What to Wear and Bring to a Golf Tournament: A Spectator's Guide

Updated on May 20, 2016
PGA 2012 - Kiawah Island, SC
PGA 2012 - Kiawah Island, SC | Source

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

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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.

Modest sundress
Graphic tees
Tube tops
Sleeveless or short-sleeved blouse/shirt
Spaghetti straps
Shorts or skort (nice slacks in cooler weather)
Wide-rimmed hat, visor, or cap
Sturdy sandals
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.

Nice shorts
Golf shirt
Gym shorts
Oxford button down shirt
Tank tops
Tee shirts
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:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug spray
  • Rain poncho
  • Umbrella
  • Binoculars
  • 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
  • Pets
  • Coolers
  • Alcohol
  • Weapons
  • Large chairs with wide arm rests
  • Signs
  • Radios
  • Video cameras


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    • profile image

      Leeve854@gmail.com 19 months ago

      Can you carry a pull string back pack to carry your sunscreen and bug spray and rain gear?

    • Darrell Kindley profile image

      Darrell Kindley 21 months ago from Fort Worth, TX

      Awesome hub. I wish everyone would follow your advice!

    • profile image

      Steve 2 years ago

      Under the don'ts I saw golf shoes. This all depends on the venue. I recently attended the PGA Championship at Whistling Straights. NOT wearing golf shoes is dangerous. The course is filled with hills and slippery grass. I couldn't tell you how many people I saw bail for the sides of mounds or trying to go up or down hills. 5 of the 6 people I attended with wore golf shoes. Only one of us fell. Can you guess which one?

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 4 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Thank you all for your comments! With school starting, I have been away from my "desk"and missed this.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 4 years ago from India

      I have never gone to a golf tournament. It is interesting to know the importance of dress code here

      Voted up and shared

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 4 years ago

      If ever the invitation arrives I will know what to wear now.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Congratulations on HOTD, well deserved! I thought this was an informative and interesting article on what to wear and bring to a golf tournament. You offered some great tips for both men and women. I think it is important for people to know protocol. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Nice guide! Congrats!

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Though I never played this game, I love it. What attracts me is the serene beauty of the place it is being played. It is a lovely game and enjoyable watching. You have given some valuable tips on it. Informative and useful. Thank you for sharing. Voted up and shared.

    • Lavender Jade profile image

      Lavender Jade 4 years ago from Derbyshire

      Hi chaplin Speaks, great hub, although I do not go, my husband and son have been to quite a few tournaments in the UK, and what they seem to need it anything to keep you dry. They have been rained off quite a few times!

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      As a golfer I can't attest the important proper attire enough!

      This is a wonderful guide..thumbs up :)

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, Teresa. I hope you do get a chance to go to a big golf tournament. It is an interesting experience even if you don't play golf.

      Hi, teaches12345. I am sure you looked great at the PGA tournament you attended. Even though modern attire seems to get more and more revealing and casual, I have to say that the majority of the PGA spectators this year dressed conservatively and sensibly. We were a pretty tame crowd with the exception of the two brothers that climbed the score board and changed the letters to their last name as leaders in the game!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Voted useful and interesting. We attended a PGA tournament and this would have helped to make sure we were properly dressed. I don't think we broke any of the rules, but it would have been great to verify it!

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Well done and interesting. My dad is an avid golf fan and I have a husband and son who enjoy playing the game. The tables of do's and don'ts are very helpful. I don't know if we'll ever make it to a game but we'll certainly know how to prepare ourselves if we get the opportunity.

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Thanks, K9. I have to say that I have only been a spectator and never really played that much golf! My husband gave it a try years ago, but now has been inspired to take some lessons. Maybe I will join him.......

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 5 years ago from Northern, California

      This is a fantastic guide for any new golfer, or new golf tournament fan! Your do's and don'ts charts are really helpful. This make me want to dust off the medal-woods and head out to the range. It has been longer then expected since I have hit a few. Your hub is inspiring. Great stuff here.


    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, missolive. What to wear and bring to these golf tournaments is always something that comes up. The Masters is next, and I hope to get a ticket. Those are so sought after that you have to enter a lottery to "win" tickets!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Good to know. I have never gone to a golf tournament. This is a great guide for determining the do's and don'ts of tournament dress code. Your gender related tables are especially helpful. I also found the What to Bring list useful as well.

      Thank you for sharing an informative and useful hub.