Being new to golf can be a daunting proposition. There seems to be so much to learn about hitting the little white ball, but not just about a golf dress code to navigate. There is still chaos on a few courses as to what can and cannot be worn, but there is no reason why every golfer can’t find their own style to look good on the course.
Before delving into the many options for items and accessories to wear on a round of golf and then for a drink at 19phere’s a quick rundown of things to generally avoid when deciding what to wear.
What not to wear on the golf course
t-shirts: Casual crew neck T-shirts are not suitable for golf. Moreover, there is a huge selection of polo shirts (t-shirts with collars) that work really well. Also avoid football uniforms and rugby shirts – it’s not golf.
Shorts: Not for floral shorts that can be worn to the beach or long 3/4 length shorts. Again, no football or rugby shorts. Women should not wear sun dresses or cropped denim shorts.
Footwear: Flip-flops are great for the beach, but not on the golf course. Also, try swinging a stick on your legs and you’ll easily sprain your ankle. The same goes for sandals. And it should be obvious to women that high heels are neither practical nor allowed.
Jeans: Of course, jeans have become much more elegant than the rugged style they were originally designed for, but overall, they’re not welcome on the golf course, and they’re not comfortable to wear outside for so long. Leave them at home.
Jackets and Coats: There are many types of jackets and coats these days, but stick to a waterproof jacket for golf. It looks good, and most importantly, protects against rain.
Shoes: Anything but a pair of proper golf shoes should be avoided.
What to wear to the golf course
So now that we’ve ruled out some elements, it’s time to take a look at what to wear to golf. The golf apparel industry is huge and has a huge selection, so you can easily dress up in your golf attire from head to toe. Whatever your color or style, you’ll find the right golf outfit. Whether you want to channel your inner John Daly with loud, bright colors or opt for a more sober style, that’s fine too. There will be something according to your preferences. Here’s a look at the options you need to wear on the golf course.
polo shirts: It’s a golf course classic, and there’s a wide range of different brands available, from budget to high end.
In recent years, there has been a shift away from cotton polo shirts in favor of polo shirts made of lighter materials. They are specially designed for golfers to wear outdoors in good weather for several hours. Basically and definitely, if you’re wearing with pants, tuck your polo inside.
Women may also wear sleeveless polo shirts as long as they have a collar.
Pants: So you can’t wear everyday jeans on most golf courses, and after a while most golfers will tell you that they’re glad they’re not wearing them. Golf pants are usually made of a slightly softer material to make them comfortable but resistant enough to whatever the weather throws at them.
Chinos are also a good, safe option, although specialty golf pants are better as they are designed for golf.
For women, chinos or golf pants are the best option to wear on the golf course.
Shorts: Great idea if the weather is nice! Just remember to wear shorts that go just above the knee and usually look better when worn with a belt. A good pair of golf shorts can certainly be worn off the golf course as well.
Women can opt for skirts, golf shorts or golf skorts. They are available in a wide range of colors and styles. Some clubs still require them to be worn below the knee, but in most places it’s a matter of common sense not to wear shorts or skirts that are ridiculously short.
Socks: Wear what you want with long pants. However, traditionally some clubs insisted on wearing knee-highs with shorts. Thankfully, this trend is dying out, but if you’re unsure, a pair of white sports socks should be fine.
If you wear shorts, women can wear short ankle socks.
Intermediate layers: A mid-layer is an all-encompassing way of describing something that isn’t a jacket but is more substantial than a t-shirt, so here’s a guide to these different options.
Sweaters – Readers of a certain year might think of Ronnie Corbett sitting in his big chair in V-neck sweaters in The Two Ronnies years ago. These jerseys are still seen around the track and depending on the theme they’re wearing, they can be very expensive! If you’re wearing a golf sweater, make sure it fits well, as a loose sweater will just get in the way of your golf swing.
Sweatshirts – Once a total no, now there’s a range of golf specific hoodies. But use common sense, if you think you’re going to play at a very picky club, don’t wear it that day.
Gile BayT – Vests can be a good option in spring or summer if you’re playing on a nice day but need an extra layer of warmth. Golf vests are not as bulky as a vest you might wear every day because they give you the freedom you need to hit the ball.
Intermediate layers -Alternatively, it can be described as a windproof top. They are quite thin, but warm, and the long sleeves protect against the chilly wind.
waterproof: Any seasoned UK golfer will tell you this is a must-have! There is no escaping the rain when we play golf and we need waterproof clothes that will protect us from getting wet.
Waterproofing consists of a lightweight jacket and a pair of pants that can be worn over regular pants. The pants are perfect because the rain just slides off them. Weight is important because you still need to be able to swing without feeling your clothes get in the way.
Shoes: Once upon a time, a pair of boots with metal spikes was non-negotiable, but times have changed. Metal spikes have been replaced with non-metallic spikes that cause less damage to the turf. Although there are now spikeless shoes that are preferred by many golf professionals and look very similar to sports shoes. Golf shoes work so well because they are designed to keep a golfer on their feet for potentially up to five hours, making them durable and comfortable.
Caps, hats and visors: Most golfers have at least one of these lurking somewhere among their golf attire. Of course, the weather dictates what kind of hat to wear with hats and visors in summer and hats in winter. But with a cap, always point the visor forward.
What to wear in the club:
A lot will depend on the rules of the club and whether you eat your meal sitting down or just grabbing an informal drink. If you’re having dinner, it’s probably worth checking beforehand what’s allowed.
If you just want a quick drink at a bar (or skewer bar as it’s often called), use common sense. Spiked boots are absolutely fine, but make sure you clean them of mud. No one wants to clean up mud or grass after you. The same goes for your clothes. If you wear spikes, maybe slip on a pair of casual shoes instead, but not trainers.
about the author
Adam Lanigan – golf writer
Adam is a freelance news and sports journalist who has written for the BBC, The Sunday Post, The I, The Times, The Telegraph and others. He has been writing about golf for nearly two decades and has covered 13 Open Championships and two Ryder Cups. Adam not only golfs, but has been playing golf for as long as he can remember. He was a member of Northenden Golf Club for around 25 years until the arrival of his children and his last official handicap was 11, although his form varies from eight to 18 each day.