In golf, there’s trying too hard, and there’s not trying at all. Treading this line is a challenge for every golfer. After all, the golf course is one of the few places on earth where showing off is actually encouraged.
Also, golf has always been a game governed by a relatively strict dress code, and it probably always be. Playing golf might seem restrictive for people who love to express their own style and show off their fashion sense. But there’s a reason behind that strictness – it’s important to wear the right golf clothing for optimum performance. Plus, it’s part of golf etiquette. You can show how true of a gentleman or lady you are when you’re on the greens.
But just because rules can be restrictive on the golf course, it doesn’t mean you have to forego your fashion sense altogether. If you’re particular about brands, here are some of the top golf clothing brands.
These are some tips on how to look great on the golf course:
1. Stick to the dress code.
A dress code may sound archaic and limiting, but obeying it is a matter of politeness. It’s not required, but you’ll be frowned upon if you don’t. You won’t show up to a wedding in jeans, right? So, it would be best if you didn’t go too casual on a golf course either. There are timeless golf fashions that are always appropriate.
Dress codes are there to maintain standards and preserve the game’s history and class. Often, the regulations on golf courses aren’t as strict, but the dress codes will keep you looking appropriate and professional, even if you know squat about golfing.
There are some distinctions between the dress code acceptable for men and women on the golf course, but both have high standards. Women have more styles to choose from, but there’s an emphasis on keeping it modest. Men’s golf attire (like men’s attire in general) is less versatile and has limited options, but there are many ways to add a personal touch and still comply with golf etiquette.
The first thing you will notice on golf club sites is that they demand you to wear collared shirts. It doesn’t mean you need to wear dress shirts for men – it means you have to avoid T-shirts, V-necks, crew necks, vests, and other forms of casual shirts. Instead, look for polos and any shirts with a collar. Meanwhile, women are permitted to wear collared, non-collared, or even sleeveless tops. The key is that it must be modest and doesn’t show much flesh. Either way, shirts are expected to be tucked in at all times.
Here are some more rules when it comes to wearing shirts at the golf course:
- Don’t let the shirts hang out. The shirt sleeves must be at least three-quarters away from your elbow. You can opt to have it higher than that if you’re in good shape. If you can’t see your elbow, you’ve gone too far.
- If it’s chilly and you want to wear a crewneck sweater over a golf shirt, keep the collar inside for a clean look.
- Wear something that fits your body well. Wearing oversized shirts only gets in the way of golf equipment and can stop you from swinging freely.
Slacks, dress shorts, and golf skirts are the most common types of bottoms to wear while golfing. While each course differs slightly in its rules, jeans, yoga pants, and sweats are generally aren’t permitted.
Both men and women should comply with wearing shorts or skirts that reach at least to your fingertips. When wearing shorts, they must be at the proper length. If it’s too long and wide, you will look sloppy. But if it’s too short, it becomes too revealing. The rule of thumb is to keep its length just above the knees. Avoid cargo shorts because it looks sloppy on the golf course.
It helps to have at least a pair of khakis in your wardrobe. Not only are they simple and professional-looking, but they will also help you spend less time deciding what shirt to wear with them since they can go with every collared shirt.
Trousers must be long enough that the bottom touches the top of the shoes. But don’t wear pants that are too long. During the course of a round, pants tend to drop lower on the waist, so if it’s already too long, it will bunch up by your ankles at the end of the round.
While running shoes, trainers, and leather brogues are usually permitted on a golf course – golf shoes can offer you better comfort and a more stabilized swing. Most courses ban shoes with metal spikes and require golf shoes to have hard rubber or plastic spikes instead. Metal spikes tend to damage the green.
Most golf shoes for men are usually limited to colors such as black, white, navy blue, or brown, but a pair of stylish socks are encouraged to complement the rest of your outfit.
Meanwhile, women’s golf shoes come in a variety of colors. You must not wear boots, sandals, and of course, heels.
Though socks are rarely mentioned in the course rules, wearing the right socks is important. When you are wearing trousers, you must be wearing long or medium-length socks. But when you’re wearing shorts or skirts, don’t let the socks protrude. They must not be higher than your ankles.
Since golf is a sport played outdoors under the sun, protection is essential. Both men and women usually wear sports caps like flat caps and visors. Leave your fedoras, cowboy hats, gag hats, and dress hats at home. Sometimes, bucket hats, beanies, and straw hats are acceptable, depending on the weather.
For some golf courses, the rule is no belt, no tee time. You can match your belt to your shoes, but better to match it with your shirt to pull the look together. Also, a brightly-colored belt can bring just the right amount of pop to bring an otherwise dull outfit to life.
But if you’re on the larger side, especially on the waistline, avoid wearing a contrasting belt that will draw attention to your waist. It’s better to match your belt to your trousers so your waistline won’t be too obvious.
2. Don’t wear denim.
Some courses may allow smart denim, but that’s extremely rare. In general, you must not wear denim jeans, shorts, skirts, or jackets. It’s too casual for the golf course.
3. Step out of your comfort zone a bit.
When golfing, there are some things you can’t do in normal, civilian settings, like wear white trousers. Not every golfer can pull it off, but if it looks great on you, don’t hesitate to wear it to the greens. When worn with navy or a neutral gray, it creates a classic look that works all summer round.
4. You can color-coordinate.
If you want to make a fashion statement on the golf course, choose a more balanced look by only focusing on the same color palette. In short, you can be matchy-matchy.
5. Keep it neutral but don’t be afraid to embrace a splash of color.
As a general rule, you must keep your foundations neutral or dark. Then, throw in a colored piece to add a little brightness to your outfit. A well-fitting, wool, crewneck sweater in red can look awesome if you choose the right shade for your skin tone.
If you want to wear patterned shirts, make sure that it’s not too loud to the point that it dominates your outfit. Also, keep your pants plain if your shirt is already patterned and vice versa. You can wear pattern on pattern when the pattern isn’t dominating both the shirt and pants.
6. Dress according to the weather.
If you want to look smart on a summer day at the golf course, then it’s important to wear shirts and trousers made from more lightweight materials that can help you breathe. For example, you can choose linen and poplin instead of wearing a cotton shirt. But if you want to stay casual, ditch the shirt and trousers and go for polo and appropriate shorts.
But when it’s winter, and you want to layer up, you can look for a ½ zip sweater inspired by JFK. You may keep it matching with your pants or pair it with pants of a complementary color. If you’re playing for a more casual golf course, feel free to drop the traditional white for some tan slacks and darker shoes.