If you have never been to a round of golf or you are uncertain of the golf dress code before visiting a specific golf course then you must be aware of the dos and don'ts. To begin with, there is no standard golf dress code that is applicable to every golf course in the world. Rules vary all across the world and it may vary across different courses in the same neighborhood or district as well.
The first thing you should know about any golf dress code is that it all depends on the owner or management of the golf course. Some golf courses are very stringent with their golf dress code while many are quite lenient. There is a standard rule that defines what kind of golf dress code you should expect from a particular golf course or at a particular event. The higher you pay for a round of golf, the higher the membership fees to a club or entry fee to an event, the stricter would be the golf dress code applicable.
There are three elements in any golf dress code. The first element is the shirt. A standard golf dress code is to wear t-shirts or polo shirts. You may go with round neck t-shirts or collared t-shirts. Half sleeves are typically what are expected. In elite golf clubs, you would be required to wear collared t-shirts as round necks or v-necks are not allowed. Some golf clubs would allow sleeveless shirts but most wouldn't.
The second element is the shorts or trousers. Normally, slacks or shorts are acceptable. Some clubs or golf courses may insist on a golf dress code that involved full length golf slacks but mostly shorts are considered to be good enough. Some places would not allow denim shorts while many public courses are accepting of denim shorts or even full length jeans.
The third element is the footwear. Sneakers, golf shoes and other footwear choices that cover the feet entirely are considered integral to the generic golf dress code. In public courses, leniency can be expected in regards to footwear but not in private clubs or elite courses.
No golf course would allow shirtless players or those who are inappropriately dressed, unless there is a special arrangement or someone one knows owns the place. Polo shirts or collared t-shirts, cargo pants, slacks or shorts, a cap or hat and sneakers are acceptable in most types of golf dress code.
While golfing fashions may have altered over the years, strict adherence to the golf dress code has remained in place, probably the most often read phrase on any list of golf membership rules begins with "Gentlemen are not permitted to wear..."
Usually, the list of clothes that golfers are not allowed to wear on the course can be broadly described as hip and perhaps more controversially, the domain of the working class. Jeans, jogging bottoms, sports tops, collarless t-shirts and training shoes are all frowned upon and deemed unfit for golfing purposes.
It is also worth remembering that fashion and golf are now a multi-billion dollar industry. Ian Poulter has his own golf fashion line for those brave or eccentric enough to want to wear them. One wonders if the uniform adopted by golf is now partly due to its tradition in the game but also partly due to the large clothing and apparel industry that has developed around it.
At most courses, women are asked to wear blouses with sleeves or sleeveless blouses with collars. The most popular top for female golfers, however, is the polo-style shirt. These tops come in an array of colors and designs including button down, v-neck and zip-top in both short and long sleeves. In addition to plain colors, you may find these popular shirts in floral, stripes and other patterns. Turtleneck tops are also widely accepted. Inappropriate tops for the golf course include T-shirts, halters and tank tops.
In the early spring or fall, slacks are most commonly worn by women on the golf course. On warmer days, shorter slacks such as capris, crops or shorts are advised. Shorter pants should be knee length or longer. Skorts (a combination of a skirt and shorts) and golf dresses are also popular choices. Jeans, sun dresses, sweats or athletic pants are all considered improper.
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