How to Buy Golf Shorts

By Matthew DeBord

You'd think buying a pair of golf shorts would be straightforward. However, like everything else in golf, there are rules. Sometimes, the rules for wearing golf shorts are actually written down, notably at private clubs. For the most part, however, the rules are informal, but based on sound principles of good taste---for men and women. In fact, for most of golf's history, shorts for men weren't even allowed. Their appearance was a concession of the popularization of the game, as well as an awareness that playing in long pants in hot weather could be unhealthy.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy
Step 1
Familiarize yourself with the requirements of your club or the golf courses you usually play. Even most public courses now have a dress code. Typically, shorts for men must fall close to the knee, and they must be in good repair. No cutoffs, for example, and no jogging shorts or swimming trunks. Women have more leeway, but some clubs and courses frown on short-shorts.
Step 2
Know your options. Simple flat-front khaki shorts are a good option for men. Pleated khaki shorts are also fine. Cotton is a popular fabric, but many apparel manufacturers also offer shorts in microfiber, a lighter synthetic material that wicks away sweat. Generally speaking, even when wearing shorts, tuck in your shirt and wear a belt.
Step 3
Understand that ladies have more options. Men operate within a small range of styles---solid colors or plaid, for example---but women can choose from Bermuda-style shorts to skorts to relatively snug short-shorts to pedal-pushers. Women also have more opportunity to experiment with pattern and color.
Step 4
Try a pair of cargo shorts. The large, extra pockets are great for holding balls, tees, gloves and other accessories, making it easy to get to these items without returning to your golf bag.
Step 5
Assess your shopping choices. You can often buy golf shorts directly from the manufacturers via their websites or from other online retailers, or you can go the old-fashioned route and purchase golf shorts at a bricks-and-mortar establishment or at the pro shop of your club. Online retailers often have the best prices, but your pro shop may be running a clearance sale. Also, online retailers don't give you the opportunity to try on shorts for fit, but you can try on shorts at the pro shop.

Tips & Warnings

Socks matter. These days, men usually wear ankle socks when they wear shorts. Crew socks---and anything longer---are far less common. Color is a personal choice. Women typically wear peds. Most of the major golf shoemakers also produce socks. Don't forget to wear some sunscreen when you wear shorts.
Socks matter. These days, men usually wear ankle socks when they wear shorts. Crew socks---and anything longer---are far less common. Color is a personal choice. Women typically wear peds. Most of the major golf shoemakers also produce socks.
Don't forget to wear some sunscreen when you wear shorts.
Women can generally wear shorts whenever they like, but for men, the tradition is to wait until temperatures reach summertime levels. Occasionally, if you're playing a morning round that will stretch into midday, it's acceptable to start out with shorts and a jacket or sweater. Although they might seem OK for length, synthetic or nylon basketball-type shorts and surf shorts are never acceptable on the golf course. Shorts should be in good repair: clean, and without holes or excessive fraying.
Women can generally wear shorts whenever they like, but for men, the tradition is to wait until temperatures reach summertime levels. Occasionally, if you're playing a morning round that will stretch into midday, it's acceptable to start out with shorts and a jacket or sweater.
Although they might seem OK for length, synthetic or nylon basketball-type shorts and surf shorts are never acceptable on the golf course.
Shorts should be in good repair: clean, and without holes or excessive fraying.

About The Author

Matthew DeBord has written about sports, cars, and wine since 1994 for a variety of publications. Formerly the golf columnist for the “Improper Hamptonian,” he has covered major championship tournaments and played some of the best courses in America. He graduated from Clemson University and has a master's degree from New York University.

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