Showing up somewhere wearing the wrong outfit is a situation everyone experiences at least once in their life—and never want to repeat.
Golf clothing can be especially tricky to pick out, as the game involves both athletic activity and high-class socializing. The dual need for a golfer to be both comfortable on the green and formal for the company demands that every article of clothing be double functioning.
But you don’t have to stress out while standing in front of your closet next time you get a golf invite.
Read on for our fashion tips approved by golfers so you can rest assured of wearing golf attire that is both functional and appropriate next time you head to the course.
What to Wear Golfing for Men
When heading out to a sporting event, where you will spend hours in the sun, t-shirts can be so tempting. You must avoid the temptation, though, as a t-shirt is one of the worst things a golfer can wear to a golf round.
Golf shirts tend to feature light, breathable fabrics, so you can stay cool while still looking business casual.
Whether you’re wearing a Polo or a windbreaker, one rule remains constant: always tuck in the shirt. Untucked shirts on the course are a huge fashion no-no.
Similar to tops, casual basketball shorts and sweats can seem appealing when you’re off for a day of athletic exertion. The club won’t think so, though.
Opt for slacks or shorts made from more durable fabrics, like cotton, linen, or a polyester blend. No denim jeans, though.
Also, it’s belt loops or bust, so leave the sweats at home.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of wearing the right shoes for golf. Your shoes affect everything from your stance to your swing.
Though there are various kinds, golf shoes typically have spikes to help you dig into the dirt. Spikeless options that use a thick, textured rubber to get the same effect are also available.
Don’t invest in metal spikes for your golf shoes, though. Most golf courses prohibit these due to the damage they cause to the turf.
Keep your socks in check, too. A fashionable golfer always tries to match their socks to their outfit while sticking to subdued colors or patterns.
The number one accessory you’ll want to pack in your golf bag is your gloves. Soft leather gloves enhance a golfer’s grip on the golf club.
You certainly don’t want to swing for the hills and have your club end up in the bushes behind you, right?
Leave the Rolex at home, lest you lose it in the grass. A waterproof sports watch, though, could be helpful to wear, as it will encourage you to keep the pace going between holes.
While some golfers claim that sunglasses impair their vision of the ball, others swear by them. So when it comes to bringing some sunglasses to protect your vision, it’s just up to your personal preference.
What to Wear Golfing for Women
Similar rules apply to women’s golf shirts as men’s. A collared blouse or polo is usually the best option for any golfer to wear on top. V-necks, button-downs and zip-tops are suitable options.
Some courses are stricter than others regarding sleeve length, so check in to make sure sleeveless is okay. Steer clear of halter tops and tank tops, whatever you do.
The golf course can also get pretty breezy at times, so layer up with some lightweight jackets or sweaters.
As with men’s options for bottoms, slacks or shorts in a neutral color are always a solid choice. Although athleisure is trendy, form-fitting leggings, bike shorts, and yoga pants aren’t acceptable at the clubhouse.
However, feel free to get a little more flirty with a skort or golf dress. As long as the skirt hem reaches past the tips of your gloves, women golfers can wear these on the course.
The only actual difference between men’s and women’s golf shoes is just size. For women, as with men, you’ll want a sole that offers you a solid grip on the grass, preferably with soft spikes.
You should avoid anything open-toed, as it’s both impractical and not fitting with golf course standards. It should also go without saying that the heels need to stay at home.
If you’re a jewelry fanatic, keep it simple. After all, you don’t want anything getting in the way of your game.
Visors are excellent, both for keeping the sun out of your face and for holding back your hair. Wide-brimmed sun hats, on the other hand, would likely be too prone to flying off with a gust of wind or getting in the way.
Finally, as mentioned above: the most necessary accessory for a golfer is the golf glove. Gloves let you maintain a solid grip on the golf club while avoiding ugly, painful blisters and calluses.
What to Wear Golfing for the First Time?
If this is your first time out on the course, you probably don’t want to invest a whole bunch of money in a pricey outfit that you may never wear again.
Luckily, to fit in and feel comfortable about yourself and your game, you can just repurpose some items you already have in your closet.
A collared polo shirt, similar to what you might wear on a casual day at the office, should be fine on even the fanciest golf course. For bottoms, those staple khaki slacks or knee-length shorts should do the trick. This applies to both men's and women’s attire.
Where you might run into some trouble is what to put on your feet. Golf shoes can be expensive and difficult to buy if you don’t know much about your game yet. Lots of courses also allow rubber-soled athletic trainers, which look a lot like golf shoes without spikes. Just make sure to check with them ahead of time!
A quick pro-tip: belts are crucial to your golf look. Since you’ll be moving around a lot, you don’t want to be that person constantly hiking up their waistband.
Last but not least, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and visor. There’s little to no shade on a golf course, so you’ll want to keep yourself adequately protected.
Is There a Dress Code for Golf?
This depends on the course. For example, the famous Pine Valley Country Club in New Jersey has a strict dress code that stipulates no blue jeans, cut-offs, shirts without collars, or swimsuits. Some more casual courses have virtually no rules.
If you’re unsure, err on the side of caution with a more formal look. You don’t want to get laughed off the course before you even begin, after all.
A typical golf course dress code requires collared shirts, cotton or polyester blend bottoms, and shoes with closed toes and rubber soles.
Again, though, each course is different. So it’s best to check ahead of time with the club management regarding your golf attire.
What Do I Wear to Golf If I Don’t Have Golf Clothes?
If you lack golf-specific apparel, your best bet is to search your closet for suitable, modest clothing.
Modest attire is big in golf culture, so make sure all shorts, skirts, and skorts are at least finger-length (knee-length is even better). Some more conservative courses prohibit going sleeveless, too.
Some courses ask that you wear a certain kind of spike to protect the field and their community appearance. So if you need suitable shoes, check with the course first before busting out the old soccer cleats.
What Should You Not Wear When Golfing?
As mentioned above, this depends on the golf course. Some golf courses will be stricter than others. That said, some attire will get you turned away almost anywhere.
T-shirts are a big no in the golf world, as are sandals, high-heels, and anything with metal spikes. Denim jeans and basketball shorts are also always strictly forbidden, so stick to the nicer slacks when choosing what to wear.
Wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts that are too, well, short is also a good way to get kicked out.
Some courses are also particular about the color scheme for your golf attire and frown upon anything too bright or bold patterned. While color is certainly okay, just make sure it’s only one article of clothing that makes a statement, not multiple.
In sum, it’s always best to choose your golf clothes carefully and, when in doubt, follow the guidance of the golf course. Choose breathable fabrics that are business casual and modest.
You should certainly feel more comfortable about showing up to the golf course looking smart after following these suggestions.
The key to a good golf game is confidence. So if you’re feeling confident that your outfit looks great, chances are you’ll play great too.