As we put the winter behind us and move forward into the warmer months, it’s time to start thinking about golf. If you’re like us, you like to regularly update the apparel you wear to the golf course—styles are ever-changing, and you never know what a golf course’s dress code will be like. Luckily, we’ve put together a catch-all guide for what you should look for when buying a new pair of golf pants.
In today’s society, where casual wear is becoming acceptable in more and more environments that used to frown at jeans, many golf courses are starting to relax their dress codes. While in the past, golf was a selective, exclusive experience, many golf course owners and country club boards are starting to realize that exclusion isn’t the best way to make money. So if you bristle at the thought of a strict dress code, don’t worry—there are plenty of golf courses that won’t require you to wear anything you’d feel uncomfortable in.
However, there are still plenty of old-guard traditionalists who prefer to maintain the rigid dress codes of the past—they claim that such rules are in place to keep golf a sport of gentlemen and ladies (apparently gentlemen and ladies don’t wear hooded sweatshirts).
If you find yourself heading to a golf course with a dress code, don’t despair. The rules are easy enough to follow, as long as you know what to wear—and what not to wear.
While golf attire requirements may have relaxed a bit in recent years, there are still some items of clothing that are generally considered a no-go for the course.
Jeans are usually not accepted—at pretty much any course that has a dress code, jeans will not be allowed. While this is disappointing for denim lovers and mountain man stereotypes alike, it’s honestly for your benefit as much as for golf traditionalists.
If you’re going to spend a few hours walking (or riding a golf cart) through open fields in the summer sun, you’re undoubtedly going to start sweating—and jeans will not be your friend.
So while for many of us, it may feel weird to opt for khakis instead of jeans, it’s safest to leave your designer denim at home—it may not be welcome on the course.
Strict dress codes are about more than just the material that clothing is made of—they also often regulate the number of pockets that can be on your pants.
Many people have shown up to play a round of golf only to be turned away for wearing pants with plentiful pockets. So if you don’t want to suffer the same fate, be sure to wear pants or shorts that are simple, subtle, and streamlined.
Any golf course that has a rigid dress code will almost certainly require your shirt to have a collar. Button downs are fine, as are polos—but your crew-neck sweater or lucky t-shirt might be forbidden.
Whether you opt for a polo or a button-down, make sure you tuck it in. This is a rule that many golf courses are starting to relax about—but there are still many holdouts that prefer the formal look of a tucked-in shirt.
Just like there are generally accepted rules for what you shouldn’t wear while golfing, there are some classic items that are accepted nearly anywhere that you’re looking to hit the links.
Collared shirts, like polos and button-downs, are always acceptable on the golf course—as long as they’re tucked in.
Since jeans are generally a no-go and cargo pants or shorts are deemed too casual for the course, khakis are the safe way to go. You don’t need to wear a pair of perfectly pressed tuxedo pants in order to adhere to the dress code, but you should dress a bit more formally than you would on the mini-golf course.
For those who find traditional khakis a bit constraining or uncomfortable, there are plenty of more modern options that are engineered to provide all-day comfort.
In the Information Age, it might be funny to think of technology in terms of fabric and clothing—but there have been major technological advances in recent decades that make for some excellent athletic apparel.
When you’re out in the hot sun for hours on end, you’re bound to start sweating at some point. If you’re wearing old-school khakis or heavy jeans, that sweat’s going to build up and make you pretty uncomfortable—not great when you’re trying to play your best. In order to stay dry and comfortable, opt for a pair of pants made from moisture-wicking materials.
Moisture-wicking materials have been engineered to draw moisture (sweat) away from your body and dry it rapidly—keeping sweat from building up and making sure that you remain dry all day.
As anybody who sweats on the regular knows, sweat isn’t just uncomfortable—it can also be smelly. That’s because of tiny little life forms known as microorganisms.
Microorganisms are all over—and inside of—our bodies, and there’s nothing to be afraid of. Microorganisms are mostly harmless, but when they mix with sweat, they can create quite a stink.
In order to combat this, modern materials used in athletic gear are often antimicrobial. Antimicrobial materials are engineered to kill or severely halt the spread of microorganisms—preventing them from making a big stink where it counts.
Inarguably, the best clothes for athletic purposes are light and stretchy, allowing for a full range of motion (in golf, this is especially important for optimal backswing).
4-Way Stretch materials are engineered to be incredibly stretchy in all directions—allowing you to comfortably squat down to analyze the slope of the green and jump toward the heavens in victorious celebration when you sink that putt.
While the khakis of yesterday were baggy and ill-fitting, today’s styles require men to show a little shape—and that’s not a bad thing. You should feel empowered to show off the glutes you’ve been working on, and even if you skip leg day, you shouldn’t worry about being too revealing—long pants can really only be so provocative.
You don’t need to wear skinny jeans to show that you’ve got calves and glutes; today’s styles allow for some space and give, paying homage to more classic styles while also providing a modern fit.
Adhering to golf course dress codes doesn’t need to be intimidating or uncomfortable—and those dress codes can even provide an opportunity to explore new styles that you might not otherwise have considered.
At Willy California, we offer a number of options that are designed for the golf course—not only to adhere to the strictest of dress codes, but also to provide all-day comfort. Here are a couple of our favorites:
The Nicer Pants were designed with multiple purposes in mind. First, it’s important to have a solid pair of pants to wear to the office—and our Nicer Pants are perfect for that. Not only classy enough for business attire, but they’re also comfy and casual enough to meet up with buddies after work. The Nicer Pants can do it all.
And because they’re made of moisture-wicking, antimicrobial, 4-way stretch material, they’re perfect for hitting the golf course.
Purposefully designed to adhere to stuffy golf course dress codes while providing ample comfort and undeniable stylishness, The City Pants are our version of a pair of golf jeans—without the casual look of denim.
While many courses have a strict no-denim policy, we make our City Pants out of a perfect combination of nylon, bamboo, and spandex—allowing you to look your best on the course while also following the rules.
Whether you’re looking for a dressier or more casual look on the golf course, these are both great options. But don’t feel limited to these two—check out our collection and see what pants, shorts, and other apparel you need before heading to the golf course.