What to Wear Golfing if You Don't Have Golf Clothes?

Golf is a sport steeped in tradition, and this extends to the attire worn on the course. Golfing attire is not just about style; it plays a significant role in maintaining comfort and mobility, adhering to course etiquette, and respecting the game's culture. However, if you’re new to golf or simply don’t have specific golf clothing, you might wonder what you can wear that won’t make you stand out for the wrong reasons.

This guide is designed to help you navigate the dress codes and etiquette of golf courses without needing to invest in a brand-new wardrobe. Whether you're invited to a last-minute game or just trying out the sport, there are plenty of alternatives in your existing closet that will keep you comfortable and looking appropriate on the greens. Let's explore the best options for tops, bottoms, footwear, accessories, and weather-specific gear so you can confidently step onto the golf course.

Dress Codes and Etiquette at Golf Courses

Golf is more than just a sport; it's a blend of tradition, style, and respect. While the dress code may seem like a set of strict rules, it’s really about upholding the spirit of the game and ensuring everyone enjoys their time on the course.

Common Dress Code Elements

  1. Collared Shirts: Think of the collared shirt as your golden ticket to any golf course. Polo shirts or button-downs with collars are the go-to. These shirts offer a blend of casual elegance and functional comfort.
  2. Proper Bottoms: When it comes to bottoms, the aim is to balance comfort with a touch of sophistication. Khaki pants or chinos are classics, offering both style and ease of movement. If it's a hot day, tailored shorts are perfectly acceptable, provided they’re not too short or too casual. For women, skirts or skorts designed for sports add a touch of grace and practicality.
  3. Appropriate Footwear: Golf shoes are designed to keep you stable during your swing, but if you don't have them, fear not. Athletic shoes or sneakers can work well, as long as they don't have heavy treads that could damage the green. Steer clear of sandals, flip-flops, and boots; they’re a no-go on the golf course.
  4. Hats and Caps: Hats aren’t just for style; they’re essential for sun protection. A clean, simple baseball cap or visor works perfectly. Just make sure it’s appropriate for the setting—no slogans or flashy designs that could be distracting.

Etiquette Beyond Dress Code

Golf etiquette extends beyond just what you wear; it’s about how you carry yourself on the course. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it Neat: Your clothes should be clean and neat, even if they're not high-end golf attire. Think of it as showing respect for the game and your fellow players.
  2. Respect the Course: This includes fixing any divots you make, raking bunkers after you’ve been in them, and adhering to the pace-of-play guidelines. Treat the course as you would your own garden—with care and consideration.
  3. Be Mindful of Others: Golf is as much about the people you play with as it is about the game itself. Dress modestly and avoid outfits that might distract other players. Remember, you're part of a community out there.
  4. Adhere to Specific Club Rules: Some private clubs have their own unique dress codes, often more stringent than public courses. These might include tucking in your shirt or wearing specific types of socks. It’s always a good idea to check ahead if you’re playing somewhere new.

Essential Considerations

Comfort and Mobility

Golf requires a range of motion for swings, putts, and walks across varying terrain. Your clothing should be comfortable and allow for easy movement. Avoid anything too tight or restrictive, as this can hinder your performance and enjoyment. Lightweight, breathable fabrics are ideal for maintaining comfort throughout your game.

Weather Conditions

The weather can significantly impact your comfort on the golf course. On hot days, you’ll need breathable fabrics and sun protection, while cooler days might require layers to keep warm. Rainy weather necessitates waterproof gear to stay dry. Planning your outfit based on the forecast will help you stay comfortable no matter the conditions.

What to Wear if You Don’t Have Professional Golf Wear?

Casual Golf Outfit

Finding yourself on the fairway without traditional golf attire doesn’t mean you have to sit out the game. Many items from your existing wardrobe can be perfectly suitable substitutes. Here's how to dress appropriately and comfortably without professional golf wear.


  1. T-Shirts: While not always the first choice for golf, a plain, well-fitting T-shirt can work on more relaxed courses. Avoid graphic tees and opt for solid colors or subtle patterns.
  2. Collared Shirts: If you don’t have a golf polo, a regular polo shirt works just as well. Casual button-down shirts with collars are also a great option. They provide the required look while keeping you comfortable and stylish.
  3. Cropped T-Shirts: For women, cropped T-shirts can be acceptable if they’re not too short and the course is more casual. Pair them with high-waisted bottoms for a balanced look.
  4. Sweaters and Vests: On cooler days, a lightweight sweater or vest can be layered over your shirt. Avoid hoodies and sweatshirts, which are generally considered too casual for most courses.
What to Wear Golfing if You Don't Have Golf Clothes?
Golf Collar Tops


  1. Joggers: If your joggers are made from a more tailored, less athletic-looking material, they can be a comfortable alternative. Opt for neutral colors and ensure they fit well.
  2. Sweatpants: In some relaxed environments, neat, well-fitted sweatpants might be acceptable. Choose a pair that looks more like casual wear than gym attire.
  3. Khakis and Chinos: These are ideal substitutes for traditional golf pants. They offer a neat, tailored appearance and allow for ample movement, ensuring you can swing freely without restriction.
  4. Sport Shorts: Athletic shorts made from moisture-wicking materials can work if the course is more lenient. Ensure they are of a modest length and not overly casual.
  5. Tailored Shorts: On warmer days, opt for tailored shorts that reach just above the knee. Cargo shorts or gym shorts are too casual and should be avoided.
  6. Casual Skirts or Skorts: For women, skirts or skorts made from comfortable, breathable materials are a suitable choice. They offer the freedom of movement needed for the game while maintaining a stylish appearance.
Golf Leggings
Golf Shorts


  1. Athletic Shoes: Athletic shoes or sneakers with good support are a versatile choice. Make sure they have minimal tread to avoid damaging the greens. Neutral colors like white, black, or gray are preferable.
  2. Socks: Opt for low-cut or ankle socks in neutral colors. Avoid flashy or brightly patterned socks, as these can be distracting and are generally not in keeping with golf course etiquette.


  1. Hats and Caps: A baseball cap or visor can help protect you from the sun. Choose a simple, clean design that complements your outfit.
  2. Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from glare with a pair of sporty sunglasses. They not only enhance your comfort but also improve your performance by reducing visual strain.
  3. Belts: A simple leather or fabric belt can complete your look and keep your outfit tidy. Avoid large buckles or overly decorative belts.

Weather-Specific Gear

  1. Light Jackets or Windbreakers: For cooler weather, a light jacket or windbreaker can provide warmth without restricting your swing. Choose something that’s easy to move in and doesn’t add bulk.
  2. Rain Gear: If you’re caught in a shower, a waterproof jacket and pants can keep you dry. Make sure they’re lightweight and breathable to avoid overheating.
  3. Hot Weather Gear: On hot days, breathable fabrics and light colors can help keep you cool. Consider wearing a hat and applying sunscreen to protect against sunburn.

Typical Golf Clothing Etiquette for Men and Women: The Dont's

While understanding what to wear is crucial, knowing what not to wear is equally important to avoid any fashion faux pas on the golf course. Here are some key "don'ts" to keep in mind when choosing your golf attire:

For Men:

  1. No T-Shirts or Tank Tops: Avoid wearing T-shirts or tank tops, as these are generally considered too casual for most golf courses. Opt instead for collared shirts, even if they are not specifically designed for golf.
  2. Avoid Jeans: Jeans are typically not permitted on golf courses due to their casual nature. Stick to tailored trousers, khakis, or golf-specific pants for a polished appearance.
  3. No Athletic Shorts: While athletic shorts are comfortable, those with large logos, bright colors, or excessively baggy styles are not appropriate for golf. Choose tailored shorts that reach just above the knee.
  4. Sandals or Flip-Flops: Footwear such as sandals, flip-flops, or any open-toed shoes are generally not allowed on golf courses. Opt for athletic shoes or golf-specific shoes with soft spikes or spikeless soles.
  5. Avoid Loud Patterns: While it’s okay to add some personality to your outfit, avoid clothing with loud patterns, large logos, or flashy designs that can be distracting or clash with the traditional atmosphere of the course.

For Women:

  1. No Sleeveless Tops: Sleeveless tops may not be accepted on some golf courses, so it's safer to choose sleeveless shirts or tanks with collars or opt for blouses that meet the dress code requirements.
  2. Avoid Short Skirts or Skorts: Ensure skirts, skorts, or shorts are of an appropriate length—typically just above the knee. Avoid overly short styles that may be deemed inappropriate for golf.
  3. Avoid Leggings as Pants: While some courses may allow leggings designed for golf, avoid wearing regular leggings as pants without an appropriate top covering the hips.
  4. No High Heels or Wedges: Golf courses require stable footwear to protect the turf and provide stability during swings. Avoid high heels, wedges, or any shoes with heels that can damage the greens.
  5. Avoid Excessive Jewelry: While a subtle necklace or bracelet is acceptable, avoid wearing excessive jewelry that could interfere with your swing or distract other players.

By adhering to these "don'ts," both men and women can ensure they are dressed appropriately for golf while respecting the etiquette and traditions of the sport. This ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience on the course for everyone involved.