Why Can't Pro Golfers Wear Shorts? A Look at the Dress Code Policy

Why Can't Pro Golfers Wear Shorts? A Look at the Dress Code Policy

Muhammad Saleem Shahzad


Golf fashion has always been associated with formal attire, featuring pants and collared shirts. However, as the sport evolves, many golfers and fans have questioned the dress code policy that prohibits professional golfers from wearing shorts during competitive rounds. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the prohibition, the potential benefits of allowing shorts, and the opinions of players and experts in the golf industry.

The Dress Code Policy: Pants Only

The dress code policy of the PGA Tour, the premier professional golf tour, requires players to wear pants during competitive rounds. This rule has been in place for many years and is intended to maintain a formal and professional appearance on the course. Golfers are expected to adhere to this policy to uphold the tradition and image of the sport.

The PGA Tour did make a revision to the dress code policy in 2019, allowing players to wear shorts during non-competitive rounds such as practice and Pro-Am rounds. However, when it comes to official tournament play, pants remain the only acceptable attire.

The Call for Change: Why Allow Shorts?

Despite the long-standing tradition, there has been a growing call for change within the golf community. Many golfers believe that allowing shorts during competitive rounds would have several benefits, both for the players and the spectators.

Comfort and Performance

One of the primary arguments in favor of allowing golf shorts is the increased comfort and freedom of movement they provide. Golf is a physically demanding sport, requiring players to walk long distances and perform various athletic movements. Wearing pants in hot and humid conditions can be uncomfortable and restrictive, potentially affecting a player's performance.

Shorts, on the other hand, offer greater breathability and flexibility, allowing golfers to move more freely and stay cool during their rounds. This comfort can contribute to improved focus, concentration, and overall performance on the course.

Adaptation to Modern Times

Another reason to reconsider the dress code policy is the changing landscape of sports fashion and societal norms. Many sports have embraced more relaxed dress codes, with athletes opting for comfortable and functional attire. Allowing golfers to wear shorts would align the sport with these modern trends and attract a younger demographic to the game.

Viewer Experience

From a spectator's perspective, watching professional golfers in shorts could enhance the overall viewing experience. Shorts allow for better visibility of a golfer's movements, showcasing their swing mechanics and athleticism. This increased visibility could engage viewers and generate more excitement around the sport.

The Players' Perspectives: A Mix of Opinions

Opinions among professional golfers regarding the dress code policy vary. Some players prefer the traditional look and feel that pants provide, while others embrace the idea of wearing shorts on the course.

The Traditionalists' View

Golfers who prefer the traditional look argue that wearing pants conveys a more professional and polished image. They believe that formal attire, including pants, contributes to the overall aesthetic appeal of the sport. For them, maintaining the traditional dress code is essential for preserving the integrity and history of golf.

Charley Hoffman, chairman of the player advisory committee, represents this perspective. While acknowledging the comfort of shorts, he believes that pants provide a more professional and clean look, aligning with his personal preference and the older generation's viewpoint.

The Comfort Advocates

On the other side of the spectrum, some players advocate for the comfort and practicality of shorts. They argue that allowing shorts would not compromise the professionalism of the sport but rather adapt it to modern times and improve the overall experience for both players and spectators.

Brandt Snedeker, a professional golfer, believes that giving players the option to choose between pants and shorts would be beneficial, especially during hot summer months. He points out that the shock factor of seeing golfers in shorts  wearing off, and people are becoming more comfortable with the idea.

The Evolution of Golf Fashion: From Pants to Shorts

Over the years, golf fashion has undergone significant changes. Golfers are now more conscious of comfort, style, and performance when selecting their attire. Brands like Lululemon have introduced golf-specific clothing lines that incorporate innovative materials and design elements.

Lululemon's Commission Short offers golfers a comfortable and stylish alternative to traditional golf pants. Made from a mix of polyester and elastane, these shorts provide stretch, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties. Shorts come in various lengths, including 9-inch and 10.5-inch options, catering to different style preferences.

Embracing Change: The Future of Golf Attire

As the golfing community continues to discuss and debate the dress code policy, it is clear that change is on the horizon. The desire for increased comfort, adaptability to modern trends, and improved viewer experience is pushing the boundaries of traditional golf fashion.

While the PGA Tour's dress code policy remains unchanged for competitive rounds, the allowance of shorts in practice and non-competitive rounds indicates a gradual shift towards a more relaxed dress code. As the sport evolves, it is likely that golf will embrace a balance between tradition and modernity, providing golfers with the freedom to choose attire that enhances their performance and comfort.


The prohibition of shorts in professional golf has been a long-standing tradition upheld by the PGA Tour. However, many golfers and fans are questioning the rationale behind this dress code policy. The potential benefits of allowing shorts, such as increased comfort, adaptation to modern times, and an enhanced viewing experience, are driving the call for change.

While players' opinions on the matter differ, it is clear that the evolution of golf fashion is underway. Brands like Lululemon are introducing innovative golf-specific clothing options that combine style, functionality, and performance. As the sport moves forward, it is likely that a more relaxed dress code policy will be implemented, allowing golfers to choose attire that suits their comfort and enhances their performance on the course.

The future of golf fashion is on the horizon, and with it comes the possibility of shorts becoming a common sight during professional tournaments. Whether this change occurs in the near future or takes more time to materialize, one thing is certain – the golfing community is ready for a more flexible and modern approach to attire on the course.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.


This article was written by Muhammad Saleem Shahzad, Managing Editor of Fashion and Manufacturing. With more than a decade of experience in the Fashion industry, Muhammad reports on breaking news and provides analysis and commentary on all things related to fashion, clothing and manufacturing.