Golf Attire and Dressing Etiquette
To many, golf is a sport of class. A competition of wealth and riches.
Naturally, just looking at the way golfers dress gives off that vibe – they just look so vibrant!
That brings up an interesting question – what is the proper attire to wear while golfing?
I will give you the full rundown below. However, before we talk attire specificity, we must look at attire history.
Golf Attire: a Brief History
Golf, the kind we play today, originated in Scotland.
Scottish Highlands aren’t exactly known for their warm weather, so men had to dress accordingly. They wore starched collar shirts, neckties, and heavy tweed jackets on their upper body.
On the other hand, the lower body of a Scottish golfer bore short pants or knickerbockers, with study shoes on the feet. Tweed caps were also popular.
In the second decade of the 20th century, golfers wore single-breasted jackets, waistcoats, and knickers. Aside from this, they also had long stockings, golf shoes, and golf caps.
Wealthier men of the 1920s wore knickers that had four more inches in length, the “plus fours.”
Beyond that, they also wore long patterned socks and two-tone shoes, or “spectators.” The now-traditional knitted “Norfolk” cardigan jacket completed this arrangement.
The 1930s saw the emergence of flannel trousers, normally white or gray in color. In the meantime, neckties stopped being popular among golfers.
During one heatwave in 1933, casual clothing replaced heavier outfits, and by the early 40s, we got the modern attire we use today.
Golf Attire For Beginners
Before I move on with this paragraph, I should stress a few things. Beginner golfers do not, and I repeat, do not need to buy professional attire right away.
The text below will describe what proper attire entails, and most of these clothing items can be found in local or online retail stores.
Not to mention that used items can work too, as long as they’re clean and show little wear and tear.
Beginner golfers should not worry too much about getting the right brand, as long as the clothing item fits.
As such, I will not mention specific golfing brands. These are easily Google-able.
I will focus exclusively on what the items are and how they should be worn. Beyond that, I leave the shopping to the reader.
Golf Attire for Male Golfers
Golf started off as a gentleman’s game. Therefore, it’s only natural that all attire derives from the original, male one.
In fact, golf might be one of those rare facets in life where men can outdress women.
Golf today has a somewhat strict set of rules when it comes to male clothing. Of course, each course will have its own dress code, but most revolve around one set of attire choice.
For men, the choice is obvious – golf shirts. In other words, shirts with collars and short sleeves.
Typically, a golf shirt is slightly longer than a regular shirt, so tucking it in is a must. If a golfer is wearing a cardigan or a sweater over it, he should tuck the collar in as well.
These shirts are more than enough in hot weather. However, there will be games during a rainy or windy afternoon. For this occasion, long-sleeved cotton shirts are great.
Pullover sweaters and windbreakers are also allowed during colder games, as they add style and charisma to the player, alongside protection.
During summer, knee-length shorts work the best. In fact, the appropriate length is just above the knee.
A golfer can have these shorts tailor-made, which would add to the classiness. Long trousers will do for colder days, made from softer materials like cotton.
Golf Attire for Female Golfers
Unlike their male colleagues, the ladies don’t have that strict of a dress code when it comes to golf. They still have to wear conservative garb, but the rules are a bit looser.
For warmer weather, the golfer will wear a collared short-sleeved shirt. However, she doesn’t have to tuck hers in – it can flow just above the bottoms.
Another bonus is that her shirt can be sleeveless. Light jackets, windbreakers, and sweater vests will suffice during colder days.
A typical female golfer has the choice of knee-high shorts or skirts. They should be cotton and single-colored.
As is the case with men, they need to wear long, cotton socks on their feet. Long trousers will do during windy or rainy games.
One thing goes without saying for both genders – golf shoes help. They aren’t obligatory, but golfers like myself simply cannot swing as well without them.
Most golf shoes have spikes, which the player can remove and reattach any time he or she wants. They help keep the body in check and not lose posture during a swing.
Most sporting retailers carry golf shoes, but anyone can get a pair online. They are the one clothing item worth investing in, as they directly impact one’s game.
Some golf clubs and organizations rent golf shoes, but owning a pair will make a golfer feel more secure and confident in their game.
What to Avoid When Dressing for Golf
The list of don’t’s is a big one, but I’ll try to summarize some of the most common mistakes newbie golfers make when dressing for the game. First off, do not wear any clothing that would attract negative attention.
In other words, no multicolor hippie shirts, or shirts with slogans, etc. Torn or ill-fitting outfits are also a no-no.
My game needs to be top-notch, and I won’t sink a hole if I wear hip-hop denim jeans and a hoodie twice my size.
Golfers’ manners and etiquette show on their appearance. Therefore, the appearance must be reserved and suave.
When it comes to caps, wearing one is okay, but it’s best not to wear it flipped like Vanilla Ice. Shirts should have a nigh-elbow length for men or even be sleeveless for women, but nothing beyond that.
Men who wear shorts should choose only the ones that end slightly above the knees. Women, on the other hand, should not wear miniskirts or shorter shorts, nor should they wear shirts that expose their cleavage.
Finally, nothing on the golfer’s body should be made of denim or any other harsh material. Cotton is the way to go.
If a golfer decides to accessorize, they ought to match their outfit. A phosphorescent belt will not go with a tweed jacket or a nutmeg pair of shorts, but a brown one will.
Furthermore, it goes without saying that piercings, bracelets, extensive jewelry, etc. are all far from being a good idea on the golf course.
What Should I Wear if I Don’t Have Golf Clothes or Golf Shoes?
Before I got my professional attire, I purchased all of my stuff in second-hand shops. All of it.
Polo and golf shirts can be found cheaply even in regular retail stores, as can trousers, shorts, skirts, socks, and even hats.
Now, I would advise investing in golf shoes from the get-go. However, not every beginner golfer has that kind of money.
Not to worry – regular running shoes or sneakers that have a good grip will do. They don’t even have to have spikes or cleats.
Golf can, indeed, be an expensive game when it comes to dressing.
In fact, professional golfers often get decent endorsements from popular brands whose products cost a lot of money.
Add to that the price of golf sets and equipment and it can be frustrating.
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However, with a little planning and prior attire knowledge, anyone can get what they need for a decent price to start playing actively.
Recreational golf can be enjoyed with reasonably priced shirts, shorts, and shoes.
As the old saying goes – where there’s a will, there’s a way.