Nov 07, 2022
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

What to Wear Golfing if You Don't Have Golf Clothes?

If you are only just getting into golf, it can feel a little overwhelming when you hear about all the different equipment you may need to invest in to get started. It's easy to focus on the more obvious stuff, such as your clubs and golf bag. But you shouldn't overlook what you'll be wearing.

The good news is that if you haven’t built up your golf wardrobe, you can find suitable substitutes in your closet. Here we provide numerous examples of what you could wear out on the course, even if you don’t have golf clothes. 

What to Wear for Men

Golfing attire has some fundamental dos and don'ts, determined mainly by convention and the specific dress codes set by golf clubs. However, you don't need to purchase designer labels to achieve this. Below are some key categories men should consider when putting their golfing outfits together.

Tops & Shirts

Let's start with the basics. Generally speaking, men should wear a collared polo shirt, either long or short-sleeved. No matter what you go for, generally accepted etiquette advises always tuck your top into your trousers. 

In colder temperatures, it’s acceptable to opt for a turtleneck. Adding a vest, sweater, or a light jacket over the top is perfectly acceptable if you feel like you need a couple more layers in the colder months.

However, tracksuit jackets, sports t-shirts, jerseys, or big banner advertisements on either the front or the back of a piece of clothing aren't acceptable. Golf courses tend to avoid flashy and bold prints, with neutral tones often far more popular. 

Keep it classy and simple, and you're good to go.

Trousers & Shorts

You should look for smart, long trousers for your bottom half. Think of either khakis or chinos. If you plan to play in the warmer months, shorts are perfectly acceptable, provided they fall just above your kneecap and aren't soccer, running, or gym shorts. 

Though a belt isn't an absolute must, it does help to make your outfit look a little more formal. Golf etiquette is essentially what so much golfing fashion centers upon, developed over centuries of refining the gentleman’s game.

For what you shouldn't be wearing, the immediate answer is sweatpants. They might be perfectly acceptable athletic wear in other sports, but golf is not one of them. You should also avoid jeans unless the club you are playing at has made it clear they're an acceptable choice.

Shoes & Accessories

Most avid golf players will sport a pair of soft spike or spikeless golf shoes while on the course. However, if you're new to the game, these probably won't be something you readily have on hand. Instead, a smart pair of sneakers should suffice for when you're starting. 

Just make sure you don't wear anything that could potentially damage the course. Heeled work shoes can certainly look formal enough, but they could dig grooves into the green, and no golf course will thank you for that. 

When it comes to accessories, golfing gloves, baseball caps (facing forward), and tightly fitting jewelry are all perfectly acceptable. Just don't wear anything that's going to distract you from your performance or hinder your swing in any way. 

More oversized hats and flashy jewelry are unnecessary, and some golf clubs may have specific rules prohibiting these items. 

What to Wear for Women

It isn't just men frequenting the golf course, meaning the women need to know what they should and shouldn’t be wearing. While you might assume the classic white vest and skirt combination is all you need, there is a slight nuance in women's golf fashion.

Tops & Shirts

Most upper-body clothing should consist of sleeved or sleeveless blouses with collars. They should fit quite tightly, or you’ll become increasingly annoyed with how the excess material affects your swing. Similar to men's fashion, a vest, sweater, or light jacket are all perfectly acceptable options if you feel like you need some extra warmth.

T-shirts, halters, sports jerseys, tank tops, tracksuit tops, or any big-banner clothing is considered faux pas, so leave those at home. It would be best if you also avoided sweatshirts or denim jackets. 

Skirts, Shorts, Trousers, & Dresses

The famed golf skirt is, of course, a quintessential part of any women's golfing wardrobe. However, despite the common link between golf and skirts, you shouldn't be on the course in a mini-skirt. Knee-length or just above the knee is an appropriate length. 

Thankfully, if skirts aren't your forte, you aren't limited to these. You could wear skorts (a mixture of a skirt and shorts), culottes, smart long trousers (khakis or chinos, for example), or knee-length shorts. There are plenty of options available to you.

As long as you don't turn up in gym, cargo, soccer, or running shorts, you're good to go. It would be best if you also tried to avoid anything with drawstrings, including tracksuit trousers. 

Shoes & Accessories

The advice for women's shoes and accessories is similar to what we have already covered with the men. Soft spike or spikeless golf shoes are often advisable, not only because of convention but because they can enhance your performance.

A smart pair of trainers is perfectly fine. Low-show socks are the most popular to wear with skirts or shorts. 

Flip flops and sandals are a no-go, in addition to steel spike golf shoes. These will rip up the course and cause significant damage, and many venues have an outright ban on them. 

Caps and visors are advisable to keep the sun out of your eyes. You can wear jewelry, but as we mentioned before, make sure none of it is loose! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have to Wear Golf Clothes to Play Golf?

The answer entirely depends on what you mean when you say ‘golf clothes.’ If you are referring to specifically designed items of clothing for the intention of golf, then no, you don't. All you need to do is abide by the dress code of the venue where you're playing. 

More than golf-specific attire, comfort is crucial. Although golf is not exactly a high-octane sport, it is still physically demanding, involving a lot of walking and muscle control. If you aren't wearing comfortable clothing (especially shoes!), you could worsen your performance or even injure yourself.

What Should You Not Wear When Playing Golf?

As we have detailed above, numerous things are immediate nos when it comes to the course. Some standout examples include:

  • - Slogan shirts
  • - Flip-flops
  • - Loose jewelry
  • - Loose clothing
  • - Steel spiked shoes

And anything else explicitly banned by any venue you attend. Always make sure to double-check the rules of the course, as they can vary widely!

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