If you’ve never golfed at a private country club before, just know that style-wise it can feel like a whole different world. On any given golf course, you’re sure to spot at least a few pastel-colored pants, goofy-looking shoes and flat caps that look like they came straight from the set of Peaky Blinders.
We won’t try to explain golf style because, frankly, we can’t. It’s weird. It’s wacky. Most of it doesn’t even belong in this decade, or even the last for that matter. It’s just what happens when you force club members to follow two simple rules:
No blue jeans.
You must wear a collared shirt.
With these two rules as the defining boundaries for golf style, it’s hardly a surprise that golfers began experimenting with zany colors and patterns. It was like opening up Pandora’s box of quirky golf style. It just couldn’t be undone.
Though we may give golf style a hard time, the truth is that you don’t need to adopt a clownish getup just to play on that beautiful expanse of emerald-green. You do, however, need to adhere to the two rules above and possibly a few more depending on the dress code of the specific course you’re visiting.
If you’re still lost on what you should and shouldn’t wear on the golf course, don’t sweat it. To help everyone hit the links without making a major fashion faux pas, here’s your go-to style guide on what to wear golfing.
What to Wear Golfing: Men
Remember those ugly argyle sweater vests and triple-pleated pants that your grandpa used to wear when he golfed? Bless your old gramps, but those days are thankfully long, long gone.
Today, men’s golf attire has evolved into a practical blend of classic menswear meets modern technology. Thankfully, it’s now far more common to see guys rocking performance polo shirts on the green than it is to see tartan plaid sweater vests.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the next Tiger Woods or channeling Happy Gilmore with your golfing technique, here is a quick look at everything you need to tee off in style.
Performance Polo Shirt
If you’ve ever watched a golf tournament on television, you’ve probably seen plenty of pro golfers wearing polo shirts on the green. Classic, refined and inherently sporty, the polo shirt is practically the unofficial uniform of the PGA and, in fact, is often referred to as a men’s golf shirt.
Of course, you don’t need to be Rory McIlroy or Phil Mickelson to don a polo shirt. You just need to make sure to get the fit right: Not too snug, but also not baggy enough to be mistaken for a Target employee who somehow got lost on a golf course.
The other big secret to rocking a men’s polo shirt on the golf course? Choosing the right one to suit your needs. Though we might be a little biased, here’s why we believe Southern Tide’s polo shirts are a hole-in-one:
They’ll keep you cool in the summer. Let a heat wave get in the way of your game? Not a chance. Our brrr Collection shirts are made with fabric technology designed to keep you three degrees cooler.
They’re moisture-wicking and quick-drying. Many of our polo shirts come in moisture-wicking fabrics with quick-dry technologies, which are sure to come in handy for wiping away your tears when your boss mercilessly crushes your spirit on every hole. Plus, they won’t stick to you when you start to get, well, sticky in the hot sun.
They have built-in sun protection. Speaking of the hot sun, did someone say UPF 50+ sun protection? Oh yeah, we did. Our UPF polo shirts are designed to offer additional protection from the sun when your sunscreen just isn’t cutting it.
It’s kind of our thing. It all started with our Skipjack polo, the classic fit polo that remains a best seller. We introduced the Skipjack polo in 2006 and we haven’t stopped working to perfect our premium-quality polo shirts ever since.
Because you’ll look good AF. “Man, that guy looks really sexy in his golf clothes,” said no one, ever. Until you stepped onto the course in one of our polos, that is.
For sunny days out on the golf course, look for a pair of men’s khaki shorts that are equal parts style and performance. Opt for a classic fit with a hemline no more than one or two inches above the knee.
In other words, save those tiny little short shorts of yours for another time—such as never. Really, just go ahead and burn those and never let them see the light of day again.
Whether you’re golfing in cold weather or simply prefer to wear pants year-round, a pair of men’s khaki pants with stretch fabric is the ideal golf pant for private golf courses. The stretchy fabric is essential because it will help you follow through with your swing, even if you miss the golf ball entirely (you’re doing great, sweetie).
Another must-have feature in your golf pants is moisture-control, especially during the summertime. Why is this a must? Just ask pro golfer Robert Garrigus and his infamous swamp ass incident of 2010. Never forget.
Additional Style Tips for Men
Wear spike-less golf shoes on the course. If you don’t have golf shoes, a nice pair of tennis shoes is also suitable
Layer for cold weather. Stay warm when the temperature drops with a cozy men’s pullover that helps you ace your style.
Bring your sunglasses. Otherwise, you’ll be squinting the entire time. While you’re at it, pick up a sunglass strap to hold your shades while you swing.
Don’t wear your hat backward. This is a huge fashion faux pas at the country club. Keep it facing forward and take it off when you enter the clubhouse.
What to Wear Golfing: Women
Although women’s participation in golf didn’t become widespread until the 1920s, their golf fashion experienced no less of a dramatic evolution. To paint you a quick picture, women golfers went from blasting themselves out of sand traps in long, flowy skirts (cute, sure, but definitely not practical) to wearing form-fitting women’s active wear with a huge injection of personality.
That being said, you probably don’t want to straight-up copy some of today’s young, professional female golfers. (Recently, country clubs have been cracking down on the smaller skirts and body-hugging crop tops worn by pro golfers such as Michelle Wie.) If the pros aren’t safe from the golf dress code czars, that means none of us are.
To get your style up to par (hehe - see what we did there?), here’s our foolproof recommendations on what to wear golfing for women.
Similar to men’s golf style, polo shirts for women are a fairly common sight on the golf course. Cute, stylish and a key part of any woman’s wardrobe, the classic polo shirt is the perfect top for completing a quick round of golf after your daily grind.
Polo shirts meet the criteria of A) having a collar - necessary to meet dress code requirements at some courses; B) being super comfortable; and C) coming in a wide range of colors from classic white and navy to bright pops of pink and aqua, which is low-key important when you need something to brighten your mood after your third bogey. Or your fourth bogey. Or your fif— *aggressively tears up scorecard* It’s fine. You don’t need to keep score, anyway.
Athletic Quarter Zip Pullover
Ah, early morning tee times. The birds are chirping, the course is virtually untouched and there is still some dew on the grass. It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful. It’s also surprisingly cold, which is why layering up with a women's quarter zip pullover is basically a must in the wee hours.
Again, we don’t want to brag or anything, but our athletic quarter zips are nothing short of amazing. In fact, we’re pretty sure that Kanye West himself would interrupt the Athletic Quarter Zip Awards to tell everyone that our quarter zips are the greatest of all time (Note: We tried to confirm this, but Kanye West’s people said he couldn’t be reached for comment. So, whatever.)
What makes our athletic quarter zips so awesome? Let us count the ways:
It keeps you cool when you sweat. When you’re playing with the higher ups, you don’t need to let them see you sweat. Our athletic quarter zips are made with moisture-wicking technology, so you can keep cool and look graceful under pressure.
Super stretch. Made with stretch fabrics, our quarter zips are designed to move with your every stroke. Plus, the stretch fabric is super handy for when you need to quickly scarf down that ginormous breakfast burrito you stashed in your purse. Seriously, how do you even fit that in there? You know what, it doesn’t matter. You keep doing you, girl.
Plays well with others. Our athletic quarter zips are perfect for layering over your classic performance polo. In fact, we can’t think of a more perfect pairing. They’re like Ben and Jerry. Jekyll and Hyde. Pizza and pineapple (yep, you read that right. #teampineapplepizza4life).
For those annoying times when your boss absolutely insists on you skipping your lunch break and going golfing with a client in the middle of the workday, you need a look that’s appropriate for the office AND the greens. Let us introduce you to the women’s active dress. Made with performance fabrics that wick away moisture, dry quickly, protect against the sun, and- wait for it ladies- help resist wrinkles (the perfect dress doesn’t exi- yes it does); Active dresses will have you looking good from your early morning commute to the 18th hole. .
Whether you’re working on your swing at the driving range or sipping a refreshing Mint Julep in the club house, a cute and comfortable golf dress will help elevate both your game and your style. Just remember to keep the hemline appropriate. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your hemline isn’t shorter than your fingertips. (Pro tip: If it’s a particularly windy day, wear a pair of spandex shorts under your dress. Trust us.)
Speaking of wearing shorts under things, enter the golf skort. If you’re wondering, what the heck is a skort? then allow us to clear up any confusion. A skort is a skirt with shorts sewed-in underneath it—usually, spandex shorts. Kinda like how a spoon + fork = spork.
Golf skorts are immensely popular on the golf course, especially in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Though they can be a fun and stylish option, you’ll want to keep your golf skort modest with an appropriate hemline (see above). Otherwise, you might be steered toward the Pro Shop and asked to wear something that won’t raise any eyebrows.
If dresses and skirts aren’t your style, khaki shorts for women are another great option for hitting the links. Not only do khaki shorts look cute with a polo shirt or sleeveless top, they’re also well-suited for a late morning tee time on a hot summer day.
A word of caution about wearing shorts in the summer: If you have skin that tends to burn or freckle, stick to wearing pants with UPF protection. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like a lobster before you reach the back nine.
Additional Style Tips for Women
Wear golf shoes. Just like the men, dress code dictates that you should wear golf shoes or your best tennis shoes on the course.
Bring a golf glove. You just got that great gel manicure, don't ruin it with unsightly calluses.
Invest in good socks. Soggy feet are a total buzz kill. Invest in smart socks that wick away moisture and stash a spare pair in your bag.
What to Wear Golfing: Boys
Ah, yes. Introducing a rowdy little boy to a game that requires strong mental focus and patience. What could possibly go wrong?
All joking aside, golf is actually a great game for young boys because it teaches them new skills, both mental and physical. To encourage his passion for the game, help him dress the part with stylish (and appropriate) golf clothing for boys.
Given how much boys love to goof around, he’ll probably need boys’ golf clothes that are strong and durable enough to withstand grass stains, mud and the usual messes. With that in mind, here’s everything he needs to play the game in style.
Performance Polo Shirt
Just like dear old dad, your son is guaranteed to look sharp in a performance polo shirt. Not only does the polo shirt meet the collared shirt requirement many courses have (yes, golf dress code applies to the kiddos, too), it will also keep him cool and comfortable even while he’s angrily tossing his 9-iron in a bush.
We recommend a boys' performance polo shirt with UPF protection and moisture-wicking technology. Though he’ll probably need to apply sunscreen anyway, a little extra sun protection never hurt anyone.
What goes perfectly with a performance polo shirt? A sharp pair of golf shorts, of course. Unlike cargo shorts (which are a huge golf course no-no, BTW, and honestly a pretty big no-no in general in 2019), golf shorts for boys will pass the dress code test and will make him look classy on the golf course. Boys khaki shorts are classic, grey colored shorts are more modern, but if he consistently comes home with more than a few stains on his clothes, navy blue shorts might be a better option.
Golf Pants or Khaki Joggers
If you’re playing in cooler weather, swap his shorts for golf pants or khaki joggers. Though straight-legged pants are considered the more traditional option, many golf shops now sell golf course-approved jogger pants to appeal to the younger crowd.
While both pant styles pair well with a performance polo shirt, the safest bet is traditional golf pants. A classic pair of boy’s golf pants will fit in at any golf course and won’t get you any nasty side-eyes from the country club manager, whose rumbled grunts show he clearly disapproves of any newer “hip” golf style and probably blames millennials for ruining everything, including the game of golf.
What to Wear Golfing: Girls
Sure, your daughter might fall asleep in the golf cart by the ninth hole. That doesn’t mean she can’t dress like the pros (and look super adorable in the process, might we add).
When choosing golf clothes for young girls, a good rule of thumb is to stick to the same dress code as adult women. At the same time, let her have some fun choosing golf attire that speaks to her personality! Here are a few suggestions on what to wear golfing for young girls.
In case we haven’t pounded it into your skull by now, collared shirts are pretty much a must at most private country clubs. This goes for the girls as well.
When shopping for collared shirts, embrace fun colors or patterns. A pink polo shirt or a sleeveless collared top in purple stripes is perfect for young girls and won’t cross any lines at the club.
Is there anything more adorable than seeing a little girl tee off dressed like the pros? Golf skorts are the golf bottom of choice for most professional female golfers, which makes it all the more precious seeing your little one mimic their style.
Golf skorts will also serve the practical benefit of keeping your daughter from flashing everyone her Frozen-theme undies when she randomly decides to do cartwheels in-between strokes. Not that this wouldn’t also be ridiculously adorable, but we’re guessing that it’s probably against country club etiquette.
What to Wear to a Golf Tournament
Admit it, watching golf on television can be a total snoozefest. If you classify the early rounds of a televised golf tournament as “must-watch TV,” we’re guessing that watching paint dry is also one of your favorite pastimes.
However, watching a golf tournament in person can be a whole different experience. The crowd. The tension. The fan zone. It’s a real treat for amateur players and any budding golf enthusiast who wants a taste of the big leagues.
If you’re planning to be a spectator at an upcoming golf tournament, you need to look presentable (it’s a televised event, after all). To ensure that your style meets the unspoken dress code, here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
Keep it classy. Repeat after us: The fairway is not my runway. Now is not the time to wear your cheetah print romper or your sky-high stilettos.
Wear neutral colors. Avoid wearing loud prints and bold, neon colors that might call unnecessary attention to you. Yes, that goes for your bright orange hot pants.
Pick practical footwear. You’re probably going to be doing a TON of walking. Unless you want to end up with painful blisters on your feet, make sure to wear comfortable flats or tennis shoes.
Dress for the weather. Don’t be that person who is already absolutely drenched in their polo shirt by the 3rd hole. Check the forecast and bring an umbrella, a rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.
Wear denim. Blue jeans may be a classic style staple, but they have no place at a golf tournament. Stick to wearing khaki pants or a sun dress instead.
Forget to check your appearance. Golf tournaments are prestigious events where appearance is everything. Remember to iron or steam your clothes before you leave, tuck in your shirt and always match your belt to your shoes.
Wear heels. Heels will sink into the grass and instantly identify you as a total golf newbie. Wear a sturdy pair of sandals, tennis shoes or flats instead.
Bring a flask. Smuggling alcohol into a football game or a concert? Cool. Smuggling alcohol into a golf tournament? Not cool. It’s really that simple. Besides, most golf tournaments, like RBC Heritage, have places throughout the tournament grounds to purchase beer, wine & more.
And That’s the Tee
There are plenty of ways to embarrass yourself on a golf course. You could shank your shot in front of your boss. You could take a violent swing and lose balance, falling into wet grass. You could get caught doing the Running Man after you sink that 15 ft. putt.
But out of all the embarrassing things to happen on the golf course, nothing is worse than getting called out by the club owner for wearing the wrong thing. If you don’t want this cringe-inducing scenario to be your reality, be sure to check their dress requirements before you hit the links. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.