Golf is one of the few sports that has a sense of formality associated with it. This is partly due to etiquette rules that are meant to show respect for the game and others playing it, but also because of a history of wealth, power, and exclusivity attached to the sport. That formality extends to the clothes people wear on the course, with clubs and courses imposing strict dress codes. You can’t just show up in a T-shirt and jeans; you need to be dressed for the game, so you’ll want to stock up on a few key pieces.
The good news is that golf clothing is actually pretty cool, thanks to innovative fabrics and construction techniques. You can still get 100 percent cotton shirts, but you can also find some with performance materials like spandex that keep them snug without restricting movement and wick away sweat. And a lot of companies are working to make golf clothes more sustainable, too, with recycled and post-consumer materials making their way into the mix.
A classic look on the golf course is a polo shirt, which can be short or long-sleeved depending on the weather. For both men and women, it’s important to choose a shirt that fits well, looks sharp, and is lightweight and breathable. You also want to avoid brightly colored or patterned polo shirts; they can be a distraction and will keep you warmer, so go for something more neutral in color.
On the bottom, it’s best to stick to long trousers and khaki shorts for men, while women should opt for capri pants or dress shorts. You’ll also want to avoid sweatpants, workout, running, or basketball shorts unless the club has explicitly said that they are acceptable. For women, skirts are acceptable, as are skorts (a combination of a skirt and shorts) and dresses. Skirts should be no more than three or four inches above the knee and come with a belt.
In terms of upper-end golf clothes, there are a number of brands that specialize in it. Among them are Galvin Green, which is big in Europe but is just starting to gain traction in the United States with its range of polos that are a great combination of Euro fashion and American performance. This Mayson shirt ($109) is a perfect example, with its subtle pattern and slim-but-not-Euro sizing.
Bogey Boys, a brand started by rapper Macklemore, is another golf-focused label that’s reimagining the traditional golf shirt with modern style and sustainable materials. The organic cotton/Tencel blend in this pullover means it’s soft, light, and breathable, while the 5 percent spandex adds plenty of flexibility.