There are no set USGA "rules" regarding the wearing of golf shoes. However, golf etiquette requires golfers to take care of the course and to be considerate to other golfers, and in golf, etiquette is just as important as any rule. Whether if a golfer plays at a private club requiring golf shoes, slacks and a polo shirt, or plays at a public club where T-shirts and shorts are the norm, knowing the etiquette is a must.
Golf shoes may not seem to add a huge advantage, but any golfer who has hit a shot off a steep slope can tell you they make a difference. Golf shoes can have metal or plastic spikes on the bottom (most clubs allow plastic spikes only) and help the golfer by digging into the ground. By rooting the golfer in place, the shoes help to increase both balance and power. Many shoes are also waterproof to keep a golfer's socks dry when hitting out of sprinkler water.
Etiquette in the Clubhouse
A golfer should not put on his golf shoes until he reaches the dressing room. The plastic spikes can wear and break on pavement, becoming rough in the process. These rough spikes can grab carpet in the clubhouse and rip more grass from the golf course than necessary. If a dressing room is not available, a golfer can sit at a bench near the starting station and change from his normal pair of shoes there.
Etiquette on the Course
It is acceptable to dig into the grass before teeing off, but a golfer should make sure he is not adding damage to the grass in the tee box already full of divots from drives. Any large holes should be filled with the mixture of sand and seed provided on the golf cart. If no seed is provided, pressing down around the torn grass with the bottom of a putter or a driver will suffice.
Etiquette on the Green
Ball marks scuff the green, leaving skids and dents. These are easy to see and a golfer should fix the mark left by his ball. Golf shoes can also damage the greens, but the damage can be harder to see. Take care not to dig into the green with golf shoes. If accidental damage does occur, pressing the grass down with a putter (just like fixing a ball mark) will help preserve the green.
A golfer will look his best by knowing what type of shoes belongs with certain colors, pants or shorts. When wearing pants, the color of the socks should match the color of the pant legs. Any color of golf shoe can look good with pants. When wearing shorts, use a pair of white shoes with a brown or black saddle or solid black shoes with black socks.
- Photo Credit play golf image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com excellent golf drive image by Denise Kappa from Fotolia.com put in hole image by Xavier MARCHANT from Fotolia.com
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