What to Wear to a Golf Tournament
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We’re long past the days when a kilt and a bagpipe were the best clothing pieces for a golf tournament. Though some may bemoan that golf has lost that inkling of heritage, the game’s fashion has never been more exciting than it is today.
While we respect Happy Gilmore’s dedication to his hockey jerseys, those aren’t going to fly in a real tournament.
That’s why we’re be talking about what to wear to a golf tournament alongside how you can style the pieces, what things you should avoid, and the history of the modern tournament structure.
What Makes Up a Golf Tournament Outfit
Most golf tournament outfits stick to precise rules that open up once you become more familiar with them. You’ll often see plenty of golfers wearing similar outfits and that’s because it’s easier to play it safe rather than use the greens as a fashion runway.
Most courses are dotted with people wearing khaki pants, polo shirts, sweaters, sporty skirts, Bermuda shorts, and hats.
The majority of these items are necessary to some degree because golf clubs require that your outfit is suitable for their clubhouse and dining area. As such, you want an outfit that’s athletic yet classy.
History of Golf Tournaments
The oldest golf tournament that’s currently active arrived centuries after golf as we know it was invented.
The Open Championship was established in 1860 with its first iteration being played at the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. That’s a fitting location seeing as how the Scots invented golf.
James Ogilvie Fairlie created the tournament as a way to settle the ongoing debate as to who was the best professional golfer. It was a contentious topic at the time because there were plenty of players who could lay claim to the title but there was no single unifying event for them to compete in.
Willie Park Sr. won the first event and was thus deemed “The Champion Golfer of the Year.” That settled the debate on who truly was the best golfer, but competition is never set in concrete. The tournament had to live on and a second event was soon scheduled.
It’s a bit ironic that a tournament with the word “open” in its name wasn’t originally open to anyone but professionals, but that changed only a year after its inception. The tournament allowed amateurs to enter to compete for the prestigious title.
Another major advancement came in 1872 when The Open Championship began circulating through an assortment of venues aside from Prestwick Golf Club.
There were two other clubs that held the tournament up until 1892 when English clubs began hosting yearly iterations. Today, the majority of The Open Championships are held in England.
The tournament’s reiterations and refinements established the modern golf tournament format. It redefined how golf was contested and played, leading to many other open tournaments being founded.
Due to its long lineage, influence, and high regard, The Open Championship is one of the four most important major men’s golfing tournaments in the world. It’s the last event in the sport’s season and acts as a climax for that year’s competition.
7 Outfit Ideas to Wear to a Golf Tournament
If you’re really lost about what to wear to a golf tournament then it’s best to keep your outfit as straightforward as possible. Check out our first idea for what we mean.
Both of the ladies in the photo are essentially wearing the same outfit with a few minor differences, so we’re going to focus on their similarities so that you get the right idea.
Monochromatic looks are always manageable on a golf course. Yes, it might feel a bit plain, but given the respectful atmosphere of most golf tournaments, plain will fit in just fine.
As for the garments themselves, they are each standard items. A polo shirt, an athletic skirt, and a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes are all you need.
As we said, picking one color for your entire outfit means you don’t have to worry about the colors clashing. It’s the least stress-inducing way to assemble a fit if you have absolutely no clue what you’re doing. Thankfully, it still looks great despite its unpretentiousness.
Alternatively, here’s a look if you’re in the market for cute golf tournament outfits. It plays around with the dress code that most golf tournaments enforce. You’re not going to get kicked off of the course, but you may distract a few of your competitors.
In the grand scheme of things, this outfit is quite docile but the small details are what make it adorable. The subtle texture on the skirt adds a layer of depth in a sport where texture is usually forgotten.
Also, the strong contrast between the blue skirt and the bright white shirt gives this outfit a distinctive look.
As such, we strongly recommend that you pair tones similar to these two together. They play off of each other extremely well without overwhelming you.
When in a pinch, bust out the dad drip. Paternal fashion is an unsurprisingly reliable way to build outfits when considering what to wear to a golf tournament, probably because the majority of players and/or audience members are dads.
You’re probably scratching your head and wondering what’s so different about this look from other golf tournament outfits. In short, nothing much. However, that doesn’t mean the small variances aren’t worth highlighting.
The model’s shorts have a faux-denim look, which would normally seem extremely out-of-place at a golf tournament, but work well in the context of the entire fit.
Grey downplays their texture without hiding it. Therefore, the shorts stand out without looking like a sore thumb in the middle of the green.
We also have to mention how this dad is killing the accessory game. He looked at the black stripes on his Adidas golf shirt and said, “I can make this work.” He selected a matching black belt – a rarity among golfers – and black sunglasses. We love a synchronized king.
This is a modern and sporty outfit that emphasizes the advantages of golf clothes. Golf is more technically demanding than it is physically taxing and competitors have to spend hours in the sun during the summer.
These aspects necessitate that the athlete’s clothes perform differently than other summer sports.
What we mean is that golf clothes are light and flexible but still have a slightly formal appearance. That’s why many people pick up golf shirts or pants if they have to buy business casual clothes for their job – few other clothing items are as comfortable while still being professional.
Those qualities are on full display with this outfit. This look is what to wear to a golf tournament if you want to embrace the sport.
Luckily, it’s easy to put together. Just throw some black pants on your legs, a neutral color three-quarter zip-top, and a glowing pair of white sneakers, and you’re set.
We’re not joking when we say that this is one of our favorite golf tournament outfits of all time. Some people might be put off by how it sticks a middle finger to so many standard protocols, but those people probably scoff when they see a puppy or a rainbow after a rainy day.
Disregarding the model’s world-class mullet, this outfit works because there’s an underlying logic tying it together. The white pants are a good canvas for the paint-splatter design. They work well with all-white sneakers.
But look closely and you’ll see that the sneakers aren’t all white; they have hints of red on the bottom. And what color of shirt is the model wearing?
That’s right – red is this look’s unifying element. It ties everything together so that it actually looks intelligent rather than belligerent.
Our next idea about what to wear to a golf tournament uses a similar strategy as the last outfit. The thin green stripes lacing the model’s shirt perfectly compliment his green slacks.
This gives him more freedom to play around with the shirt’s main color. Is it blue? Is it purple? It doesn’t matter, because the focal point is the cohesion between the stripes and the pants.
Scoot your eyes down this model’s lean physique and you’ll see that he’s wearing white shoes.
Admittedly, those shoes are a tad too passe for our tastes. They come from a time when golf shoes were focused less on performance and more on prestige. What matters is that they’re white.
You can definitely wear a pair of shoes like that if you want a vintage golfing outfit, but we’d recommend going with a good pair of modern-day golf shoes so that your game doesn’t suffer for your style.
Let’s go full vintage here for our next what to wear to a golf tournament outfit. Modernity is for suckers, anyway. What really makes this outfit a killer is the styling on the lower body. Yes, we love the bright red cap and the polo, but those fall by the wayside (in a good way) once we study what’s going on beneath the waist.
Those light red pants are to die for, with a classic look and a breathable material. You can place even more emphasis on them by hiking up your socks. This will make your legs appear shorter, so we’d only advise this strategy for our tall readers, but when it works, it works.
This outfit has so much style that we’re surprised it hasn’t been copied by the fashion world at large. The nice thing is that, aside from finding a similar pair of pants, it’s painless to assemble.
If you’ve ever been on a golf course then you likely already have all the necessary pieces in your closet.
What Type of Golf Tournament Outfit Can You Get?
You can acquire golf tournament outfits in a variety of different styles, materials, and levels of formality. These range from single pieces to full sets of clothes.
How to Choose the Best Golf Tournament Outfit
When thinking about what to wear to a golf tournament, consider the following factors:
- How much you want to spend
- Where the club is located
- How prestigious the tournament is
Golf is not a cheap sport by itself. As such, your clothes will have to reflect that you spent some money on them.
You might be able to find a couple of interesting pairs of golf pants or polos at thrift stores, but you have to make sure they’re up to snuff with what’s expected in the club’s dress code.
Given that, it’s safer to err on the cautious side and invest in good golf clothes. Even if they’re a bit more expensive than you’d like, you’ll likely never be stuck wondering what to wear to a golf tournament.
The second consideration, the club’s location, matters because the weather will dictate what you wear. Sunny summer days where the temperature climbs over 100 degrees Fahrenheit require a lighter outfit than windy days.
Your club might be in an area where you could be heavily affected by the weather conditions. We’d all like to live in Florida where we can expect consistently hot temperatures, but that’s not the case. As such, keep in mind where you’ll be playing and dress accordingly.
On that note, you’ll need to recognize how classy the golf tournament you’re entering is in order to dress properly. Even if you’re only spectating you should dress in a manner that’s respectful to the host club and the tournament itself.
How to Style a Golf Tournament Outfit
Styling a golf tournament outfit is easy once you get the hang of it. Simple tricks like matching your accessories to your shoes and wearing neutral-colored clothes are easy to keep in mind.
One unspoken rule of what to wear to a golf tournament is that if you wearing a flavorful piece on your top or bottom then the other half should be as plain as possible. For example, if you have a bright yellow shirt then your pants should be white or beige.
Also, your shorts should not descend below your knee and your pants should meet your shoes at the ankle. This is true for both male and female golfers.
Don’t be afraid to add some accessories that can actually improve your game. We’re talking about hats or visors that can keep the sun out of your eyes, a wrist watch to help you tell time, and sunglasses to reduce glare. You’re going to want to coordinate these accessories with the major and minor colors of your outfit.
Finally, if you do need to wear an outer layer, make sure it fits your figure so that your silhouette remains trim and your game stays on point.
Fashion Tips to Avoid With Golf Tournament Outfits
Golf’s fashion sense isn’t as stringent as it seems to those peering in from the outside. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways that you can commit a fashion faux pas, though. We’ll tell you what to avoid when thinking about what to wear to a golf tournament:
- Don’t forget to tuck in your shirt. An untucked shirt will look too unrefined for a golf course.
- Don’t wear denim. Jeans are not ideal for golf tournaments from both a fashion and performance perspective.
- Don’t wear shoes that could damage the course (i.e. cleats, shoes with metal spikes), or non-athletic shoes (i.e. boots, sandals, slides)
- Stay away from accessories that could impact your performance
- Don’t wear baggy clothing as it’ll look sloppy and can throw off your game
How to Take Care of Golf Tournament Outfits
In order to take care of your golf tournament outfits, we recommend washing them in cold water, hanging them to dry (when possible), and keeping them away from the dryer.
These steps will preserve the moisture-wicking abilities of most golf clothes while also maintaining their shape and color.
Best Places to Buy Golf Tournament Outfits
These are just a few of our favorite golf tournament retailers:
We’d advise against shopping from thrift locations or second-hand stores because these items can sometimes be too baggy or distressed to pass most golf clubs’ regulations.
There are more important aspects than knowing what to wear to a golf tournament, but if you don’t have your fashion under control then you’ll be dedicating too much mental energy to your outfit.
You don’t want to worry whether your pants are too shorts when you need a hole-in-one to get back in the game.
As such, we recommend keeping your fashion as clean as possible, with a little room for your own style, so that you can put all your energy into your game.
Need the perfect outfit for your next sports adventure? Check out these styling tips: