Golf may not be the elitist, upper-crust sport often portrayed in popular culture, but most courses impose clothing standards in keeping with the game’s traditions. In other words, you can’t just slip into your most comfy blue jeans and favorite T-shirt and head for the first tee.
Many golf facilities – especially those that are private, semi-private, or considered “upscale” public courses – require “proper golf attire,” typically defined as the following:
Men – You’re good to go in a collared (polo-style) or turtleneck/mock-turtleneck shirt; sweaters, vests and pullovers are fine too. T-shirts and tank tops… not so much. For pants, shorts are allowed as long as they’re not cutoffs; khakis or slacks are preferred in long pants; jeans and sweatpants are generally frowned upon.
Women – Collared shirts, blouses and turtlenecks are always welcome; sleeveless tops are usually OK as long as they have a collar. Make sure the midriff isn’t exposed while swinging. For bottoms, slacks, shorts, skirts (non-mini), skorts and capris are cool.
Hats and visors are allowed for both sexes. Sunglasses too. And it’s always best to wear socks.
Few if any courses require you to wear actual golf shoes, so sneakers or other athletic footwear will do. However, many courses have banned metal spikes, so if you wear golf shoes make sure they have the plastic kind.
Municipal courses (those owned and/or operated by a city or county) generally post more relaxed clothing rules, allowing for jeans and T-shirts provided they contain no offensive messages or images.
You can always check the course website or call ahead if you’re not sure what to wear.
For specifics on the best clothing for golf, read this piece: Dress for Comfort on the Course.