What to Wear to a Work-Related Golf Event

golf clothes work outingWhat should you wear to golf with colleagues — for example, in a golf scramble — and where should you shop for it? Reader L wonders…

Could you please do a post on clothes for work-related golf outings and where to buy them? I’m attending several golf scrambles with colleagues this summer, and as I’ve never golfed before, I have no idea what to wear or where to shop for it. I’d like to find things that are appropriate without being frumpy. Thanks!

Both Kat and I will freely admit to knowing next to nothing about golf, so we turned to an expert — Donna Hoffman, the president and founder of Women on Course, an organization that encourages women in business to take up golf by offering various events around the country, a membership program, and special discounts. About 15-20% of the women who attend Women on Course events work in the legal field.

Hoffman shared several useful tips for new women golfers planning to attend work-related events:

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  • Check the dress code. While a public driving range may be pretty relaxed about what guests wear, private clubs enforce more conservative dress codes. For example, a common rule requires sleeveless tops to have a collar. Check the club’s website — many times the details will be posted on the “Guests” page. “When in doubt, call the pro shop,” says Hoffman; if you show up with an outfit that breaks club rules, you may find yourself taking “a very expensive trip” to the shop before you’re allowed on the course. General guidelines for what NOT to wear: yoga pants, denim, and tank tops.
  • Remember that you’ll be playing a sport. Your clothes need to be comfortable, non-constricting, and weather-appropriate. “The first time I golfed I wore khaki shorts and a polo,” says Hoffman. “The shorts split, and the top — when I took a swing it would ride up.” Whether you’re browsing your closet or buying online, choose items that have some stretch. Hoffman says that golf clothing includes tops that are longer than the typical shirt, with larger armholes — and she recommends taking a practice swing to make sure your potential purchase allows you to move freely.
  • Keep in mind that pockets are key. Unless you want to carry around tees and balls everywhere (and look silly), make sure you have pockets.
  • Be prepared to sweat. Since you’ll be playing during the summer, you’d be wise to buy items made from a technical fabric with moisture-wicking and antibacterial properties.
  • Don’t rush out and buy golf shoes. If you don’t plan to take up golf as a hobby, and only attend occasional work events, Hoffman doesn’t recommend buying golf shoes. Regular sneakers are fine, she says.
  • Buy clothes that you actually like. When you’re choosing something to wear to these golf scrambles, buy something that’s versatile. “I would definitely look for something you can [also] wear off the golf course,” says Hoffman. She says that certain pieces can even take you from the office to the golf course.
  • Dress the part — even if you’ve never golfed before. The following clothing mistakes are bound to announce your newbie status:
    • Low-cut tops.
    • Inappropriate fabrics, like cotton with no stretch.
    • A sweater on a warm day. “People don’t realize you’re going to be outside in the elements,” says Hoffman.
    • Clothes without pockets.
    • Tops without the appropriate collar. In general, says Hoffman, a collar is “kind of a signal that ‘I’m a golfer.'”

Now you’ve got a better idea of what to buy (check out this recent post from Women on Course to learn more), but where should you shop? Hoffman recommends buying online to take advantage of better selection. (Pro shops often cater to men, since that’s their main customer base.) For stylish golf clothing, Hoffman recommends Sport Haley, which carries sizes 0-18; GGblue, which also has a wide range of sizes; and Kevan Hall Sport.

For those of you who golf: What are your favorite things to wear on the course? Which are your favorite places to shop for golf wear? 

(Pictured at top: Under Armour Golf Coaches Polo II, available for $49 at Zappos.

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Comments

  1. Women on Course looks so great — I’m bummed there are no events on Long Island!

    • Golfer Girl :

      Check out EWGA – Executive Women’s Golf Association – EWGA.com . They have more offerings than Women On Course with over 110 Chapters and 14,000 members across the country you are sure to find lessons, clinics, leagues, outings as well as local and national competitions. They are a lot of fun and have been very instrumental in my career development.

  2. I think that the last time we talked about this suggested stores were the TJMaxx/Marshalls, big box sporting good stores and maybe Kohls. If there is a golf outlet store nearby, that can be a good place to get stuff for cheap. Be sure that skorts/skirts/shorts are a decent length. My club says shorts can’t be more than 5″ above the knee for women. I like my Adidas and Lady Hogan golf shirts (I’m busty so some brands just don’t work). Pockets are helpful. You are outside for a long time so don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray.
    Also, if you are playing in charity scrambles, there is probably an opportunity to buy mulligans or maybe a raffle ticket. Having some cash is helpful. Reading up on golf etiquette makes it more enjoyable. Don’t talk/move/rustle around while someone is addressing the ball, don’t stand in their peripheral vision, when putting the person furthest from the pin goes first, don’t step directly in the path of a ball on the green when walking to your ball, etc.

  3. I’m a Women on Course member, and go to a lot of events – it’s super-fun and I really recommend it. The crowd tends to be more late 40s, early 50s, but I’ve been totally welcome as a mid-30s woman, and it truly does provide good networking.

  4. Anonymous :

    Golf4her.com has a lot of stylish golf appropriate clothes from a variety of brands.

  5. Meg Murry :

    Somewhat related: Does anyone have a recommendation for a good camisole/tank that is long and good for wearing as a base layer for an event like this? Bonus if it is some kind of technical fabric meant to stay cool, and I would need it in plus sizes, or an XL at a minimum. Even with buying longer shirts like recommended above, I have a long torso and still manage to flash my back/belly, and I’d like to wear an even longer layer underneath to minimize this.
    Any suggestions? I see uniqlo airism now comes in an XXL, but I’m not sure if the tanks/camis are long enough for what I’m thinking. Anywhere else to try?

    • If you are a Costco member, worth checking what they have in stores. A few years ago, I got some longer camis that are some kind of blend fabric that I get a lot of use from.

    • I’m 5’9″, long torso, and Uniqlo tanks are long enough for me. Athleta sells athletic tanks in tall and plus sizes, too. Their regular length tops are still pretty long and the talls completely cover my behind – they are quite long.

  6. Must be Tuesday :

    Sounds interesting. I’ve always wanted to learn to play golf.

  7. My club has a 3 inch above to knee rile and I have a hard time finding nice shorts. I’m tall and the nice golf shorts made by most of the major brands – nike, ua, Calloway, etc. are much too short. Any suggestions?

    • la vie en bleu :

      longer golf pants/capris and have them hemmed to the right length?

  8. HAT. WEAR A HAT. IT’S SUNNY OUT THERE, YO.

    • Meg Murry :

      And sunscreen. Or you will be the beet red person everyone is making fun of at the office the next day.

    • A local course in my state recently banned hats and people are complaining big time. Even the pros wear hats!

  9. If you can, research before you invest in golf clothing. Some of the most expensive/conservative courses require shorts or skirts to be knee length or longer, collared shirts with short or long sleeves, and golf shoes. But the tournaments that I play in Maine are much more laid back. I can usually find decent options at TJ Maxx or 6pm. When in doubt, invest in sport/stretch t-shirt with a collar and short sleeves, and capri pants with pockets.

  10. The only time I ever went golfing, I wore chambray linen capris and a stretchy but ill-fitting polo because I didn’t want to buy something new. It was in line with the dress code on the website, which specified no athletic shorts, nothing shorter than 3 inches above the knee and collared shirts. When I got there, every other woman was in yoga pants or other athletic pants/capris. And I felt super uncool. Apparently no athletic shorts meant like no running or basketball shorts. So I guess see if you can ask a woman who has actually been to the course in question because I think that the posted dress codes usually apply to men, not to women. For example, according to my female golfer friends, a collared shirt is actually only a requirement for men.

  11. I had a similar situation a few years back and struggled with the dress code shorts length (no more than 3″ above knee) and collared shirt requirement (I didn’t own any polos). I bought a pair of neon pink 9″ shorts from J Crew and a boy’s gray Ralph Lauren polo collared shirt (mostly because I didn’t want to shell out the $ for a woman’s shirt). I got some comments re: the shorts which really were super bright (“We won’t be losing you on the golf course!”) but otherwise I think I looked appropriate enough with a tiny bit of personality.

  12. Chico’s has a nice golf collection, mostly online but they stock it in a few stores.

  13. When I took lessons, our instructor gave us an overview of women’s dress code: no denim; shorts or skirts past fingertip length; a sleeveless top requires a collar.

    Zappos has a decent selection of golf clothing, particularly Nike. The Sports Authority near us does, too. I have bought some cute skorts from Athleta in the past, but the selection hasn’t been great in the last few months.

    I generally prefer polarized sunglasses to wearing a hat, but that is a personal thing. Sunblock is a must! Put sunblock on before getting dressed and let it dry thoroughly, or it might stain light colored fabrics.

  14. tgw.com (The Golf Warehouse) has a large selection of women’s golf clothing, with a wide range of sizes and good prices.

    EWGA is a great women’s golf networking organization that has local chapters all over the country. Check ewga.com to see if there’s a chapter near you. Members range from new golfers to very experienced. EWGA is very supportive of new golfers.

  15. Dick’s Sporting Goods website has a good selection of very reasonably priced golf clothing for women; I tend to stock up once a year when they have a sale. I was a collegiate golfer and continue to play as much as possible, and I’ve found that a golf dress (with built-in shorts) or polo + skort combo is a nice, professional, feminine, athletic way to hit the links. Just remember to keep the skirt length in mind. I’m seeing quite a few very short skirts on pros these days, and that’s not at all appropriate for a work event (or really for any golf course, IMO). You can definitely wear your athletic shoe of choice if you don’t have golf shoes, but if it’s rainy or rained the night before, you’re in for some wet/muddy socks.

    Be sure to wear a hat or visor, too. I like to show up to the course with my makeup and hair done, then pull it back into a cap or visor once we get going.

  16. Associate Attendee :

    What if you’re not playing golf, but watching a golf tournament (hosted by your clients), along with a diverse set of colleagues?

    • I think you should still look the part (at least to an extent), especially in the summer when it’s hot. You don’t want to sweat in your street clothes, and you’ll be a lot more comfortable in golf/athletic gear. The men will be in polos and short or slacks; I believe women should dress for the venue as well. Try a nice golf dress and some comfortable / cute trainers, some chic sunglasses, and a sunhat (if it’s not too windy). You’ll fit in and be ready to do business.
      Some sample items:
      http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=58601586&page=1&cp=4406646.4413989.11477380.4418291

      http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=52152526#

      http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=59483426&cp=4406646.4413986.4413879.13278038

  17. I’m very late to the party, but if anyone is reading in the future: if you need to golf for business, please take the time to practice before you go on course in front of colleagues. Scrambles are normally also known as “best-ball”, and it’s important that you have some shots to contribute to your team. No one minds helping out a newer golfer who has put a little work in and still has a few mis-hits, or even the more advanced golfer who occasionally hooks off the tee and has to go retrieve it. But a tournament/ charity golf event / company scramble is not the time to learn how to play golf. Your team will not appreciate watching you swing 4 times before you make contact with the ball. Having to chase all over the course for a beginner’s errant shots is tiring and time consuming, and can also cause teams to pile up behind you and delay the entire tournament.

    At the very least, go to the driving range and ask one of your colleagues to go with you to show you the ropes. Hit 40-50 balls the first day (one small bucket), then practice chipping and putting, but don’t overdo it. Golf may not seem hard, but it’s very difficult to achieve accuracy in your swing and you will use muscles you are not used to using – it will hurt the next day. Repeat several times before the big debut, and get out and play 9 holes at least a couple times. If you’re planning to play for work more than once, invest in a few lessons. Group lessons are often good for beginners and typically cost less than private lessons with your local pro. Even if it’s not your favorite sport, it can never hurt you to become competent at golf. Being a former collegiate golfer, my CEO requests to have me on his team each year for our company tournament (the guy likes to win :), and I’m regularly asked to fill out teams at charity tournaments, where I always meet and network with interesting people.

    On the attire side, I shop at Marshalls and TJ Maxx for my golf shirts. Most of my skorts are Tail brand, available at most golf shops and online, with some nice discounted options at 6pm. Tail’s skorts tend to be slightly longer, in the 18″-19″ range with a slightly longer inseam length on the inner short (I’m 5’11” and need those extra couple inches), and also tend to have a slightly higher waist. I’ve found the stricter elements of the dress code often do apply more to men than women, but there’s never an excuse to look sloppy. I’ve played several of the exclusive courses and country clubs in my city, always wearing professional-looking golf attire with a collar and skort at mid-lower thigh, and never once has clubhouse staff chased after me with a tape measure. Chose black if you don’t want sweat to show, it’s also the most versatile color to build your golf wardrobe around if you’d like to add pieces later. I veer away from white shirts, as I find them too see-through in the full sun in most tech fabrics. Finally, I don’t believe anyone else mentioned the unmentionables, I prefer a sports bra with cups and athletic underwear – even though you’re not running a marathon, you could be outdoors for 4-5 hours in the elements and you want everything you’re wearing to have the ability to dry quickly. It could rain, or you could be in the sun with little shade, and if it’s hot, humid or a combination of the two, you better believe you will sweat.

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