As if it is not challenging enough selecting the right golfing equipment, what you wear is also extremely important.
While many clubs have relaxed their rules over recent years there is still a tradition and etiquette that dictates what is appropriate or not. Not only is it important for the golf club, your choice of what to wear golfing can also have an impact on your performance.
Many new golfers are intimidated by the idea of dressing for golf. This is unnecessary if you follow a few basics.
Many of the more traditional clubs still maintain strict dress codes on the course. While others might be a bit more forgiving, one still wants to follow the basics and not dress too casually for golf.
Decent shorts might be acceptable in some clubs but you don’t want to play a round in a casual t-shirt.
If you are unsure, check first. At a bare minimum, have a decent pair of shorts or slacks and a shirt with a collar.
For your own benefit, you will want a pair of suitable shoes and a good glove. For poor weather, although it never rains on a golf course, a good waterproof windbreaker is ideal
Golf Attire Basics
1. A Cap or Hat
18 Holes can take a while and you generally play come rain or shine. The sun can do untold damage and the rain, even a light drizzle, is just unpleasant.
A comfortable hat or cap will protect you from the elements and allow you to enjoy the game. You might want one for sun and one for rain.
2. The Golf Shirt
What is important is that it is comfortable and has a collar. While some pros play in funky turtlenecks and the like, this is probably not the best idea for most golfers at a regular club.
Rather play it safe and get a golf shirt with a collar. It can have short or long sleeves according to your preference and the weather conditions.
The fabric is an important consideration. Quality cotton is cool and comfortable while synthetic shirts allow sweat to evaporate and might be cooler in some conditions.
If you want to remain comfortable without getting too hot, invest in quality golf shirts.
Shirts are generally tucked in.
3. Golf Slacks or Shorts
Most clubs, although not all, will allow good shorts. By this, we mean shorts with belt loops not those with drawstrings or elastic. You also want to avoid cargo shorts.
If you prefer, golf trousers or slacks are generally a better bet. There are fabrics and designs made for a range of climates so choose accordingly.
While patterns and bold colors have become somewhat fashionable you will find that more neutral colors and styles are more versatile and functional. Trousers should touch the top of your shoes and shorts should reach just above the knee.
Ladies often wear a skirt or a skort (short with a front and back panel to look like a skirt). Capri pants and culottes are also popular. Some ladies play in a golf dress.
You have enough to think about without your pants falling down. Wear a comfortable belt. It not only looks good but will give you one less thing to worry about.
Go for a comfortable belt with a bit of stretch so that it does not dig into you. You can be bold and go for contrasting colors but this is best for slim people. A belt that matches your trousers or shirt will not draw attention to your waist.
This will come down to personal preference but quality absorbent socks will keep you comfortable. White is a safe option or something that matches your slacks is perfect.
6. Golf Shoes
This first thing to note is that old school metal spikes are no longer allowed at most courses. Spikeless, soft spike or other non-metal cleats are your best bet.
While frowned upon at some clubs, you might be able to get away with soft-soled shoes such as tennis shoes.
Quality golf shoes will give you a firm grip and allow for fast swings. They are also handy when you are on a bank or an uneven lie.
Spikeless shoes have tiny rubber studs and are ideal for people that get stud pressure from regular spikes.
Golf can be hard on your shoes so invest in a quality pair to avoid having to replace them too often.
While there are some players that don’t bother with a golf glove, most find them to be invaluable. They are not one size fits all so you need to get the right size for your hands. A right-handed golfer will use a glove on the left and vice versa.
IF your hands get sweaty or there is a bit of drizzle you will be grateful for a good glove especially when driving. They also offer some protection. Most golfers remove their glove when putting and sometimes chipping.
This video will give you a bit more information:
8. Cold-Weather Gear
If you are playing in cold conditions or early or late, you might want to add a few layers for warmth and comfort. You want something neutral that will not impede your swing or movement.
9. Rain Jackets
The same applies to rain jackets. There are many lightweight waterproof jackets that will keep you dry without impacting your movement.
Not everyone needs or wants sunglasses but many cannot do without them. Be sure to get quality glasses that will not only reduce strain and protect your eyes but also give you a clear and accurate view.
Some glasses tend to distort angles or distance and these should be avoided. Those designed specifically for golf will perform better.
Ok, not clothing, but don’t forget a good quality sunscreen.
This is an option some golfers will want. They are available for the forehead and wrists.
What Not to Wear When Playing Golf
There are a few things to avoid when playing golf.
- Not everyone can pull off white pants and don’t go for three-quarter pants.
- Unless you are slim, match your belt to your pants or shirt.
- Avoid mixing too many colors or patterns.
- Do not wear hard shoes, steel spikes or sandals.
- Try to avoid trainers.
The most important thing is to feel comfortable. You do not have to make a fashion statement but do not make a fashion blunder. Rather keep it practical, simple and basic.
If you want to be more daring, so so with caution. If you are not sure of club rules, it’s best to find out ahead of time.
You want to have an enjoyable game so the last thing you want to worry about is clothing. Get the basics right and you can go wrong.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.