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Golf Pants vs. Dress Pants

Lets take a close look at the golf pants and dress pants showcasing their difference in material, feel, comfort and features to choose which one will fit better in your life.

This is a man wearing a pair of tan golf pants while playing.

As many of us are returning to the office and rearing to go full steam ahead into leisure activities like golf, you may be looking to extend your wardrobe.

Do you splurge on dress pants or golf pants?

Golf pants are worn when playing golf. A pleated or flat front and athletic, roomy fit golf pants allow the wearer to swing the golf club without feeling restricted. Dress pants are made from wool or polyester and are worn when a dress code calls for formal or semi-formal attire.

Most golf courses have a somewhat formal dress code; wearing jeans or sweatpants on the golf course is not allowed. So could you wear dress pants on the greens? What about wearing golf pants to the board meeting?

Although similar, there are differences between golf pants and dress pants.

Main Differences Between Golf Pants and Dress Pants

These are men wearing suits and dress pants together with a lady wearing orange dress.

Dress pants are made from thicker material because they are considered formal wear. They often have details like cuffs and pleats.

Golf pants are made from thinner material and feature a more athletic fit.

Although dress pants are not tight-fitting, the wearer may feel restricted when swinging a golf club. The material used to make dress pants don’t have as much stretch as the material used to make golf pants.

Golf pants are designed with the golfer in mind. They are created with enough room so that the player does not feel restricted when swinging the club.

Like most formal wear, dress pants are lined. The lining gives dress pants a luxurious feel and helps the outer fabric drape better. However, lined pants will be far too hot on the golf course.

Golf pants are not lined and are therefore cooler. They are made from lightweight material that is breathable and quick-drying.

It is not unusual for golf players to wade through wet grass, sandy patches, and mud. Dress pants are made from fabric that won’t withstand such conditions and will likely get stained or ruined. Golf pants are made from more robust material, so less likely to be damaged by wet grass and mud.

Golf pants are usually more expensive than dress pants. This is because these pants are made from material that is at the cutting edge of fabric technology. 

Features of Golf Pants

This is a man in full swing while playing golf.

Made from polyester and cotton or a combination of the two, golf pants offer a four-way stretch, ensuring complete freedom of movement. The golfer can jump in and out of his golf cart quickly and bend down easily to pick up his golf ball. He is also able to swing his golf club comfortably and without restriction.

Breathable, lightweight, and with quick-drying properties, golf pants will effectively wick sweat away from your body. This is especially important when golfing during drizzly weather or when the golf has to walk through wet grass.

Like most sportswear, modern golf pants are made from the best fabric technology and have antimicrobial and UV protection.

The most well-thought-out golf pants feature pockets that are easily accessible and designed to store golfing necessities like tees and ball marks, offering convenience to the wearer.

Features of Dress Pants

This is a man wearing a formal suit and dress pants next to a small car.

Also known as slacks or formal pants, dress pants are loose-fitting trousers that feature a non-elastic waistband.

While dress pants are most commonly made from wool fabrics or wool blends, they are sometimes made from linen.

Most dress pants come with a front crease. A front crease is a solid crease line that is ironed down the middle of each pant leg.

The Versatility of Golf Pants and Dress Pants

Golf pants are comfortable and have a tailored appearance. Therefore they can be worn on the golf course and beyond. They will not look out of place worn to the office.

Although dress pants are loose-fitting, it is not advisable to wear these to play a round of golf. They are restrictive when swinging a club. Since they are made from wool and wool blends, they are not quick drying or breathable, making them uncomfortably hot. 

History of Dress Pants

With its straight legs and wide crotch, it is believed that the oldest known pants were made to be worn during horseback riding. These pants are made from wool and can be found in China. They are supposed to have been worn between the 10th and 13th centuries BC.

By the 19th century, pants started to resemble the ones worn now, with a loose fit and a button fly. Queen Victoria’s eldest son Edward VIII was a style icon of the time. It is said that Prince Edward VIII made the front crease of dress pants famous.

Dress pants, as we know them today, emerged during the 1930s.

History of Golf Pants

This is a close look at a woman riding a horse while wearing pants.

With origins in Scotland, the earliest golfers paired shirts and neckties with knee-length knickerbockers, thick stockings, heavy tweed jackets, and tweed caps to guard against the cold, windy climate.

By the 1920s, the more affluent players distinguished themselves by pairing longer-length knickerbockers with patterned socks and two-tone shoes. They wore a knitted cardigan or “Norfolk” jacket over their shirt and tie on cooler days.

It was during the 1930s that neckties were discarded, and knickerbockers were replaced with flannel trousers. This allowed men to go to the golf course straight from the office.

The golf attire that we see today first started to emerge during the 1940s when men began to wear lightweight dress pants and short-sleeved shirts. Golf shoes featured spiked soles, and hats with a brim were worn.

“Eisenhower” jackets with a roomy shoulder fit and snug waistband became popular because they allowed the wearer to swing the golf club without restriction.

Dress pants and golf pants both have their own features and benefits. Golf pants are far more versatile, and they will give you more mileage.

If you are an avid golfer, invest in a few pairs of good-quality golf pants. These can take you from the stress and intensity of the boardroom to the peace and tranquillity of the golf course seamlessly.


Golf Cart Report: Golf Pants Vs. Dress Pants

Hockerty: Slacks vs. Dress Pants

USA Today: Golf Tips: Historical Golf Clothing