The clothing in golf is part of the decorum of the game, perhaps more so than in any other sport. Not only is there an unspoken etiquette, but most private or semi-private golf courses have a dress code that requires you to wear particular clothing in order to play on that course. These dress codes are designed to ensure that amateur players adhere to a certain protocol in order to help maintain the game’s traditions. It is always a good idea to check with the course management about a course’s dress code.
Private and semi-private courses require men to wear collared shirts. This usually means traditional cotton, microfiber or polyester golf shirts. Some course managers will also allow golf shirts with a turtleneck-style collar, especially when the weather turns colder. Women’s golf tops can vary greatly, with or without collars, but all must adhere to a traditional sense of modesty. T-shirts and tank tops are not permitted for either men or women on private or semi-private courses, but public courses may allow t-shirts.
Shorts and Pants
Shorts that extend to the knee area with a pleated or flat front are usually acceptable, especially in warm months and in warmer states. Cotton is a popular material for golf shorts, with khaki shorts among the most common choice. Similar material is common for golf pants, but not required. Many golfers wear pants made of water-resistant material. Pants normally don’t have cuffs and you are not allowed to wear jeans or jean shorts on private or semi-private courses. Women are permitted to wear long trousers, capris, dress shorts, and golf skirts/skorts. You are not allowed to wear workout clothing, running or basketball shorts on private or semi-private golf courses for either men or women.
Golf shoes are considered an essential part of the game’s equipment. They help to anchor your golf swing, and they provide traction and comfort when walking. Remember, a round of golf can require you to walk upwards of six miles and take close to five hours to play. Most of these shoes used to have metal spikes on the soles but all courses now require “soft” spikes made of hard rubber or plastic, not metal. Furthermore, there are other types of shoes that may offer the same comfort and stability but they may not be allowed on the golf course. As well, sandals, street shoes and boots would not be permitted on most courses.
Socks are as necessary with golf shoes as they are with any sports footwear. Over the years, socks have become an important part of golf attire, mainly because advances in fibers have helped keep golfers’ feet comfortable and dry. Golf socks come in a variety of styles. Many golfers who wear shorts choose ankle-length socks that are barely visible above the shoes. But more traditional tube socks are also permitted.
Golf hats are usually not specified in a dress code, but certain head wear is more appropriate than others. Baseball-style hats or visors, for men and women, are the most popular ones worn on a golf course. Their primary function is to help provide protection from the sun. Straw hats of many varieties and what are known as Ben Hogan caps are also permitted. Cowboy hats, dress fedora-style hats, and gag hats would not be considered appropriate for a golf course.
When playing in cooler weather, wearing a vest, sweater or golf jacket is acceptable. These clothing items are often lightweight but will protect you from rain and cold weather.
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