Why Do Golfers Wear Polos? (Answered)

Golfers have been wearing polo shirts for decades. If you ask 3 different golfers why they choose such a specific attire, you will probably get 3 different answers. You may be surprised but the golf polo was not always the standard in golf attire.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the article below for an in-depth overview of why golfers wear golf polos, the history of the polo shirt, and why you should wear a golf polo on the course. We have a lot to cover so let’s get started!

a smiling woman in yellow pants standing on the field

A Quick History of the Polo Shirt

Polo players from the mid-1800s wore long-sleeve button-up thick cotton shirts with flapping collars, which was not the most practical design for the sport. At the end of the 19th century, British polo players redesigned their uniforms by implementing the button-down collar. Other sports also required the use of similar uncomfortable shirts. Over time the flapping of the collar became a nuisance to athletes, so the button-down concept became quite popular among a variety of sports.

However, it wasn’t until 1929 that René Lacoste, a French tennis player and businessman, created the polo shirt we all know today. This innovation was born out of years of complaining about the uncomfortable dress codes imposed by the tournaments.

Lacoste wore his design in a U.S Open that year, and after he retired in 1933, René began a massive marketing campaign to make his new shirt a standard in tennis. It was an immediate success, and it didn’t take long before the polo shirts became a standard in other sports as well. Badminton, rugby, and golf quickly adopted Rene’s design. In less than a decade, most players stopped using button-up long-sleeve shirts in favor of Lacoste’s polo design.


Just like tennis, golf was usually played in country clubs with strict dress codes that extended to the courts and courses. Not only were button-up shirts required, but specific trousers, shoes, and socks all accompanied a club’s strict dress code.

Nowadays you can walk onto a tennis court with pretty much any sportswear you want, and no one will bat an eye. However, the same cannot be said on the golf course. Golf etiquette and tradition still uphold their standards on golf attire.

The standard golf polo is still worn to this day out of respect for the sport. Through the years, golf has become very popular around the world, and as a result, started to relax its dress code. It’s worth mentioning that the appropriate attire for a golf course can vary from one place to another. Private golf clubs usually require a dressier attire with tucked-in polos, while public courses are more flexible and pay less attention to the neatness of your outfit.

With golf becoming more popular than ever, we continue to see modernizations in golf attire. Golf brands keep implementing new trends with bright colors, innovative materials, and all kinds of patterns. Still the traditional polo shirt design remains unchanged as a fixture of golf course apparel.

a man sitting on green grass while holding a golf club and a ball

Do You Have to Wear a Polo Shirt When You Golf?

Wearing a golf polo is mandatory on most courses. Even when there is not a particular dress code, people still choose to wear golf shirts to look the part. Wearing the right attire when you go golfing means you are taking the sport seriously. It’s important to remember that when you play that you are a guest on the course. Wearing a polo shows that you respect the establishment and the game itself.

Another reason why you should always wear a golf polo is confidence. Being confident is essential for a golfer and dressing the part goes a long way.  It’s equally important to feel good with your clothes. Today’s golf apparel has so many choices that everyone can find something that represents their fit and style.

There are no color or pattern restrictions, have fun with it. It is often seen that a golfer with an outrageous outfit is likely an excellent player. To wear something unusual means you must be good at the game. If this is not you it is best to stick to less striking clothes.

Interested in learning about why golfers wear long pants and outrages clothes? Check out this article.

Should Golfers Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes?

The rule of thumb is to feel comfortable with whatever you are wearing. With that being said, if your clothes are too loose, it might get uncomfortable when striking the ball. It is preferred that both your shirt and pants fit adequately, nothing too loose or too tight. It is a sport after all, and even if you are not a professional golfer, your outfit might have a negative impact on your game if you wear the wrong thing. Most major sportswear brands make golfing clothes, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to find the right fit.

You should also consider the fabric of your polo. 100% cotton or 100% polyester isn’t recommended since you are probably going to stand several hours under the sun. Nothing that will absorb too much sweat or humidity. Try cotton-polyester blends or mercerized cotton instead for a fresher more enjoyable feel.

Take all of that into account and you can proceed to make a decision based on your physical build and personal taste. There are hundreds of websites about golf fashion trends that you can visit to get some inspiration.

Is Golf Clothing Important for Beginning Golfers?

If you are a beginner, you are probably going to spend a lot of time practicing at the golf course. If you are brand new to the game, it may be best to start at the driving range. If you are interested in learning more about what to wear at the driving range or golf course, check out our article “What Should I Wear To The Driving Range?.”

Learning golf on your own can be quite tricky, that’s why taking lessons is always a better choice if you really want to improve. If you decide to take lessons, the best person to ask this question will be your golf instructor. Chances are they are going to ask you if you want to be a serious golfer, and if your answer is “yes”, they are probably going to advise you to get appropriate golf clothes. Lucky for you, there’s a wide range of options available, so your first golfing outfit won’t necessarily be expensive.

Final Thoughts

You can’t go wrong with a collared polo shirt. The rest of the outfit isn’t very hard to assemble and you can always check with other golfers to see what’s trending and to be sure you are properly dressed.

Just like Lacoste did 90 years ago, some people are trying to ditch these dress codes, but they haven’t succeeded. Maybe the etiquette surrounding the sport makes people keener to respect its traditions, or maybe it’s the fact that everyone looks really good in golf apparel. But the main thing is that the polo-style shirt continues to be one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in the world.

Hopefully, you liked this article and found it informative. Check out our other blog posts if you liked this one!

In the market to buy new golf polo? Check out our article on Pro Shop Mark Ups and How To Save.

5 thoughts on “Why Do Golfers Wear Polos? (Answered)”

Leave a Comment