What Is A Golf Shirt? [Better Than A Polo?]

Clothing is a hugely important tradition in the game of golf. And when it comes to golf clothing, most golf courses still require golfers to follow a dress code while playing.

As a result, the question that often gets asked is “What actually is a golf polo shirt?” and is it any different to a standard polo shirt?

In this article, we’ll talk about what makes a golf polo shirt different to standard polo shirts.

What Are Golf Shirts?

What Are Golf Shirts?

What Is A Golf Polo Shirt?

A golf shirt is a polo shirt which has been designed specifically for playing golf. A golf polo shirt will have a longer sleeve length than a standard polo and will also be made of a more athletic material.

One of the most important elements of a golf shirt is what it’s made from. For a golf shirt to be functional for playing golf, it needs to have moisture-wicking technology and not be restrictive.

Golfers can spend many hours walking around in the heat, so it’s important that a golf shirt has some properties for combating sweat. This can include the material they’re made from, but also areas on the shirt which help promote good airflow.

A golf shirt also can’t be too restrictive or else it will affect how a golfer can swing the golf club. Therefore the fabric for golf shirts tend to be stretchy such as polyester-based or cotton blends with spandex, to allow the shirt to move with the golfer when they’re swinging.

Golf polo shirts tend to also have long sleeves, slightly longer than a basic polo shirt. This is again to allow for a good range of movement during the golf swing. Short sleeves can ride up the arms more and limit a golfer’s turn or motion.

With the new materials used, you can still have nice slim-fit shirts, which move with the player and aren’t restrictive.

Men’s golf shirts are also usually made slightly longer than a polo shirt. This is because a lot of golf clubs will require golfers to have their shirts tucked into their trousers. Golf requires a lot of bending over, so the shirt needs to be long enough to prevent it from becoming untucked every few holes.

The modern golf shirt is much more stylish than it used to be, with plenty of brands introducing bright colours and cool patterns to fit with the game today.

For me, a golf-specific polo shirt is a must-have when playing golf. They look great on the golf course, but also give me a full range of movement which is so important for a smooth swing.

What Makes A Good Golf Polo Shirt?

If you want a comfortable golf shirt for your next round of golf, which isn’t just a standard polo shirt, there’s a few things you should be looking for:

  • Golf-specific brand
  • Moisture wicking
  • Breathable and stretch materials
  • Protection from the sun
  • Full range of movement

If you follow these points, you should be able to find a golf shirt which not only looks great on the course but is also functional and gives you the best chance to play well.

History Of A Golf Polo Shirt

The golf shirts which we see today essentially come from the early years of the tennis shirt.

The first tennis shirt was designed by René Lacoste, a French tennis player in the early 20th century. He created the polo shirt which we know today, with short sleeves, button-ups, piqué collar and slightly longer back.

The shirt was then adopted by polo players as a better alternative to the formal attire which they’d been wearing up until the beginning of the 20th century.

Towards the mid-20th century, the shirt was then adopted by many golf clubs as the standard of golf clothing moved away from the very formal earlier days.

The tennis polo shirt offered something more casual and comfortable, but smart at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Golf shirts have evolved a lot from the more traditional clothing approach, with modern styles and much comfier materials in use.

This gives golfers the best possible clothing to wear while playing golf. At the end of the day, if you’re not comfortable and able to get a full range of movement during the swing, it’s going to have an impact on your golf game.

Just like a golf shirt, golf shoes will help your game. But if you’re unsure about it, check out our article on whether golf shoes are necessary.

If you’re wanting to know what to wear to a golf tournament, you can see what clothing should be worn to the US Open golf.


What defines a golf shirt?

A golf shirt is like a standard polo shirt, but with a more breathable fabric which is moisture-wicking and stretchy.

Is a golf shirt considered a collared shirt?

A golf shirt, just like a polo shirt is considered to be a collared shirt. The button-up, pique style is standard for any polo shirt.

Is it OK to wear golf shirt to work?

Yes, a golf shirt is smart casual, so most workplaces will allow a golf shirt if the dress code is smart casual attire.

Do I have to wear a polo to golf?

Most golf courses will require a collared shirt to play golf. However, with the game of golf and dress code gradually becoming more relaxed, many golf courses won’t have a specific type of dress code and collared shirts aren’t required.

Is a golf shirt formal?

A golf shirt is regarded as a smart casual choice. It’s neither formal or informal as it can be worn with other smarter clothes or can be kept casual on its own.

Why are golf shirts longer in the back?

Golf shirts are longer in the back so that they can remain tucked in during a round of golf. Some golf courses require shirts to be tucked in, so the longer shirt prevents it from coming out whilst golfers are swinging and bending over.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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