleticism, after all!
That’s why both slacks and shorts are acceptable, so long as they look somewhat dressy. When choosing pants for the course, go with a pair that wouldn’t look out of place at a “dressy” occasion, but offers some stretch in the fit. This will keep your shirt from coming untucked every time you swing.
Just avoid pleats, which you should already be doing in all occasions. Also, white-colored pants are generally saved for the pros, and can be hard to keep clean, so maybe skip them if this is your first time on a course.
Don’t: Jeans (or other casual bottoms)
You can’t wear jeans golfing. There are a few reasons for this. The first is due to that pesky dress code. Many courses and country clubs want patrons to adhere to a certain style– one that denim doesn’t fit into. It would appear that attitudes about this are shifting, albeit slowly.
But there’s another very good reason you probably don’t want to play golf in jeans. If you’re wearing genuine denim, jeans offer very little in the way of flexibility. “Jeggings” and jeans made with elastic are significantly more flexible, but aren’t built with the motions of golf in mind.
What I’m saying is, don’t be the person that splits their pants.
And while they offer the most in comfort and flexibility, don’t show up in sweatpants or yoga pants, Baggy cargo shorts are out, too. If jeans won’t pass the dress code, these bottoms definitely won’t.
Don’t: Sneakers or Sandals
Playing real golf requires real shoes. This is not the mini putt putt on the boardwalk, so flip flops are out.
Other soft-soled shoes might be acceptable by dress code standards (and I mean might), but they aren’t going to do anything for your game. That’s because sneakers tend to slip on grass, especially if that grass is very short and well-manicured, as tends to be the case on golf courses.
If you’re going to truly drive through the ball, you need to be on solid footing. Soft-soled shoes will shift as you swing through with force, which can pull you off balance and send your shot into the rough (or beyond). If you’re new to the game, the last thing you want to do is hamper yourself with a poor choice in footwear.
Do: Golf Shoes
In order to give yourself the best chance to succeed, invest in a decent pair of golf shoes. They offer superior grip to the aforementioned shoes, giving you the solid foundation you need to compete.
There are three kinds of golf shoe:
-Those with steel spikes,
-Those with soft spikes, and
Metal-spiked shoes were the variety traditionally worn by golfers, but now most courses have banned this variety for the damage it causes to the course.
Plastic and other non-metal “soft” spikes are the go-to now. Some players feel that they don’t offer as much traction as metal spikes, but that matters little if this is your first time playing anyway.
Spikeless golf shoes have small rubber studs instead of spikes or a completely flat surface. This type of golf shoe is typically reserved for folks who feel excessive pressure from golf shoes with spikes. These shoes might be right for you if you’ve worn any type of cleat in the past and experienced significant foot pain while wearing them.
Do: A Belt
I can’t think of too many sports where a belt is a required part of the uniform. Baseball comes to mind, but that’s about it.
But a belt is pretty much a necessity on the golf course. One, because it makes your outfit neater looking. Two, because do you really want to think about your pants sagging during that $50 putt? I didn’t think so.
Despite the protestations of some, golf is indeed a sport. But that doesn’t give you carte blanche to show up in joggers and a hoodie.
And you’re wearing a belt anyway. You’re going to need belt loops on your slacks or shorts.
The only grey area with this “don’t” is if you’re wearing a skirt. You could make the argument that those count as “athleticwear,” and most of them don’t require belts.
Do: a Hat
As I said in our gift guide for golfers, the sun can be brutal on the course. If you’re not concerned about getting a sunburn (you should), the brightness and glare could throw you off your game.
Yes, sunglasses are an option, and do work wonders on the links. Some folks complain that it throws off their depth perception, however– something to consider before you make them your only option.
A hat won’t do that, but it will help keep the sun out of your eyes and off your skin. And while I understand you may not want to wear a literal baseball cap to the course, that style is the route to go if you want to look like you know what you’re doing out there.
Your hat doesn’t have to be plain, either. Get it custom embroidered with your initials or favorite number. Heck, you could even design your own Tiger Woods-esque logo.
Don’t: a Wide Brim Hat
This is the tell tale sign of a newbie. Look, they get the job done, but you’re not on safari.
Get something that makes you look ready for competition, like a baseball-style cap, or intimidates your opponents with its brashness, like a cowboy hat. Though honestly, if you’re not the type to wear a cowboy hat, your tee time is no opportunity to debut it.
There you have it: the golfwear essentials you need for your next (probably first) tee time. Now you can look like you know what you’re doing out there, even if you can’t break 100.
About the Author
Kyle Greco is the resident writer at RushOrderTees, where he blends word nerdery with his love for T-shirts. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, he is interested in exploring the intersection of clothing and culture. In his spare time, he makes music, builds guitars, and cooks with his wife. He enjoys hot dogs, sports, and collecting too many hats.