Unlike sports such as football and basketball which are played by the masses, golf has a reputation as a rather snooty sport enjoyed primarily by the upper-class. While this isn’t true, there are certain practices associated with golf that help maintain its distinguished image. First of all, golf can only be played on specially designed and maintained golf courses, and these aren’t always readily available. There are also numerous costs associated with playing golf, such as club membership fees, equipment costs and apparel costs.
The upscale image associated with golf is also due in part to the dress worn by players. In fact, many golf courses have a dress code to ensure that players meet certain dress requirements. If you are new to the golf course scene, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding golf dress codes.
First, not all golf courses have a dress code. If you are headed to a municipal golf course (one owned and operated by a town or city), there probably will not be dress requirements. T-shirts and shorts will be acceptable on the course, though going shirtless or dressing in swimwear is probably not a smart idea. For private courses, there generally is a dress code. The more upscale and expensive the course, the stricter the dress code will be.
For the largest percentage of courses, a collared shirt and Dockers-style shorts will be the standard golfing ensemble. Modest skirts are also acceptable for ladies. Many will allow denim shorts, but a smaller percentage will have a no-denim policy. It’s a safe bet that those who show up in t-shirts, tank tops, cut-off shorts, short shorts (more than 4 inches above the knee), sweatshirts and casual athletic wear will not be allowed on the course. The most exclusive, upscale golf courses will have a no-shorts policy, so be sure to check with your respective course prior to tee time.
The centerpiece for most country clubs is a beautiful golf course, so a country club dress code generally follows the golf course dress code. During the day, patrons will be welcome to wear in the clubhouse whatever they would wear on the golf course, such as a collared shirt, shorts, skirt or slacks. For daytime events such as brunches, lunches or dinners prior to 7:00PM, semi-casual attire should be worn. This would include an informal dress, blouse, knee-length skirt or slacks for ladies, and a button-down shirt and slacks with an optional sport coat for men.
For dinners after 7:00PM or similar evening events, a nice dress or slacks with coordinating accessories should be worn by ladies. Men would be considered well-dressed in a sport coat, dress shirt and slacks. A tie is optional.
In general, dress for a golf course should always be tasteful and modest. Golf courses and country clubs frequently host special events, so if you will be in attendance at a special gala or other event, check beforehand with your club’s concierge to confirm the dress requirements.