Do Golfers Have To Wear Hats?

Headwear, whether caps or hats, has always been synonymous with golf. The traditional doffing of the cap or taking it off to shake hands with the other players or opponents is a well-known scenario once the round is completed – but do golfers have to wear hats?

Golfers do not have to wear hats as no rule in golf stipulates the wearing of headgear as either compulsory or recommended. While there are definite health considerations regarding sun protection that warrant wearing caps or hats by golfers, it is not mandatory.

So, if wearing a hat is not part of the dress code nor required under the rules of golf, why do so many golfers wear them, and what are the benefits of wearing a hat, cap, or visor while playing golf?

Why Do Golfers Wear Hats When Playing Golf

There are several excellent reasons to wear some headgear when playing golf: protection from the sun, reduction in glare, temperature control, and if you are good enough – advertising space!

professional golfers wear hats on the European tour

Let’s explore each of these reasons why golfers wear hats in some more detail.

Hats And Caps Offer Sun Protection

The primary reason that golfers wear hats on the golf course is to protect their faces and head from sunburn and prolonged exposure to solar radiation while on the golf course.

If you wear a baseball-style cap, that would not afford neck protection but would undoubtedly provide a good head and face protection level. A bush hat or wide-brimmed hat is better for a greater defense against sunburn, especially if you have sensitive skin.

When playing golf and considering the increasing levels of skin cancer seen in modern society, golfers are far more knowledgeable of the risks associated with being outdoors in the sun with little or no protection for the arms, neck, face, and head.

Of course, wearing hats alone is not adequate, and good quality sunscreen should always be used in conjunction with a golf hat for maximum protection.

Wear A Hat Or Cap On The Golf Course To Reduce Glare

Aside from the protection element, reducing or eliminating glare on the golf course is another fundamental reason to wear a golf hat or cap when playing golf. The sun’s reflection off the water and other surfaces can make playing golf quite unpleasant.

wear hats during your golf game as an avid golfer provides skin protection for your entire life

It becomes challenging to focus on your swing and golf ball direction when the sun is in your eyes or you have a reflective glare in your line of sight. You may need to swing blind off the tee or fairway without a hat if the glare is too great.

If you’re on the green, having to shield your eyes against glare is very uncomfortable and makes putting even more problematic as it becomes a challenge to see the putting line when competing against the sun.

Glare on the golf course is terrible when the sun is lower in the skies, such as early morning and late afternoon. Most golfers who have elected not to wear golf hats or cap when playing at those times inevitably go and buy a baseball hat or golf hat after that first experience.

Remember that dealing with the sun’s glare harms your eyes, making them red and sore as the light intensity forces you to try and shield them and the best way to do that is to wear baseball caps or golf hats. Some players also wear sunglasses to help with the glare during their golf shot.

Control Your Temperature By Wearing A Hat

These days, many baseball caps and golf hats have built-in sweatbands to assist with temperature control while on the course. They are also often made of breathable materials that allow air to circulate around your head and cool you down while playing.

This airflow helps cool you off as you sweat and the sweatband absorbs sweat and stops it from running into your eyes while you are playing, and anyone who has ever had that happen knows how uncomfortable that can be!

golfers wear hats and carry golf bags as a sponsorship opportunity

Pro golfers especially have a great need for this as they spend hours on the course during tournaments, and most of them will walk the course rather than ride in a cart and have more exposure to the sun than weekend players that use a golf cart.

Professional Golfers Wear Hats And Caps For Advertising Space

While most of us mere golfing mortals will never have a sponsor, professional golfers use the space on their golf hats for endorsements and advertising. The cap or golf hat is a very prominent piece of real estate for the players’ sponsor.

The next time you are watching professional golfers on TV, look at the number of logos present on their caps or hats, and you will see that they often have more than one brand represented there.

Those PGA tour players get paid a lot of money to play a specific golf ball, swing specific golf clubs, use a specific golf bag and wear a hat with their sponsor’s logo on it.

While amateur and weekend players will buy branded golf attire, many golf day organizers utilize golf caps for branding and offer that space to their event sponsors to give them greater exposure to the players in the event.

Golf Hats And A Baseball Style Hat Can Be Worn For Fashion

Finally, many golfers that seek to be fashionable on the course may choose to wear caps, like bucket hats, or a normal sun hat, that complements their golfing outfit while they play golf; whether it’s matching brands or colors, the addition of a matching hat adds some status to their golf outfit.

Many apparel manufacturers offer a variety of hats, caps, beanies, visors, bush hats, winter hats and other headwear to allow their customers to accessorize their outfits to the max!

Golfers may choose hats that match their shirts, belts, or even shoes and, over time, build up quite a collection of golf manufacturers logoed hats to suit every season and occasion!


While golfers don’t have to wear hats, very few, don’t, as the benefits of wearing hats on the golf course far outweigh any instance of not having one. It is undeniably a key component in the golfing outfit and, of course, forms part of the gentlemanly nature of the game.

To pay respect to your opponents and playing partners as you close off your round by removing your golf hat and shaking hands is one of the little mannerisms that makes golf the game of gentlemen and gentleladies worldwide.

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