Golf clothing is very different than when the sport began in the United States during the 19th Century. For one thing, it was an all-male sport until the 20th Century when women like Babe Didrikson-Zaharias and Patty Berg became professional golfers in the Ladies Professional Golf Association or LPGA.

Two, men no longer had to wear suit jackets, knickers, and golf hats out on the course. If you want to know what to wear golfing, the information below can help you.

Golf Clothing for Every Season

A golfer standing beside the goal showing what to wear golfing

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If you're an avid golfer, then you need to have a wardrobe that's ready for any weather. As long as there isn't any snow or ice on the ground, many people hit the links when they have time to, whether it’s lightly raining, or the sun is high in the sky.

Some of the clothing pieces you may want to add to your golfing wardrobe are:

  • ​Shorts
  • ​Sweaters
  • ​Light jackets
  • ​Hats
  • ​Skirts
  • ​Sleeveless Tops
  • ​Visors
  • ​Sunglasses
  • ​Shoes

Probably the essential item on the list is shoes. A good pair of golf shoes is imperative for walking across the course or the hole that you're playing. However, for new players, it is important to note that many country clubs and golf courses have dress codes for their facilities, including the courses.

Golf Dress Codes for Men

On many golf courses, especially those that are part of a country club, there are dress codes that players need to meet before they can play. The rule of thumb is usually if the golf club is elusive, then the stricter the dress code.

Before heading to a golf course or club, call ahead to find out their dress code. You don’t want to show up and not be let on the course because you’re not wearing the proper clothing. For casual golf clothing, both men and women should wear what they feel comfortable in whether it is shorts, skirts or skorts, lightweight slacks, and breathable tops.

Shoes and Socks Requirements

Men should wear golf shoes without metal spikes as most golf courses no longer allow them as they tend to create divots in the turf. Wear shoes with short dimples or that have plastic spikes that don’t damage the grass.

Almost all courses will require that men wear socks under their shoes. In many cases, it doesn’t matter what type of socks as long as you have them on your feet. However, some of the stricter clubs require socks that pull up almost to the knees. Don’t wear flip-flops, sandals, or casual shoes like sneakers on the course.

Shorts or Trousers?

When it’s hot outside, most clubs and courses don’t mind if the guys wear shorts, as long as they are modest. The length of the shorts should come just above the knee, and many clubs require them to be Dockers-style shorts.

The slacks should also be like Dockers or khakis, but golf slacks are also welcome. Golf slacks are made from breathable materials and are not as tight as other types of pants or trousers. Most courses do not allow jeans on their courses, and jean material can be difficult to play in as well.

Shirts for Playing

To get on the course, select almost any polo shirt that you have in your wardrobe. As long as it has a collar, almost any polo-style shirt will be appropriate for playing golf. Do not wear tank tops, V-necks, football, rugby, or hockey shirts. Players should always tuck in their shirts too.

Sweaters on the Course

It is acceptable to wear sweaters to play in when the weather is cold. The only requirements for sweaters are that players should tuck in the collars of the shirts beneath them into the necks and that they are not loose. Usually, a tight or fitted sweater makes it easier to play.

Rain Jackets

If you're going to be playing in the rain, choose a waterproof jacket or an anorak to wear. They can keep you dry, and they are acceptable to play in as long as they are form fitting and allow your arms to move freely. Do not try to wear ponchos out on the course.

Hats on Course

Men can wear ball caps, visors, or straw cabana type hats on most golf courses. Other types of hats shouldn’t be worn while playing golf because they could be distracting. Players’ hats should be clean and not too worn in appearance.

Sunglasses are Encouraged

While wearing sunglasses are not mandatory, wearing them is important for protecting eyesight, especially on bright sunny days. Polarized lenses help to reduce glare, so it’s easier for players to distinguish objects on the course. The frames should wrap around the face or have wide side pieces to block sunlight.

Golf Dress Codes for Women

Woman playing golf showing what to wear golfing

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Women who play golf also have dress codes, with some of the requirements like they are for men. They can choose to wear slacks, shorts, skirts, or skorts (which is a skirt/shorts combination), along with a breathable top, and the right shoes while playing. Check this list if you need to know what to wear golfing.

​Shoes and Socks

Women should wear shoes with soft or plastic cleats or nubs on the bottom of the soles to maintain their footing while twisting their feet or walking on the grass. Many athletic shoe manufacturers now make golf shoes that look like regular athletic shoes with plastic cleats or nubs built into the soles. 

Some golf shoe styles don’t have anything on the bottom, but the soles are non-slip to maintain balance on the grass. Socks are usually a requirement for players when they’re out on the course, but they can be sports ankle socks that do not show over the opening of the shoe. 

Some courses or clubs may allow women to wear golfing sandals and no socks, but women should call ahead the clubs or courses to find out if golf sandals fit the dress codes.

​Shorts, Slacks, or Skirts

The weather will usually dictate what a woman wears when she is playing a few rounds of golf. If it’s a chilly or windy day, then she may want to wear slacks. Khaki pants or Dockers-style trousers are two options for playing, though it’s important to wear breathable materials as not to get too hot on warm days.

Shorts, skirts, or skorts shouldn’t be too short, but more modest in length. While some more conservative country clubs may require that they come down past the knee, they are usually permitted if they are modest in length, such as coming above the knee about an inch or two.

Most golf apparel manufacturers will have shorts and skirts that fit most golf clubs dress codes, so buy clothing made especially for the sport. Cut-offs, athletic pants, and sundresses are not appropriate for playing at most clubs and courses.

​Tops for women

Like with the men, the main rule for playing on most courses is to wear tops with a collar, such as polo shirts. However, women have more options than men because they can also wear V-necks or sleeveless tops with collars, turtlenecks when it’s cooler, or collarless blouses with sleeves.

Select from breathable materials, especially those that wick sweat away from the body, so the material doesn't stick to the skin when sweating. Tee-shirts, halter tops, or tank tops should not be worn on the when playing and they may not be allowed on the premises if you’re having lunch or drinks in the clubhouse.

​Sweaters and Jackets

Most golf clubs and courses will allow women to wear standard sports sweaters or sweater vests when the weather is cool outside. Also, wind- or waterproof jackets are appropriate depending on the weather. 

Sweaters and jackets should be form-fitting to allow the arms and body to move freely, but not so tight they bind the arms. Do not wear denim jackets or anything with fur on it when golfing.

​Hats or visors

A visor will not only shade a woman’s eyes from the sun, but they can use them to keep hair from getting into their eyes or flying in their faces while playing. As with the guys, baseball-style caps, or straw golf hats are also allowed, although the brim on ball caps need to face forward.


​While they are not compulsory, it is a good idea to wear sunglasses, especially on sunny days. Any sports frames are acceptable, and a good pair of sunglasses for playing golf will have polarized lenses to make it easier to distinguish objects on the grass course.

Modern Golf Shoe Options

Three person wearing same kinds of golf shoe

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Golf shoes, or cleats, have undergone many changes over the last several years. Instead of having shoes in which spikes attach to the bottom, the Saddle Oxford debuted in 1906 and was still in use during the 1960s.

In the 1970s, most players wore white shoes made from leather or vinyl uppers. However, these shoes could cause feet to sweat during the late spring and summer when the temperatures were warm in most regions. Also during the 70s, players no longer had to screw in metal spikes on the soles of their shoes. Instead, shoe companies found a way to incorporate them on the soles.

The 1980s brought about more changes as golf shoe manufacturers focused more on making their shoes more athletic and flexible. Designers had shoes mold to the feet of players, and the concerns grew over the effects of metal spikes on the grounds.

In the 1990s, plastic spikes on shoes became the norm, which still exists today. Some shoes have plastic spikes, while others have nubs on the soles of shoes, and yet others have designs that don’t have spikes or nubs but are nonslip to maintain balance on the grass.

Golf shoes of the 21st Century come from most of the companies that also make athleticwear. The most popular golf shoe makers are:

  • ​Adidas
  • ​FootJoy
  • ​Nike
  • ​Puma
  • ​Sketchers
  • ​Ecco

These companies make the best golf shoes according to players, pro golfers, and designers in a 2018 survey. While you can still wear white athletic golf shoes if you so choose, you can select from many other colors as well. You may be able to find:

  • ​Black
  • ​Blue
  • ​Gray
  • ​Brown
  • ​Multicolor Patterns
  • ​Saddle Oxford Patterns

Most of these companies design men’s, women’s and children’s golf shoes.

Golf Apparel

Image of Mark Foster wearing white cap and black shirt

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Many of the golf shoe manufacturers also make clothing suitable for most golf or country clubs. Also, several golf equipment businesses also have apparel lines for men and women golfers. Some of the equipment manufacturers who have their names on clothing lines are:

  • ​Titleist
  • ​Callaway Golf
  • TaylorMade
  • Mizuno Golf
  • Ping Collection

Some of the golf shoe manufacturers with apparel lines include:

  • ​Nike
  • ​Adidas
  • FootJoy
  • Puma
  • ​Saucony

Many other apparel companies specialize in making golf clothing, such as Greg Norman, who was a successful professional golfer known as “The Shark.”

If you need to learn about what to wear golfing, then buy one of these brands as they usually make everything for wearing on a golf course from the right hats to the best shoes for the sport.

Featured Image Source: Unsplash

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