Getting started in the game of golf is not easy. You need all kinds of equipment, from clubs to balls to a bag. The rules are complicated and confusing, not to mention the course etiquette. Well, at least getting dressed to play isn’t a problem, right? No so fast!
What to wear when you play golf can be nuanced. You don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb on the first tee. We can help you find the golf fashion that works best for you. You can look like a PGA tour professional, even if you can barely hit the ball. Look good, feel good, have fun.
General Tips On Choosing Your Golf Attire
The first thing you need to remember when getting dressed for the course is that golf is a physical activity. You need to wear clothing that allows you to freely swing the club. Avoid items that restrict your range of motion.
Be prepared for the conditions. Always check the hourly forecast before you head to the country club. When in doubt, dress in layers. The temperature could drop, the wind could pick up, or a rain shower could move through. Golf is the perfect way to enjoy an afternoon outside, but it can be ruined if you are cold and wet.
When you’re deciding what to wear golfing, it’s important you follow the guidelines for the course you are playing. You can typically find this information on their website, but here are the basics. Wear a collared shirt. No denim. Depending on the shirt, you probably want to keep it tucked in. Golf has been known as a “stuffy” sport, but the good news is that courses are starting to become more casual. We would recommend you play it safe the first time you visit a new club.
You need to be comfortable in what you pick to wear when you play golf. Follow the basic rules above, but be yourself.
Below we explore the different articles of golf clothing and make some recommendations.
The collared polo or “golf shirt” is a standard item to wear when you play golf. You can go with a famous sports brand like Nike, Under Armour, Adidas or select a golf-specific brand such as Footjoy, Titleist, or Greg Norman.
You can find these polo shirts in basic, solid colors, or if you like to be flashy, there are plenty of cool designs on the market.
You don’t need to get a shirt that is specifically designed for golf, but be careful on the material. New golf shirts have been designed to breathe and keep the player cool on hot days. Some non-sport polos are made of heavy cotton and will not be as comfortable on the course.
When picking out what to wear when playing golf, your shorts should be stylish, comfortable, and practical. Ideally, you don’t want them too tight, too baggy, too short, or too long. If you are interested, Nike and Adidas (amongst others) make shorts specifically for golf, but they are not required. Just no jorts!
Functionality-wise, you do need the standard 4 pockets. The back pockets of your shorts are perfect for your glove and your scorecard. The front pockets can be used for carrying your wallet, golf balls, golf tees, and your ball mark.
Similar to Shorts, your slacks should have enough pockets to help you carry all of your golf essentials. Any business casual style pants can work for the golf course. If you are going to tee it up on a cold day, you might want to try some insulated pants.
Again, the key is comfort. Make sure the slacks you choose are comfortable to walk-in and don’t restrict your ability to swing the golf club or turn. Golf is hard enough without your clothing working against you.
Golf Shoes have come a long way since your grandfather or grandmother played. The most noticeable difference is the spikes. Everyone used to play with metal spikes, but now the golf industry has shifted to soft spikes. This change has helped our greenskeepers improve putting surfaces and they are easier for golfers to walk in.
If you’re just getting started with golf, it isn’t critical that you rush out and buy golf shoes. You can certainly play in tennis or running shoes. If you like the comfort, you can also find golf shoes that look like running shoes, but have soft spikes.
The biggest advantage of owning real golf shoes is they are typically waterproof. If you are playing on a rainy day or there is a heavy dew/frost, the last thing you want is wet feet for 4-5 hours. If you are considering what shoes to wear when you play golf, consider the course conditions before you make your pick.
Belts and Socks
When you are deciding what socks to wear when you play golf, it will depend on the rest of your outfit. If you are wearing shorts, we recommend some stylish ankle socks. If you are wearing slacks, you can go with longer socks. It is critical that you select comfortable socks that fit you correctly.
Did you know that when you walk 18 holes of golf you walk more than 5 miles? Low quality or poorly-fitting socks can lead to painful blisters that take days to heal. Choose wisely.
When it comes time to pick your belt, your options are limitless. You can simply wear a belt from your closet that matches your outfit or you can find a golf specific belt. Stylish belt buckles have taken the game by storm. You will see them on the PGA tour. If you are looking for some options, try Druh Belts or Adidas.
Caps and Hats
The greatest hazard to golfers on the course isn’t a lake or a creek, but the sun’s harmful rays. When you are selecting the hat to wear when you play golf, your focus should be on sun protection and comfort. You want a hat that will breathe and not make you hotter.
When it comes to sun protection, any baseball-style hat will work, but if you are truly worried about getting burned, you may want to try a bucket hat. Titleist makes one that will help protect your face and the back of your neck.
There are some golfers that don’t wear golf gloves, but the vast majority of players feel that a golf glove is required. The good news, they aren’t expensive and will last you 20+ rounds. There are many different brands available on every golf website and superstore. For a beginner, we would recommend you go with a cheaper product.
Standard colors include while and black, but if you are looking for more flair, you can find them in almost any color.
When deciding on the glove to wear when you play golf, you need to pay close attention to two different factors. First, the size of the glove. Size options include Small, Medium, Medium-Large, Large, XL, and XXL. All gloves are also offered in regular or cadet. Cadet gloves are wider, with shorter fingers. We recommend you try on some golf gloves before you buy.
Second, many beginner golfers make the mistake of buying the wrong glove. It is a bit counter-intuitive, but a right-handed golfer wears their golf glove on their left hand. A left-handed player needs a glove for their right hand. You may occasionally see a golfer wear two gloves, but this is pretty rare.
Outerwear, Jackets, Windbreakers
As we discussed earlier in this post, when deciding what to wear when you play golf, layers are always a good idea. We could call this the layer section.
The critical factor for all outerwear is restriction. Does it restrict you from making your normal golf swing? If so, don’t bring it to the course! Golf brands build their outerwear with this in mind, but you can always bring a jacket you have around the house, just test it before you leave home. Make some practice swings and see how it feels.
Our favorite item is the waterproof, half-sleeve, wind breaker. Many golf brands make them, but we recommend the Footjoy model. This is a multi-purpose piece of clothing. Great in the wind, rain, or if you just want a little extra warmth for a morning tee time.
You have picked out the perfect outfit for the course. Now the question becomes, what do you want to carry when you play golf? You will need a golf bag before you can head to the course.
Ultimately, you can choose from 3 different styles. First, you can go with a carry/stand bag. These are light enough for you to carry and include a stand to keep them off the ground. Second, you can go with a Tour bag – these are large and have a ton of storage. You will need to rent a cart everytime you play if you go with a Tour bag. Third, you can choose a Sunday golf bag. These bags are extremely lightweight and hold 6-8 clubs. Great for practice on a casual round.
Distinct Looks/Styles To Go After
So many options for what to wear when you play golf – here are a few ideas for styles to consider.
We sometimes forget that golf is a sport and since Tiger Woods made it popular in the early 2000s, more high-level athletes have started to play. With this change, more golfers workout in the gym and athleisure styles have started to show up on the golf course.
This casual, active-wear can be perfect for the links. The Athleisure look is more prevalent in Women’s golf clothes, but there are options for men as well. Most golf apparel companies have jumped in on this trend, so if this is a style you would like to try checkout Nike, Puma, Under Armour, or Adidas.
Modern golf apparel barely resembles what was worn back in the 1980s and 1990s. The days of heavy cotton shirts and boring khakis are a thing of the past. Plain, solid colors and boring patterns are no more.
Contemporary golf clothing includes high-technology fabrics that are designed to keep you comfortable and help you play better. Looking to add some flash to your game? The golf industry has stepped up their game on colors, patterns, and styles. If you want to turn heads on the first tee, you now have options that will help you feel, look, and play great.
Are you feeling brave? With most golfers enjoying either Athleisure or Contemporary style golf clothes, if you go Vintage, people will notice.
And how Vintage do you want to go? You can go with a pair of Knickers and high socks. Add a sweet argyle sweater and you have the full package. Definitely a throwback to the early days of golf.
If you aren’t shy and want to make a statement, bring out some Vintage style golf clothing the next time you visit the course.
Is this all just too much for you? You simply want to play golf and fit in, without having to make all of these fashion choices. Yes, you want to dress well, but don’t want to take the time to coordinate an outfit. The answer might be as simple as saying “give me the mannequin”.
Visit your local golf store. They will always have a few mannequins dressed in well-coordinated golf outfits. You don’t have to worry if it is a mix of Athleisure and Contemporary styles – if you like it, just ask the salesperson to “give you the mannequin” outfit!
Deciding what to wear when you play golf can be challenging for the beginner, but don’t lose sleep over it. While keeping the basic golf dress code rules in mind, find clothing that makes you comfortable and will allow you to swing the club. As you get more involved with the experience of the game, you may find that you prefer one style versus another. Find your style, find your game, and enjoy your time on the course.