Golf Dress Code: What to Wear on the Course

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Key Takeaways

  • Collared shirts are required for both men and women. Golf shirts are typically longer than polo shirts to stay tucked in. Avoid patterns that are too loud or flashy.
  • Chino pants or golf shorts are the most appropriate choice for bottoms. Avoid jeans, denim shorts, and three-quarter shorts. Women may also wear skirts or skorts.
  • If you are playing on a cool or cold day, layer up with a sweater, windbreaker, and/or fleece vest or jacket. You may also want to wear a cap and scarf.
  • Golf shoes with soft spikes are required by most clubs. If you do not have golf shoes, a good pair of sneakers will suffice.
  • Golf gloves, sunglasses, and hats are all permitted on most golf courses.
  • Avoid wearing anything too revealing or too casual.
  • Make sure your clothes are clean and in good condition.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Be respectful of the other players and the golf course staff.

Golf has long been associated with royalty and sophistication. That is one of the reasons why, even in today’s society, there is still a sense of formality when playing golf. This is evident, for example, in the apparel that people wear while they play.

The majority of golf clubs and courses in the US (and other parts of the world) have dress restrictions to follow. So, if you’re going to play golf with your mates or conduct business with one of your clients on the course, it’s great to know the basic principles of golf dress etiquette that you should never break. Don’t assume that you can dress casually simply because you’re playing on a public course.

This article will explore the golf dress code to help you avoid potential issues!

Tops

Golfer leaning on a golf cart on the golf course

First of all, never wear a plain T-shirt like the one you would wear to kick some ball with the guys. The proper choice of tops is crucial when shopping for clothing for golf. Just think about a golf player – what is the image that first pops into your mind? Yes, that’s right, it’s a person wearing a type of polo shirt.

A collared shirt is the most important piece of golf clothing and one which all golf clubs and courses are serious about. If you want to play golf, consider wearing a special polo shirt. Women, on the other hand, are strongly recommended to wear a collared shirt with a modest front opening that does not reveal the midriff.

Women’s long-sleeved golf shirts with a UPF 50+ rating provide excellent coverage and protection from harmful UV rays. These shirts are specifically designed for comfort and performance on the course, allowing for a full range of motion while keeping you cool and protected.

The typical golf shirts are usually a little longer than polo shirts to stay tucked in even after swinging at the ball repeatedly. Avoid patterns that are noisy and splashy. For sun protection, consider opting for Men’s sun-protective golf shirts which are specifically designed to block harmful UV rays. Maintaining a low-key appearance will draw attention to you and your game rather than your attire.

Also, to ensure you stay comfortable, be careful when choosing fabrics. Cotton is always ideal in cooler climates, while a synthetic material will allow sweat to dissipate and keep you dry and cool in warmer and more humid environments.

Bottoms

A golfer preparing to put with two of his friends behind him on the golf course

If you don’t know if jeans are permitted at the place where you’ll be playing, avoid wearing them. That said, a pair of chinos is considered the most appropriate choice. They should be roughly knee-length. And whatever you do, avoid wearing three-quarter shorts which are often not allowed. Drawstring shorts may also be prohibited, but regular slacks with a belt and belt loops are always okay.

When it comes to women, a common option is ladies’ golf skirts or skorts. Culottes and capri pants are also very popular. Some women also prefer to wear special golf dresses with collars, just like polo shirts.

When it comes to design, cream, beige, khaki, gray, and tan are the safest colors for golfing pants, shorts, and skirts. As you rise through the golf ranks and establish yourself as a flashy, snappy dress, you can feel free to advance to white and pink, as well as really bright colors.

You will be mocked if you wear white trousers and your handicap is not less than three. For the time being, be the regular guy and stick to the safe shorts colors.

Outerwear

Woman zipping up her sports jacket with concrete background

If you’re going to play on a cool or even cold day, layer up with a sweater, windbreaker, and/or fleece vest or jacket, as well as a cap and scarf. When the temperature dips below 10 degrees, you can comfortably play wearing long underwear and a warm hat.

While a torrential rainstorm may force you to abandon your plan to golf, a gentle shower won’t be able to drive you from a course if you come prepared. There are jackets and other pieces of clothing for golf made of water-resistant materials to keep you dry while allowing you to breathe and comfortably play. Bottom line: If rain is in the forecast, be prepared for the worst.

Shoes

Golfer preparing to make a putt on a golf course

If you have golf shoes, they are ideal. Soft spikes, rather than metal spikes, are now required by most clubs. If you use metal spikes while playing at a soft spike facility, you risk being asked to leave.

That said, it’s best to invest in a good pair of soft-spike golf shoes; you’ll be OK at any location. In a pinch, a good pair of sneakers will suffice if you don’t have golf shoes. But wearing street shoes with a heel can leave marks on the grass, which can cause a putt to go off line.

Golf shoes are notoriously difficult to maintain, so invest in a good pair to prevent having to replace them too frequently. Men’s shoes are typically confined to white, black, or brown, but a trendy sock complements the rest of your ensemble. Women’s golf shoes typically come in a wider range of colors.

For those seeking a more in-depth exploration of golf shoes, we recommend checking out our guide to footjoy golf shoes. If you prioritize comfort while navigating the course, our guide to the most comfortable golf shoes for walking is for you.

Accessories

Gloves

A female golfer wearing a golf glove while holding a golf club's head with two hands

While some players do not use golf gloves, most believe them to be extremely useful. If your hands are sweaty or there’s a light drizzle, a nice glove will come in handy, especially when driving. They also provide some security. When putting and chipping, most golfers remove their gloves.

That said, even though they’re optional, you’ll ultimately use gloves if you play long enough. The goal is to pick the proper size and to keep one thing in mind. Because they are not one-size-fits-all, you must select the appropriate size for your hands.

Golfers who are right-handed use gloves on their left, while left-handed golfers wear gloves on their right. You should only ever wear one, but if you want to look like a complete rookie, you can wear two, one on each side. But don’t do it!

Sunglasses

Female golfer talking to someone in a golf driving range wearing sunglasses and a hat

Although not everyone requires or desires sunglasses, many people cannot live without them. Get high-quality glasses that will not only relieve strain and protect your eyes but will also provide a clear and accurate picture.

Certain glasses have a tendency to distort angles or distance and should be avoided. Those created with golf in mind will perform better.

Hats

A golfer wearing a hat while looking into the distance

Golf is a sport that is nearly entirely played in direct sunlight, so sun protection is essential. Visors and baseball caps are popular among men and women, although straw hats, bucket hats, and beanies (if the weather permits) are also suitable.

For a more in-depth look at the different options and our top picks, check out our guide to top-rated golf hats & snapbacks.

Just leave your cowboy hats and fedoras at home, and remember to take your hat off while entering an enclosed facility. Hats must also be worn forward-facing at all times.

Even with a variety of hat styles available, finding the right fit can be a challenge for golfers with larger heads. If a standard hat leaves you uncomfortable, fear not. Our selection of big & tall golf hats offers a comfortable fit and comes in various styles to suit your taste.

Final Thoughts

And that’s about all you should know about golf apparel. You may even have some of the items already in your wardrobe. Once you’re equipped from head to toe, all you need is to get out on the course and have fun.

In addition to attire, there are other things to consider when choosing a golf course to play that can significantly impact your golfing experience. Let’s explore these essential factors to help you make the best choice for your next round.

Good luck hitting that hole-in-one!

WRITTEN BY

Photo of author

Jacob Jensen

My name is Jacob, a self-diagnosed equipment and golf enthusiast. I've been golfing since I was 15. Golf has always been my passion. I'm a bit of a golf equipment nerd and I've been that way since the moment I picked up a club for the first time. As someone who's been on both sides of the game, I know what it takes to be a good golfer. Of course, you need good equipment, but you also need to know how to use it. I hope sharing my experience with you will help you improve your game.

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