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Golf Dress Code – The Essential Guide

December 2019

The world of golf dress codes can often be a festival of pleats, patterns and dodgy socks.

Yet, with that aside, there are actually very few sports that give players as much freedom to express themselves as golf.

What you wear on a golf course generally depends on the type of course your playing and in what conditions. Yes its true, many golf clubs have strict dress codes which can often frighten beginners, however, following some simple rules will get you onto 99% of all golf courses.

Golf Dress Codes

Most golf clubs around the world will have some form of dress code. How strict this dress code is generally depends upon how exclusive and expensive the golf club is. For the more exclusive clubs, the dress code can often be extraordinarily strict.

We advise for both men and woman to ring a golf club ahead of time if you have not played there before. The person on the other end will give you all the advice you need when it comes to the course dress code. It is simply too much of a risk to just arrive and hope they let you on.

If it not possible to speak to the club prior to arriving then try not to dress too casually. This generally means avoid items of clothing such as jeans, shorts, tee-shirts, flip-flops and sandals. If you are playing at an exclusive club then we suggest playing it safe with a collared shirt, smart shorts/trousers (skirt for woman), belt and golf shoes

Casual Golf Dress Code

For more causal golfers just starting out, the priority is comfort. Once again, this means avoiding jeans and cotton clothing all together. Whist golf is not the most strenuous of sports, you’ll certainly get sweaty walking 5 miles on a hot summers day.

For both men and woman, wearing shorts/skirts and a breathable top is key. Most sport shirts and shorts will provide this. When it comes to footwear then most municipal courses will accept sport shoes, however, if you want to get the best performance then golf shoes will give you the most grip. We’re big fans of Nike shoes or FootJoy.

To help you really understand the essentials to the golf dress code, we have provided a list of clothing items for men and woman below.

The Clubhouse

If you would prefer not to drive or walk through town in your golf outfit then don’t panic, almost all golf clubs have change room facilities with lockers.

Most clubs will allow you into the clubhouse in the outfit you played in.

However, if you are wearing golf spikes then it is often required that you change shoes before entering the clubhouse. If you’re playing at a very posh club and are planning to eat or drink in the club then you may be required to change into casual / smart clothing

Golf Dress code for Men – Tip to Toe!



There is a whole world of golf shoe options available to players, however, only some types of golf shoes are allowed on certain courses.

Sound confusing? Don’t panic, it’s fairly straight forward.

Nowadays, most metal spiked golf shoes are banned from courses because of the way the metal spikes dig up the playing surface. The new version is shorter rough dimples that still give players grip when twisting on their strokes, but don’t tear up the course like the metal spikes. On casual course you’ll probably get away with tennis-style trainers or similar.

Avoid flip-flops, sandals and casual shoes.


Pretty much every golf club requires players to wear socks as a matter of course. Whist some of the more pedantic clubs insist that your socks must be pulled up to just below your knees, most clubs simply require that you wear normal sport socks.


In the old days most clubs only allowed trousers. Luckily times have changed and only a few courses still stick to this rule. On a hot day you are more than welcome to wear shorts, however, modesty is required and your golf shorts should be just above the knee length.


Golf trousers or chinos will generally be accepted, however it should be noted that golf trousers will be more comfortable and breathable than chinos. Jeans will not be accepted on most courses and will be uncomfortable to play in.


A golfer must have at least one golf shirt in their wardrobe as a matter of course.

The golden rule to keep in mind when choosing a golf shirt is that you require a collar. Wear a sensible polo shirt with a collar and you’ll get onto most courses.

Full sleeve shirts are also acceptable but tank tops, v-necks, halternecks, football and rugby shirts are certainly not.

Shirts must also be tucked in at all times.


Sweaters are perfectly acceptable, particularly when cold. However, the two rules to observe are as follows. Tuck your collar into the sweater and make sure the sweater is not loose fitting. Tighter is smarter and more comfortable when swinging.

Waterproof jacket

If you want to play through the rain then a waterproof jacket or anorak is needed. Like a sweater, make it as fitted as possible and avoid ponchos!

Hats and Caps

A hat is not mandatory by any means, but playing in the sun for 5 hours often requires one. Here you must use common sense. Whacky hats will not be allowed. Please use a simple sports cap or visor with the peak facing forward.


Sunglasses are also not mandatory but often required in bright sun. Any sport sunglasses will suffice.

Golf Dress Code for Woman – Tip to Toe!


Golf, being a very old and traditional sport, often requires woman to dress in a somewhat more conservative manner than they might be used to. Therefore, it is well worth reading up on the proper attire before hitting the golf course.


Similar to men, woman are generally required to wear soft-spiked golf shoes that don’t tear up the ground. Avoid metal spiked shoes as these are banned in many clubs now. If you can’t obtain either then standard sport shoes will often be enough – check with the club though. Obviously footwear such as sandals, high heels and going out shoes will not be allowed on the course.


Short ankle socks are appropriate on the golf course. However, in extremely hot conditions you could potentially wear ‘golf sandals’ without socks. Golf sandals have enough grip but allow plenty of air around your feet.


If not wearing trousers, woman are required to wear skirts or golf shorts. Exclusive clubs will require that your skirt come below the knee, however, many clubs will just require the skirt to not be excessively short. Female golf shorts are also available and will be accepted in most clubs. Cut off jeans, sun dresses and athletic pants are not permitted.


Khaki pants or slacks are usually the most comfortable option for women on the golf course. Female golf trousers are also an excellent choice. A good fitting breathable pair of trousers will be best for your comfort.


The golden rule, like with men, is to wear a shirt with a collar. However, unlike men, woman are given the option of v-necks (with collar) and sleeveless shirts (also with collars). Some courses will also except collarless blouses with sleeves. Turtleneck tops are also widely accepted. Please avoid tank tops, t-shirts and halters.

Sweaters and jackets

Standard sport sweaters are generally accepted. You can also wear a warm buttoned down shirt on most courses. Waterproof and windproof jackets are also accepted, however, avoid silly things like denim jackets or fur jackets. Try to make jackets and sweaters as tight fitting as possible for ease of swing.


Not compulsory, but a good sports hat will protect you on sunny days. If you don’t want to mess you hair then a sports visor is also acceptable. Always have the peak of the hat facing forward.


Once again, not compulsory, but advisable in bright sun. Any sport sunglasses are accepted.

Thats it! We hope you have enjoyed this guide on golf dress code. If you have any further questions then please don’t hesitate to get in contact. Always remember though, ringing ahead is the best option to avoid disappointment!

About the author 

Paul Bradshaw

Paul hit his first golf shot at the age of 5, and from that point on was immediately hooked. He went on to become one of the leading amateurs in South Africa, securing a full golf scholarship with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Turning professional in 2004, Paul played extensively on the Sunshine Tour and co-sanctioned European Tour events. Paul is our lead editor at Golf Assessor.

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