Can I Play Golf In Trainers?

Is it ok to wear a pair of trainers out onto the fairways?

Can I play golf in trainers
Many golf shoes are now styled on trainers
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Among those who don’t play the game, golf still has an unfair reputation for stuffiness and unnecessary authoritarianism. Back in the second half of the 20th Century, many clubs in this country were run by the type of chap who boasted an impressive moustache, had once been the proud owner of a swagger stick and had led a division at El Alamein. They hadn’t got to where they were by tolerating sloppy dressing, I can tell you.

50-years ago, the sight of trainers in a golf club was a very rare one indeed and recorded instances between 1950 and 1980 induced an average of two heart-attacks and 1.6 cases of severe choking on bread and butter pudding.

All Things Change

Things change though. Today’s golf clubs and facilities are far more relaxed and dress codes are largely a thing of the past. At all but the most traditional clubs, playing golf in trainers is absolutely fine. Even at those super-traditional clubs, playing in trainers would likely be allowed, although some might still object to them in the dining room afterwards!

Some clubs might give advice along the lines that “suitable footwear is recommended.” Golf requires decent grip, particularly in wetter conditions, and many courses feature slopes that would be difficult to play from if you were wearing shoes that didn’t offer reasonable traction.

Many modern golf shoes are styled on trainers to deliver sporty, lightweight comfort. But they’ll have more substantial soles with better grip – either cleats or a spikeless design offering multiple points of contact with the ground. Those lightweight, trainer-style golf shoes are far more suitable for playing golf in than a standard pair or street or running trainers, as they have been designed for purpose.

Some golfers with foot problems, or another injury, may find playing in wider-fitting trainers more comfortable and that’s no problem at all, but those people will be conscious to find a pair that offers excellent grip.

Golf Trainers

Adidas Codechaos 22 golf shoe review on grass

Adidas Codechaos 22 golf shoe

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Can you play golf in trainers? Of course you can. The best option would be a pair of the aforementioned “golf trainers.” But if you’re only an occasional player or even just trying the game for the first time, a pair of sturdy running or athletic trainers with good grip would do the job.

If you keep playing though, you’ll likely want to make a progression on to a golf-specific shoe. They are designed with the golfing action in mind and will give you better support and traction during the swing. They will help you stay stable through the ball, allowing you to swing more powerfully and more consistently. Better grip also means less chance of injury when hitting the ball and when walking on rough terrain.

Play golf in trainers if you like but golf shoes, be they trainer-style or otherwise, will help you play better and stay safer on the golf course.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?