In sports and life, clothes and confidence go hand-in-hand. When you wear attire that makes you feel confident and helps you look your best, your mood and performance naturally improve.
While the right shoes or pair of shorts might not magically improve your golf game, they can help you feel more comfortable on the course. This allows you to relax and enjoy the game, as well as the company of those around you.
Not sure what to wear as you prepare to hit the greens? Today, we’re breaking down the basics of golf attire and sharing everything you need to know.
Basic Golf Fashion
The basics of golf fashion aren’t too difficult to learn. With a few purchases, you can stock your closet full of all the items and accessories you need. The essentials to check for include:
- A great pair of comfortable khaki pants
- Khaki shorts that hit above the knee
- A collared polo shirt
- Soft-spike or spikeless golf shoes
- White socks
- Preferred headgear (baseball cap, visor)
Let’s take a closer look.
Why khakis? They’re versatile, smart, and go with nearly every shirt in your closet. They’re also designed to be more lightweight and breathable than jeans.
When picking a pair, check the length. You definitely don’t want highwaters, but make sure the hem is long enough. Ideally, it should sit right on top of your shoes, so your pants can hang straight and not bunch up at your ankles.
Need a little extra support as you swing? If so, remember to choose slacks with belt loops! Not only do they keep your pants secure around your waist, but they also help the outfit look smarter.
If the weather is warm and you prefer to switch to shorts, keep them right above your kneecaps and pair them with short, white socks. Anything shorter can be deemed inappropriate and anything longer will look unkept.
Another quick tip? Save the cargo shorts for camping. Not only do they look too bulky, but some courses restrict them altogether.
In terms of colors, most beginner golfers choose to stick to basic neutrals before venturing into bolder color and pattern choices. Popular choices include cream, khaki, beige, gray, and tan.
Polo shirts should be considered essential golfing gear. If possible, look for one that’s made out of breathable or moisture-wicking fabric so you can stay cool on the course and ensure it comes with a collar. While 100% cotton versions might look comfortable, they can cause you to overheat, especially if you’re playing on a hot day.
Go ahead and buy both short-sleeved and long-sleeved versions so you’re covered for every season.
T-shirts look unprofessional and again, some courses don’t allow them. It’s worth investing in a few solid-colored Polos that you can keep on high rotation. Tuck them into your pants for extra polish, and you’re good to go!
The best golf shoes come with soft spikes to deliver both traction and comfort. If you’re playing the full 18 holes, you’ll be glad you chose a pair that enhances your stability.
While some PGA pros still wear metal spikes, they can damage the greens so most facilities prohibit them. They can also become uncomfortable after hours of walking.
While you do want to stay comfy while you play, note that this isn’t an opportunity for you to rock your favorite sneakers or tennis shoes. Not only are they too slippery for most courses, but they also look out of place. Golf shoes aren’t cheap, but a great-quality pair will last for years.
If the studs bother you while you walk, look for a pair of studless golf shoes designed to remove that pressure without compromising your form.
Short, white socks are a mainstay for all golfers. Not only do they look sharp and crisp, but they aren’t distracting or off-putting. Especially on the days when you wear shorts, keep them ankle-length at the highest.
You’ll be walking a ton on the course, and you want socks that will stay up and remain in place. Longer options tend to fall and bunch up, which can look messy. Keep in mind, however, that a select number of courses require golfers to wear long solid socks with sorts, so be sure to check the rules before you go.
If you’re wearing long slacks, any type of trouser sock will do. Just make sure they’re not too boldly patterned and keep them neatly hidden under your pants.
When it’s sunny outside, you may want to grab a hat or visor before you put your clubs in the car. When this is the case, remember to keep it simple. A basic, fitted ballcap is best, as it keeps the sun out of your eyes without being too bulky or distracting.
If you want to show off your personality a little and make a style statement, you can also look into straw golf hats. Professionals like Ben Hogan loved to rock this look, and it can be classy when done right. Narrow-rim bucket hats can also work, as long as the rim doesn’t extend out too far.
Layers to Consider
In addition to the basic men’s golf wardrobe described above, you may also need to pack other outer layers, such as a sweater or jacket. Remember to check the weather before you head out for a day on the course!
A simple, nylon rain jacket is usually all that you’ll need if the weather turns wet. On chilly days, look for a classic, solid-colored ribbed sweater or vest that you can easily slip on top of your Polo shirt for extra warmth.
Extras and Accessories
The items we’re going to talk about next aren’t usually required at golf courses. However, they can help enhance your comfort and could even improve your game, which can benefit high handicap golfers.
Here are a few of the most common golf accessories:
- Golf gloves
- Golf bag
If you find that you have a difficult time maintaining a grip on your golf clubs, you may want to invest in a great pair of gloves. Typically, you’ll wear a single glove on your non-dominant hand. This means that right-handed golfers will wear one on their left hand and left-handed golfers will wear one on their right hand.
Don’t forget to pack a golf bag! Most courses don’t allow you to walk around with your clubs in your hand. Look for one that’s easy to maneuver and big enough to hold all of your gear.
If you prefer to wear jewelry while playing golf, try to stick to pieces that are tight-fitting, small, and not too expensive. Not only do flashy rings, necklaces, and bracelets look out of place, but they can also get damaged as you play.
What Not to Wear
As you plan for your golf outing, it’s equally important to know what not to pack. Here are a few items we recommend leaving at home:
- Sports jerseys
- Shirts with big slogans
- Shirts with foul language
- Denim jackets
- Capris or three-quarter-length shorts
- Athletic shorts
- Cut-off shorts
- Flip-flops, thongs, or sandals
- Shoes with heels
- Backward caps
- Large hats
- Large, noticeable jewelry
This list isn’t too difficult to follow, especially considering the degree of professionalism that most golf courses want to uphold. If you’re questioning whether a particular item is appropriate or not, we suggest leaving it out and choosing something you know will look polished and respectful.
Practicing in Your Clothes
Practice makes you a stronger golfer, but it’s important to look the part. If you’re practicing at a driving range near the golf course, you may need to follow the same dress code as you do on the greens. Call before you go to make sure you’re following their rules and recommendations.
On the other hand, most standalone driving ranges will allow you to hit balls in any type of attire you like. While this freedom might sound great, we still recommend suiting up in your khakis, Polo, golf shoes, and more. The more you practice in those clothes, the more comfortable you’ll feel in them.
Even the smallest detail, such as the height of your shoes or where the seam on your shirt touches your shoulder, can affect your swing. If you get accustomed to the way the fabrics feel on your body, you won’t be as distracted when it really counts.
Choose the Right Golf Attire
As you enhance your closet with new golf attire, remember to put those clothes to good use. Practice in them, wear them to the course, and familiarize yourself with the way they hang on your body. Then, when it’s time to hit the greens, you’ll know exactly what to wear — and what to do.
Looking for more advice designed specifically for high handicap golfers? We’ve got you covered with tons of tips and tricks. Check out our recent posts, including this guide on how to choose the correct putter length!