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Should Golf Shirts Be Tucked In? Why Most Courses Require It

Golfing attire has undergone somewhat of a transformation in recent years, with previously frowned upon items such as golfing hoodies and jogger pants becoming more prominent both on tour and at local golf clubs.

While there is still a frustrating amount of conjecture surrounding some of these items (more on this later) there is one element of golfing attire ‘etiquette’ that seems to remain untouched: the tucked in golf shirt.

Golf shirts do not need to be tucked in as a general rule, but different courses will have dress codes that may specify the need to wear your golf shirt tucked in and with a belt. Public or municipal courses are usually more relaxed than private clubs, and will often allow shirts to be untucked.

Personally, I always tuck my shirt in, even if I am playing a casual round with some friends at a relaxed course, purely because I find the bottom of it swaying around a bit of a nuisance if I’m trying to crank up the speed of my driver swing.

The club at which I am a member at specifies that shirts need to be tucked in and worn with a belt, something quite common in many clubs’ dress code.

In essence, if a club requests golf shirts to be tucked in, then you need to tuck them in, and I have been to places where this has been policed by staff.

At any other time, it is purely up to you whether to play with your shirt tucked or untucked.

Why should golf shirts be tucked in?

Golfers should tuck their shirts in, where possible, as it’s correct etiquette. Golfers, both male and female, are expected to arrive at the course in a presentable fashion and adhere to the dress code (which typically requires a collared shirt and belt, too).

Basically, while you don’t necessarily need to tuck your shirt in on the golf course (I’ve got regular playing partners who certainly don’t), it’s usually a good idea to.

Most players will do so, especially at private rather than public courses, and it will give the impression that you’re serious about your golf.

As they say, if you can’t play like a scratch golfer, at least dress like one.

How do golfers keep their shirts tucked in?

Golfers keep their shirts tucked in by wearing them with a belt first and foremost, or by buying brands of pants and shorts that have a grip lined inner waist band. Investing in a good quality belt or slacks with a specifically designed high grip waist band will help to keep your shirt in place.

Under Armour in particular produce golfing bottoms specifically designed with a waist band that will hold your shirt in place.

Their men’s drive pants in grey are top notch, while Adidas are a great option for similar features in their shorts.

Obviously, a good quality belt will do wonders for keeping everything in placing and ensuring your shirt doesn’t continually come untucked mid round.

Nike’s 3-in-1 Web Pack is great value for golfers who like to mix up the colour of their accessories, while Under Armour’s Braided golf belt will look fashionable both on and off course.

Rickie Fowler made a statement in Hawaii with his untucked shirt in 2019.

Do PGA players have to tuck in their shirts?

No, PGA players technically do not need to tuck their shirts in, but they must present themselves with a neat and clean appearance and a tucked in shirt contributes to this desired look. Given that pants are compulsory in competitive rounds, it makes both practical sense and fashion sense to play with a tucked in shirt so that it doesn’t sway about and impede the golf swing.

While the rules are explicit when it comes to pants, with all players being compelled to wear them during competitive tour rounds (shorts are allowed during practice), the matter of shirts is a little more ambiguous. The direct message from the PGA is as follows:

“At all PGA Golf Management tournaments, players shall present themselves with a neat and clean appearance. Shorts or denim are not permitted to be worn by male competitors. Khakis or slacks and collared shirts must be worn by all male players. Female competitors may wear shorts or skirts.”

Bad news for any pro that has a bizarre desire to roll up to a tournament round in jeans, but it’s obvious that pants and a collared shirt are required.

Whether or not this technically calls for the shirt to be tucked in is unclear, but all players do, not only to look the part but to ensure loose clothing is all tucked away.

While newer golf clothing styles – such as hoodies or joggers – aren’t listed, the PGA does have a commitment to embrace the latest fashion trends, so long as they keep with the ‘neat and clean’ specification.

Can you wear a golf shirt with jeans?

Yes, you can definitely wear a golf shirt with jeans away from the course, with golfing polos becoming more and more fashionable as years go buy. They are a great way to show some character with vibrant patterns and many of the leading brands offer golf shirts at a range of different price points.

A reminder, though, that this only applies to casual settings away from the golf course; you certainly cannot wear jeans during a competition round, as this would violate the dress code of most private golf courses (you may be able to get away with wearing jeans on a public course).

One suggestion I probably would make though is to avoid wearing anything with abrasive golf branding that is clearly visible on the shirt.

The reason for this is purely because it may seem a little bizarre if a shirt that is obviously designed for golf is being worn to a weekend family BBQ.

Otherwise, golf shirts can function the same way any other polo shirt would, with brands all the way from Amazon Essentials to Hugo Boss offering a range of styles and designs to suit everyone’s budget and personality.

Are golf hoodies allowed?

Golf hoodies are allowed on course as long as the dress code of the club you are playing at permits them. Unfortunately, despite the golf hoodie gaining prominence on the professional circuits, many local clubs are still reluctant to allow members to wear them out on course.

It is a great frustration of mine that golf clubs, particularly more ‘exclusive’ golf clubs, maintain that certain attire such as hoodies and golf joggers are not acceptable golf wear and do not allow them within the scope of their dress code.

It seems bizarre that professional golfers, the players we all aspire to be like earning a living from golf, are allowed to wear certain clothing that is off limits to the public.

Only a few weeks ago a friend of mine was questioned about his hoodie at a public course that usually doesn’t allow them, despite the fact it was clearly branded with the FootJoy logo and sold specifically to be worn on the golf course.

As far as I am concerned, if certain attire is worn by the pros and created by golf manufacturers, then it should be allowed on course and clubs need to start becoming more progressive when it comes to their dress codes.

Final message

Golfing fashion has come a long way in recent years, and, unfortunately, is still a contentious issue with many lingering rules at certain clubs creating a barrier to new players taking up the game.

Nonetheless, one recommendation is probably clear: tucking your shirt in will help you meet most dress codes and help you make free and easy swings without your clothing getting in the way.

Pair this with the right shorts or pants and you’ll be ready to hit the course in any weather.

Lewis Carhart
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