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What to Wear Golfing If You Don’t Have Golf Clothes: A Practical Guide

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Golf is a sport steeped in tradition and etiquette, and this extends to what players wear on the course. However, if you’re new to golf or haven’t yet invested in traditional golf attire, you might wonder what to wear golfing if you don’t have golf clothes. This guide will provide practical advice on how to dress appropriately for golf without conventional golf clothing. We’ll explore alternatives, tips for staying comfortable, and how to adhere to golf course dress codes.

Understanding Golf Course Dress Codes

Research Before You Go: Different golf courses have varying dress codes. Some may be more relaxed, while others maintain strict guidelines. Check the course’s website or call ahead to understand their specific requirements.

Typical Dress Code Elements: Most golf courses expect players to wear collared shirts, long pants or golf shorts, and proper footwear. Denim, athletic shorts, and t-shirts are often discouraged or prohibited.

Alternative Tops

Collared Shirts: If you don’t have a golf-specific polo shirt, a regular collared shirt will suffice. Opt for a polo or button-down shirt in a breathable fabric to keep you comfortable.

Mock Neck Shirts: Mock neck shirts can be a suitable alternative to traditional collared shirts. They provide a neat, professional look and are often accepted at many courses.

Athletic Shirts: Some courses may allow athletic shirts if they are neat and have a collar. Choose shirts made from moisture-wicking materials to stay dry and comfortable.


Khakis or Chinos: Khaki pants or chinos are excellent alternatives to golf-specific pants. They offer a similar look and are usually accepted at most courses.

Bermuda Shorts: If the weather is warm, opt for Bermuda shorts. Ensure they are knee-length and made from breathable fabric. Avoid cargo shorts or athletic shorts.

Skorts or Capris for Women: Women can consider wearing skorts (a combination of a skirt and shorts) or capris. These options provide comfort and meet most dress code standards.


Athletic Shoes: If you don’t have golf shoes, athletic shoes are a good alternative. Choose a pair with good traction to prevent slipping on the course.

Avoid Running Shoes: While athletic shoes are acceptable, avoid running shoes with thick soles and aggressive treads, as they can damage the greens.

Socks: Wear comfortable, moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry. Ankle-length or crew socks are both appropriate choices.


Sweaters and Jackets: On cooler days, layering is key. A lightweight sweater, windbreaker, or jacket can keep you warm without restricting your swing.

Rain Gear: If you anticipate wet weather, bring a waterproof jacket and pants. Many athletic brands offer rain gear that can serve well on the golf course.


Hats: A baseball cap or sun hat can help protect you from the sun. Some courses may require hats to be worn with the brim facing forward.

Gloves: Golf gloves can improve your grip and protect your hands. If you don’t have a golf glove, any athletic glove with good grip can be a temporary substitute.

Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the sun with a pair of polarized sunglasses. Ensure they fit well and do not obstruct your vision during your swing.

Practical Tips for Dressing Without Golf Clothes

Choose Breathable Fabrics: Opt for moisture-wicking, breathable materials to keep you cool and comfortable throughout your round.

Maintain a Neat Appearance: Even if you’re not wearing traditional golf attire, aim to look neat and presentable. Tuck in your shirt and avoid overly casual or sloppy clothing.

Plan for the Weather: Check the weather forecast before heading to the course. Dress in layers if it’s going to be cool, and choose light, breathable fabrics for hot days.

Pack an Extra Outfit: If you’re unsure about the dress code or the weather, bring an extra set of clothes. This ensures you’re prepared for any situation.

Etiquette and Attire

Respecting the Dress Code: Adhering to the dress code shows respect for the course and other players. Even if you’re improvising, aim to meet the spirit of the guidelines.

Confidence in Your Appearance: Dressing appropriately can boost your confidence on the course. Knowing you look the part can help you focus on your game.

Avoiding Common Mistakes: Avoid wearing denim, gym clothes, or overly casual attire. These choices can be seen as disrespectful and may result in you being asked to change or leave.

Examples of Acceptable Outfits

Men’s Outfit: A collared polo shirt, khaki pants or Bermuda shorts, athletic shoes, a baseball cap, and a lightweight jacket if needed.

Women’s Outfit: A collared shirt or blouse, skort or capris, athletic shoes, a sun hat, and a sweater or windbreaker for cooler weather.

Finding Affordable Golf Attire

Second-Hand Stores: Check thrift stores or second-hand shops for affordable golf attire. Many people donate barely-worn golf clothes, making it easy to find good deals.

Discount Retailers: Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or outlet malls often carry brand-name golf apparel at reduced prices.

Online Marketplaces: Websites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace can be great places to find gently used golf clothes at a fraction of the cost.

Adapting Athletic Wear for Golf

Breathable Shirts: Choose athletic shirts made from moisture-wicking materials that resemble the style of golf shirts.

Comfortable Bottoms: Opt for athletic shorts or pants that offer freedom of movement and a neat appearance.

Proper Footwear: Ensure your athletic shoes have good traction and are clean and presentable.

Key Terminology Related to Golf Attire

Collared Shirt: A shirt with a collar, typically a polo or button-down, required by most golf courses.

Bermuda Shorts: Knee-length shorts often worn for golf, offering a neat and professional appearance.

Mock Neck: A type of shirt with a high, round collar that does not fold over.

Skort: A combination of a skirt and shorts, providing the appearance of a skirt with the practicality of shorts.

Moisture-Wicking Fabric: Fabric designed to pull moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable.

Resources for Further Learning

To deepen your understanding of golf attire and find more tips on dressing for the course, consider exploring these high-quality external links:


Knowing what to wear golfing if you don’t have golf clothes can help you feel comfortable and confident on the course. By choosing appropriate alternatives and adhering to course dress codes, you can enjoy your round without worrying about your attire. Remember to prioritize comfort, respect the dress code, and maintain a neat appearance. With these tips, you’ll be ready to hit the links and focus on improving your game.

Happy golfing!

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