Golf is such a civilized sport, even the throngs of spectators have a fancy name – they’re not crowds, they’re galleries.
So if you’ll be among the tens of thousands turning out at Quail Hollow for this week’s PGA championship, where national TV cameras will roll and celebrities will appear, you’ll want to give a little thought to how you look.
Seattle-based stylist Elizabeth Noblitt, who specializes in dressing women golfers and has lots to say about what fans should wear, too, offers these key guidelines for enjoying the tournament in comfort and style:
1. Bermuda shorts, sundresses and polo shirts are good; denim, T-shirts and short-shorts are bad. And consider solid colors over splashy prints.
“Considering it’s a high-end tournament, you could end up being on TV, and you don’t know if you’re going to end up in a clubhouse, or who you’re going to meet. So it’s better to go a little bit dressier,” Noblitt says.
Some clubhouses require collared shirts for men, so men should leave the T-shirts at home and reach for a polo shirt or a button-down instead.
“Not to say you can’t have fun and be comfortable, but it’s not the gym, and it’s not the beach.” (And yoga pants are definitely out of the question.)
If you know (or hope) you’ll be in the front row to watch the action, go for solids and stay away from bold, graphic prints.
Loud prints “can be distracting to the golfer, but also if you get caught on TV, it’s not very forgiving,” Noblitt says. “If you’re planning on being at the ropes, I would probably choose something a little more subdued.”
2. When it comes to footwear, go comfortable and go low (heel). Flip-flops are not your friend. And never, ever wear golf spikes to watch golf.
“There’s a lot of walking around, the terrain changes, and there’s a lot of standing, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes,” Noblitt says. “Women, if you have to wear a heel, make sure it’s a wedge, so you’re not aerating the golf course.”
Keep your golf spikes at home unless you want to be ridiculed. (Even caddies don’t wear golf cleats; you shouldn’t either.) For men, slip-on shoes or lace-up tennis shoes are a good pick, she says.
Flip-flops are a bad choice because there’s a higher risk for turning an ankle, Noblitt says, not to mention the annoying slapping and squeaking noises they make. (Remember: Golf tournaments are quiet places.)
A nice pair of wellies with a sundress can be a cute look on a rainy day, she says. If you’ll be spending time in a corporate tent and feel you need nicer kicks, stash a pair of heels in your handbag.
Which leads to :
3. Keep your handbags small, light and crossbody, if possible.
PGA rules for the championship prohibit handbags larger than 10 inches by 10 inches by 10 inches, and backpacks of any size or drawstring bags aren’t allowed.
You’ll be spending the day getting up-close with the people around you, so go for a bag that won’t whack your neighbors every time you turn around.
(When the forecast calls for rain, tuck the smallest umbrella you own in the bag you bring; umbrellas aren’t on the list of prohibited items at the championship.)
4. Keep in mind why you’re there and who you’re with.
Are you spending the day with your favorite 12-year-old? Or your boss’s boss? That should determine whether you pull on your favorite bermudas and a cute pair of slip-on sneakers, or a sophisticated sundress and nice sandals.
“Just be really cognizant of why you’re going and who you’re going with,” Noblitt says. “Know that there are TV cameras and celebrities around.”
If this is your first golf tournament, read up on golf etiquette to avoid missteps.
And did we mention leaving the yoga pants at home?