If you’re a newcomer to golf you could be forgiven for thinking it’s all multi-coloured check pants and pastel knitwear. And while it’s true that some golfing attire does leave a lot to be desired from an aesthetic standpoint, there’s an increasing focus on fashion from some of the younger, more style-savvy members of your local club.
The course is quickly becoming yet another place to showcase your style credentials, and there are plenty of brands helping to facilitate that. Some of them have been around for decades, crafting some of the best kit in the game, but there’s also a new breed of labels emerging that cater specifically to the new fashion-conscious generation of golfers.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the garments you need in order to be not just prepared for your round, but well dressed for it too. Then we’ll take a look at some of the key brands, new and old, that can help bring some sartorial flair to your backswing.
A polo shirt is one of the first things most people will think of when they hear the words ‘golf clothing’. it’s breathable, stretchy for full range of motion, and it looks relatively smart too – an important point to consider in golf attire, as some traditional clubs still maintain strict dress codes.
It’s fine to wear a classic pique polo from a brand such as Lacoste or Ralph Lauren, but most golf clothing brands make their own versions using technical fabrics too. The latter are often more geared towards sweat management and manoeuvrability.
No, you do not have to wear unsightly checked trousers on the golf course. A simple, well-fitting pair of chinos will do the trick. If you want to go specialist, there are plenty of golfing brands making smart(ish)pants with added stretch and breathable fabrics better suited to the sporting aspect.
Or you could go for a golf jogger, which is sportier still and elasticated at the ankle to keep the cold out.
Even in cool weather, golfing can get sweaty. Yes, there’s plenty of standing around, but provided you’re not taking the buggy everywhere, there’s also a lot of walking involved. This can make dressing appropriately tricky, because if you wrap up too warm you’ll likely be self-combusting by the 9th hole.
A gilet or vest is a useful garment for this reason. It keeps the core warm while letting the underarms breathe and offers plenty of mobility during your swing.
For the same reason, a mid layer is an essential piece of kit. It can be worn as a standalone layer, or under a windbreaker or waterproof for extra protection from the elements.
A quarter-zip is a popular choice as it’s a little smarter than a crew neck or hoodie, and it works well for layering.
A colourful Argyle jumper is one of the most iconic garments in golf. It’s a bit old fashioned, granted, but it can still look great provided you go for a subtle colour scheme.
Check out some of the OG Scottish brands like Pringle and Lyle & Scott for the most authentic versions. Consider going mohair for bonus fashion points.
If you golf in the UK, a waterproof is an absolute must. Even if the forecast looks reasonable, there’s a high chance the heavens will open as soon as you tee off.
When that moment comes, you’ll be glad of some weather protection. It’s always a good idea to have a big umbrella in your bag too.
Not only does a cap add a certain sporty something to your golf attire, it also keeps the sun out of your eyes on your drives.
A quality pair of golf shoes is vital for a good grip and firm footing while hitting your shot. Traditionally, they were relatively smart leather designs reminiscent of Derby shoes with small spikes on the soles, but these days most golf shoes are more similar to sneakers, and almost always white.
If you like more of a casual look, Nike and Adidas make some of their most popular models in golf-shoe form. You can rock anything from a Samba to a Jordan on the course now, without sacrificing grip.
Sunglasses are important for most outdoor sports, particularly those that require a good aim. For this reason, a good pair of sunglasses with a suitably tinted or polarised lens is a must.
If you thought golf couldn’t be cool then clearly you haven’t been introduced to Manors. This London-based brand was born out of its founders’ love of the sport, but also a shared disaffection with its obsession with performance fabrics, snobbish attitudes and old-fashioned ways.
As they put it, Manors puts “personality before performance”, looking back to the golden era of golf for stylistic inspiration and crafting clothes that are classic and casual as opposed to being super sporty and technical.
Shop now at SSENSE
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Galvin Green is a premium golf brand that puts performance front and centre. It’s stylish, but the focus is firmly on helping you to get the most out of your game, using technical fabrics, athletic cuts, and even offering a full lifetime warranty on its waterproof products.
The downside? It’s at the top end of the price range.
Shop now at Galvin Green
Ralph Lauren is a brand that needs no introduction. While not a dedicated golf label, it’s signature brand of East Coast prep is right at home in the clubhouse or on the fairway, and its iconic polo shirts are some of the best in the business.
If you’re looking for more performance-focused apparel, check out the RLX line, which is RL’s dedicated golfing collection that specialises in the more technical side of stuff.
Shop now at MR PORTER
If you’re into your skiing then you’re probably already familiar with Kjus. Founded by former Olympian alpine skier Lasse Kjus, this high-performance brand has been creating premium apparel for life on the slopes since 2000.
The brand has since branched out and brought its signature attention to detail and quality to the golf course too. The focus is on mobility, stretch and freedom of movement so that you can play to your full potential.
Be sure to check out the mid layers and insulated jackets in particular.
Shop now at MATCHESFASHION
Those who appreciate the finer things will like the direction Peter Millar goes in with its golf range. The emphasis here is on working with the highest quality materials available and creating clothing that’s tasteful enough to be worn both on and off the fairway.
Designs are simple, elegant and timeless, and there’s a whole casualwear collection to browse too if you’re a fan of what the label is doing.
Shop now at MR PORTER
Oregonian sportswear giant Nike is one of the biggest forces in golf apparel. The brand has sponsored some of the most decorated and celebrated players in history and makes some of the best technical kit too.
We’re particularly interested in the footwear offering. In recent years, the Swoosh has been reimagining some of its best-selling and most iconic silhouettes as golf shoes. How about an Air Max 90 or an Air Jordan 1 you can wear on the course?
It’s something that’s sure to resonate with the younger generation who might struggle to get on board with those stuffy old traditional golf shoes or the inherently uncool versions most golf brands are pumping out today.
Shop now at MR PORTER
When it comes to sports shades, Oakley is the biggest and best name in the game.
The brand’s Prizm lens technology is unrivalled and there are even specific tints available that are designed to help you pick out a golf ball as it sails through the air to its resting place – hopefully on the green.
Shop now at Oakley
Master-Piece is a Japanese bag brand best known for its high-end luggage, quirky designs and use of heavy duty clasps, fastenings and buckles.
The range doesn’t just include backpacks and weekend bags though, there’s actually a collection of golf bags, head covers, shoe bags and more, purpose built for stylish golfing.
Shop now at SSENSE
LA-born brand G/Fore is on a mission to bring a youthful energy to golf while also being respectful of the sport’s rich tradition. The designs are distinctly modern, but also unmistakably ‘golf’.
We’re especially keen on the shoes, which offer a quirky and colourful alternative to the boring white footwear you’ll find on offer from many established brands. There are even options with dial lacing systems for quick-fit adjustments on the go.
Shop now at G/Fore
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