Golf Shoe Etiquette
Golf is a game founded on tradition and dress codes are an integral part of the game’s etiquette. Depending on the course, the code can be strict or lax. Typically, they follow the same rules. No jeans, no sports jerseys, golf polo and golf pants etc.
While the rules regarding golf attire are sometimes excessive, they have started to relax in recent years. When looking at the professional game, the wearing of hoodies, as well as shorts in practice rounds for males, are just two examples of how the sport is evolving.
And this etiquette extends to golf shoes too. Not all shoes can be worn on a golf course. Some are specifically banned as part of the dress code, sandals aren’t usually welcome at most golf clubs! There are three types of golf shoes that can be worn: metal spikes, rubber/plastic spikes and spikeless. This article will look at what to wear and when and in what settings.
Spiked Or Spikeless Shoes
In recent times, spikeless shoes have grown in popularity. They’re sleek and cool and look almost identical to trainers or sneakers. But while they look good, how do they hold up in practice? Are they a better option than the traditional spiked golf shoe? To make this decision, there are a few points to consider.
Spikeless shoes do offer a certain level of traction, but it is limited when compared to spiked shoes. As a result, spikeless shoes aren’t as effective when it comes to wet conditions when that extra level of grip is required to prevent slipping. Save the spikeless shoes for those dry, summer days.
Spiked golf shoes are for the golf course. Spikeless golf shoes can be worn at home, in the car, on the course and in the clubhouse afterward. They look like regular trainers and unless told, it’s unlikely anyone would be able to tell the difference.
This one really depends on a golfer’s preference. Spikeless shoes are like sneakers. They’re new and fresh. Spiked golf shoes come in a variety of looks. They are sleeker and classier and really the choice all depends on the look someone is going for.
Golf shoes go through a lot on the course. Water, sand, jungle (cough, that’s just me is it?). They need to be durable and stand the test of time. Unfortunately, spikeless shoes, share more than just looks in common with trainers. They also have the same durability. A spiked golf shoe, on the other hand, is able to carry the load of whatever is thrown at it and will last for a longer time.
Golf is hard on the feet. After all, walking 6 miles over a variety of undulating terrain does take its toll. You want to be equipped with something comfortable and this is where the spikeless shoes stand out. They are naturally going to be a bit more comfortable and breathable than most spiked shoes.
Better Not To Wear Metal Spikes
Nowadays, probably 99% of all golf shoes use rubber cleats. Up until maybe two decades ago, metal spikes were the dominant form of traction for golf shoes. And they were very effective. After all, what better way to get stability on a golf swing than by anchoring yourself to the ground?
But they have fallen out of favor in recent years. Some golf courses don’t even allow them anymore. Many cringe at the click, click they make. But there’s a very good reason for this.
Rubber cleats are gentle on the ground. Sure, they make some sort of scuff mark, especially when wet, but it is minimal in comparison. Old-fashioned spikes made from metal, however, do pull up a lot of ground, especially where it matters most, the greens. It is very obvious if a player is playing with metal spikes because the putting surface is going to be littered with spike marks that have to be tapped down. For this reason, it is better to avoid wearing them.
Golf Shoes in the Clubhouse
Many clubhouses have a strict “no golf shoe” policy. But when it comes to spikeless shoes, this rule may change slightly. Given that they look so much like trainers, clubhouses will probably allow them as long as they are clean and dry.
A note of warning though, some clubhouses don’t even allow trainers which would rule out the spikeless shoe as well.
Some clubs may have a spike bar or dirty bar. Here you can go and get a drink without needing to change from your golf gear, shoes as well! Although most clubs might still expect you to clean them off first to save making a mess if it’s muddy.
Should I Change My Shoes On The Car Park?
The majority of private clubs would expect you to change your golf shoes in the locker room. Changing your shoes in the parking lot would be a problem. Since the pandemic though a lot of clubs have relaxed this rule so you can change shoes where you like.
What Footwear to Use at a Driving Range
Should you wear your proper golf shoes to a driving range? That’s completely up to you. Some people like to wear them, others don’t. Usually, a regular pair of trainers will suffice but a pair of spikeless golf shoes will help you perform at your best. The only time this might change is if the surface of the ground or mat is wet. Then a pair of spiked shoes might be a wise choice.
Golf Shoes as Casual Shoes
When it comes to spiked shoes, there is no chance of wearing them as casual shoes. Could you imagine your metal spikes sounding out with every step you took up the main street? Nope, me neither. It just doesn’t happen. Even using modern shoes with plastic or rubber cleats is a bit of a no-no as you’re just going to wear down the soft spikes too quickly.
Spikeless shoes are perfectly acceptable as casual shoes. Though golfers may want to avoid overdoing it as it may impact their durability and performance on the course.
Golf Shoe Etiquette: Summary
Golf shoes are an integral part of the game and are required for almost every golf course in the world. Players have the luxury of choosing from spikeless shoes or spiked shoes with either metal or rubber cleats. Golfers should steer clear of metal spikes and spikeless shoes might be better in dry conditions.
When it comes to versatility though, the spikeless shoe is unparalleled, particularly if you get one that looks like a shoe rather than an athletic shoe. They can be worn in public or on the course and are modern and trendy.