What to Wear and Bring to a Golf Tournament: A Spectator's Guide
Whether you are going to one of the four major golf championships or another popular golf tournament, you need to know what to wear and what you are allowed to bring. Each tournament may vary on specific regulations, but there are some basic rules to follow.
In general, attire should be modest and sensible. What you bring in the gates should not distract the players or take away from the experience of fellow spectators. At a major golf tournament, you may be asked to leave if you do not follow the rules. Keep in mind that you are a guest, albeit a paying one!
The Four Major Golf Championships
Have you attended one of the four major golf championships?
- 5% Yes, The Masters
- 14% Yes, The PGA Championship
- 9% Yes, the US Open
- 5% Yes, the British Open
- 5% Yes, more than one
- 61% No, not yet.
Women love to dress up for special occasions, and big golf tournaments are no exception. Golf is a civilized sport, and the atmosphere is quite reserved. Spectator attire should reflect this by being modest and tasteful. At the same time, you need to dress comfortably.
You should avoid wearing clothes that are tight-fitting, low-cut, brightly colored, or skimpy. Classic styles work best and can be spruced up with some fashionable accessories. When I went to the 2012 PGA Championship, I added a chunky blue necklace and a matching small purse with long straps to jazz up my simple shorts and short-sleeved shirt outfit.
Since guests will walk a lot through grass, sand, and sometimes mud to view the golf players, comfortable shoes are a must. A sturdy pair of sandals or some cute tennis shoes or flats are perfect. Do not wear heels or flip-flops. Keep in mind that heavy makeup does not do well for outdoor events, especially in very warm weather. Use sunscreen and a light layer of makeup for a fresh look. A wide-rimmed hat or visor will keep the sun off your face.
Sleeveless or short-sleeved blouse/shirt
Shorts or skort (nice slacks in cooler weather)
Wide-rimmed hat, visor, or cap
Comfortable flats or tennis shoes
Cardigan or windbreaker
Like women, men should avoid overly casual clothes such as tee shirts, tank tops, jeans, and cut-offs. A classic outfit for the male spectator would be a nice pair of shorts or khakis and a golf shirt. Another option is a button-down oxford shirt, long- or short-sleeved. Here are some tips:
- Wear neutral colors and nothing flashy.
- Solid colors look better than loud stripes or prints.
- Tuck in your shirt and wear a belt.
- Don't advertise your favorite sports team on your shirt or hat.
- Resist the temptation to wear your golf spikes.
Oxford button down shirt
Solid-colored wind breaker
Golf shoes (spikes)
Tennis shoes, sturdy sandals, or loafers
2012 PGA Tournament
What to Bring
Since you will be walking around the golf course most of the day, you don't want to lug around a bunch of items. If you are allowed to bring in a bag, a backpack with shoulder straps would be easy to carry. Many people had these at the 2012 PGA tournament on Kiawah Island.
You may be surprised to know that children are welcomed at the major golf tournaments. That said, running and rambunctious behavior are not allowed, so you will have to supervise young children.
These are some other items you may want to bring along:
- Bug spray
- Rain poncho
- Camera (only on practice rounds for major tournaments)
- Cell phone (on silent or vibrate)
- Small portable folding chair
- Money for parking, refreshments, and souvenirs
I learned something new at this year's PGA championship. Plastic rain ponchos are a great investment. They are lightweight and easy to carry in your pocket or bag. An umbrella is more burdensome to carry and must be closed when the game is in play if you're in the stands.
What Not to Bring
Now that you know what you should bring, here are some things you should leave at home:
- Infants and toddlers
- Large chairs with wide arm rests
- Video cameras