There are many people who have tried to get into golfing only to be scared away by something as simple as a dress code. There are clubs that are very lenient, but if you wish to play the bigger and more well-known courses, chances are they are very strict on this code. It all depends on where you go.
A good way to tell if the club you are researching has such a strict dress code is by looking at the cost of the annual green fees, the higher the fees the more likely the dress code is strict. Generally, a collared shirt and suit trousers with proper golfing footwear is acceptable at the strictest of clubs. There are clubs that will accept denim shorts or long blue jeans in place of the trousers, but will still require proper footwear and a collared shirt. Proper footwear are golf shoes with softspikes, as most clubs have now banned metal spikes. The most lenient will likely accept jeans and a normal t-shirt. If you wish to play, but are not willing to dress to the codes, ask around and you will very likely find a club close enough to you that you can play with just your regular shorts, shirt and trainers.
While the green fees are a good indicator, if you are planning to play a new course and do not wish to be turned away, call ahead. Assumption will likely get you turned away, if the course you visit is an upscale one. Always make sure you call first, it will save you time and them the embarrassment of having to tell you that you cannot play because you do not meet their dress codes.
While there are many brands that make clothing you could use to play golf in, the best way to avoid all the problems and embarrassment would be to buy from a professional golf shop. Everything you buy there will most likely meet the dress codes for all golf courses. There are also shops that have a specific section where they sell sports clothes, golf included, which should meet most courses dress codes.
In summary, most golf courses have dress codes but if you wear a collared t-shirt and some nice trousers with a pair of soft-spiked golf shoes you will get along just fine at 90% of golf courses around the world. But again, call ahead just to be sure.
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