Why Do People Wear Golf Hats? Do They Help?

Picture a group of golfers on a golf course. Besides their golf clubs, what do they all have in common? Chances are, it’s the fact that every one of them is most certainly wearing a golf hat. Indeed, you’ll rarely see a player without one—whether it’s a visor, a golf cap, or even a wide-brim hat. But no, it’s not an unofficial rule or part of the golf dress code: it’s simply a matter of both form and function.

Why do people wear golf hats?

Put simply, there are five main reasons people wear golf hats:

  1. To protect themselves from the sun
  2. To enhance their visibility on the golf course
  3. To help prevent overheating in hot weather or during long games
  4. To express their personal style
  5. To meet requirements for endorsements set by sponsors

Does wearing a hat help in golf?

Based on the above, wearing a hat can certainly help – most notably by improving vision during a game. Shielding the eyes from the sun allows golfers to see the course more clearly and focus on the game without being blinded or distracted by sun glare. It also allows them to concentrate: imagine lining up a shot with the sun beating in your eyes. Besides being annoying, it’s also nearly impossible – so you can see why wearing a hat is so important.

Immediately after taking a swing, golfers also need to follow the trajectory of their ball; a hat helps ensure you can look up at the sky without your vision becoming obscured by the sun.

Finally, as anyone who’s ever donned a disguise will know, there’s a sense of anonymity or ‘shielding’ that occurs when you put on a hat. Psychologically, this can have huge benefits during a game, as it can help golfers block out distractions and stay focused on the game. Whether it’s spectators during a tournament, other golfers or even just a bird on the green, wearing a hat can help you concentrate solely on lining up your shot.

Is a hat required, according to etiquette or golf dress codes?

Strictly speaking, the answer to this question is no. That said, golf hats have been part of the game since the game first came into existence in the 15th century. Back then, Scots wore a tweed jacket, knickerbockers (breeches with baggy knees), and a flat cap.

As a sport, golf is widely known for its traditions and heritage, and hats are an intrinsic part of that heritage. Some golf clubs have branded hats, and while it’s not usually a requirement to wear one during a game on the course, many players choose to wear it out of support for their club and to showcase their membership and affiliation in an instantly recognizable way.

Different kinds of golf hats

Even if a golf cap is the most commonly seen head covering on a golf course, there’s actually a range of options when it comes to choosing a golf hat – and, of course, plenty of colors, patterns, logos and motifs, too.

Historically, in the 15th century, Scottish golfers wore flat caps; then, in the 1920s, when the iconic golf ‘look’ we think of today began to develop, people wore mostly wide-brimmed straw hats while golfing. Both of those are still considered acceptable hat types, as are bucket hats, caps, and visors.

What hats do pro golfers wear?

Many professional golfers wear a hat as part of their sponsorship agreement. Indeed, in addition to a jacket or shirt with a logo on it, this is one of the most obviously visible – and often photographed – ways in which a player can be immediately identified as being sponsored by a particular brand.

Even if they are not provided with headwear, most professional players wear a cap: you’d be hard pressed to find images of a professional golfer at a tournament without one.

Of course, as a sign of respect, many golfers do remove their hats during official ceremonies, or when shaking hands, entering clubhouses, or even posing for photographs. This follows general etiquette around hat-wearing and nods to the respectful, traditional nature of the game.

How to wear a golf hat

It may come as a surprise that there are options when it comes to how to actually wear a golf hat. If you prefer to keep things simple and opt for a cap, you can pretty much wear it with any golf outfit, in most conditions – just throw on and go.

If, however, you want to show a little more of your personal style on the golf course, feel free to switch your hat up: playing with color or print is an easy way to dip a toe into a more fashion-forward approach to your golf hat, especially if you stick to a silhouette that you’re comfortable in. If that’s easy too, why not try a different hat style altogether? These days, a bucket hat or straw hat is a more unconventional choice: just be sure it offers the right amount of sun protection and sun glare prevention so you can focus on your game.

Hats and other accessories for inclement weather

If you’re hitting the links on a rainy day, you’ll want head protection of a different sort: a golf umbrella and waterproof, lightweight jacket are essentials, sure, but so is a waterproof cap. Look for one that offers fleece lining and ear flaps if it’s likely to be chilly – and don’t forget extra cool-weather accessories such as a golf snood or neck warmer, too.


A good hat or visor is a must when it comes to golf – which explains why you hardly ever see a golfer without one on his or her head. Whether you choose a hat purely for sun protection, to represent your brand alliances, or to showcase your style personality on the course, there are plenty of options when it comes to hats.

Have other questions about what to wear for a game of golf? Check out What to Wear Golfing: Golf Dress Codes and Appropriate Fashion for men’s golf attire and What to Wear Golfing for Women: Female Golf Dress Code.