What Is Proper Golf Attire? — (Men's Dress Code Advice)

what is proper golf attire from tell me more golf instructors and coaches

Watch any golf highlight film from the 80s or 90s and you will quickly see how golf course dress codes have drastically changed over the decades. Go back to the PGA Tour of the 70s and golfers look very different from the pros of today. Golf has gone from bellbottoms to khakis to slim-fitting clothing and will continue to evolve to bring more players to the game.

If you’re looking for an article specifically for women, our coaches also have a guide for women’s dress code.

what is proper golf attire from tell me more golf instructors and coaches

Golfing Attire For Men

what is the golf dress code for men is an article that talks about our golf instructor s ideas about golf attire

Collared shirts and golf pants or golf shorts have been the norm at most golf clubs up until the last decade or so. As golf has appealed to a broader demographic, the list of appropriate attire for men has grown.

Golf Shirts

Most golf courses and country clubs still require a collared golf shirt or polo shirt for men, or a mock turtle neck made popular by Nike and Tiger Woods in the early 2000s.

At public courses and municipal golf courses, the rules for golf apparel are a little more relaxed.

This means that some will allow t-shirts, and even tank tops or other sleeveless tops.

Golf Pants

At country clubs, male golf attire consists of shorts or long pants, in materials like cotton or polyester. Golf clubs prefer dressier options for slacks. Pants or shorts often have a pleat to them or can be flat-front.  Players should always wear a belt with their shorts or pants.

Note that some courses will only allow golfers to play in pants. So, be sure to check the official dress code rules beforehand. There are many different types of acceptable golf pants. My guidance would be to avoid jeans if at all possible. Even if a course allows jeans, they are very uncomfortable, warm, and restricting so you may not play your best.


Golf dress codes for men are going to vary by course, however, there are some general guidelines to follow to make it easier on yourself. 

Most in the game are trying to expand the accessibility of golf courses to a larger demographic and to help those efforts, many golf courses are expanding the acceptable attire.

In terms of shorts, most courses allow men to wear cargo shorts, khaki shorts, and chino shorts, but not gym shorts.

While that may seem obvious to those who have been golfing for some time, it is understandable that some may think a less dressy option is ok.

For golf pants, men can wear standard khaki pants, cargo pants, or capri pants (golf-specific brands), but not sweatpants. Athletic pants are typically not allowed because they have the appearance of sweatpants, but some golf apparel companies make all-weather pants that look like athletic pants.

Dress codes are changing for the better. The more that dress codes choose to allow, the more golfers will feel comfortable going to the course to play.


Traditional Golf Attire

Having played golf for almost three and half decades, I have noticed that the traditional attire is still followed but golfers are allowed to be more creative with their wardrobes. Some older golfers prefer a more traditional golf attire which means plain khaki shorts and a polo shirt tucked in with a black or brown belt. For women, the traditional golf attire has consisted of shorts, skirts, pants, capris, and polo shirts with or without sleeves.

For quite some time, traditional meant fairly standard options. Baseball caps and visors are standard for headwear and have been for a long time. However, these options are no longer just for blocking the sun. There are lots of niche clothing companies that are capitalizing on the growth of golf by offering more fashionable options versus traditional ones.

Golf Attire: Shoes

You will be hard-pressed to find many shoe options with metal spikes nowadays. This is because metal spikes do quite a bit of damage to golf course greens and other sensitive areas. Soft spikes or spikeless shoes have become the norm as they provide traction during your golf swing, are easy on the course, and are better for your body while walking.

Shoes have also evolved to be more stylish and functional. The first pair of golf shoes that I owned was a pair of FootJoys that looked like dress shoes and were at least twice as heavy as golf shoes are today. Today I have a pair of shoes that conform to my foot, which allows me to comfortably walk the course, and feel like I could play basketball in them.

FAQ Section

What to wear golfing if you don’t have golf clothes?

If you don’t have golf clothes and are trying to get a round in, there may be some relevant substitutes. If you have a dress shirt and dress pants, you will likely be fine to play. Depending on the golf course, you may be able to get away with gym shorts if you have a polo shirt. The rule is really to consider your appearance overall. If you feel like you’re going to the gym or lounging around, then that outfit is no good. If you feel like you’ll be overdressed, you will probably be fine to play but you’ll likely be uncomfortable.

What should you not wear while golfing?

Do not wear shorts or shirts that are cut off. Do not wear very short shorts or leggings. Do not wear any clothing that may be offensive to others. Do not wear a golf outfit that will be too hot or too cold. These are some basics, but try to look up a course dress code if you are unsure.

How should you dress for golf?

Try to dress comfortably within the dress code of a golf course. Most clubs are fine if you have made an effort to adhere to the dress code. Wear pants, shorts, or a skort and a polo shirt or a lady’s golf shirt.

Does golf have a dress code?

Overall golf does not have a universal dress code but a course website will typically lay out what is acceptable.

What is formal golf attire?

Formal golf attire means pants for men and knee-length shorts, skorts, or pants for women. It also means a collared shirt or polo shirt for both sexes. There is no clear definition of formal golf attire but from my experience, PGA Tour and LPGA Tour pros are typically wearing what would be considered formal.

Conclusion: Research by Tellmemoregolf.com

black tell me more golf compressed logo with mottled background information for golfers

The overall theme here is that proper golf attire has changed, for the better, over the past several decades. Each sector of golf apparel has expanded its options while continuing to innovate with different materials and styles for everyone’s benefit.

There are many positives to this growth and expansion, but the most important is that it helps grow the game by allowing more people to dress in their unique styles. TellMeMoreGolf continues to report on the evolution of the game. Our team shows its passion for the game by highlighting information that is relevant to the game as it is today.


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
Our golf instructor team brings it all to you, so enjoy!
Tell Me More Golf Browser Icon Theme for Website


Tell Me More Golf Instructor Free Golf Tips Coaching Advice and Expert Instructional Courses for Free