The best summer-golf essentials for every round
Summer golf is upon us, which means golfers everywhere are sneaking off to the course at every chance to squeeze in a quick round or range session between scheduled weekend rounds. Whether you are an avid golfer or new to the game, it’s always a good idea to take inventory on your gear and apparel setup to make sure you are prepared at a moment’s notice, when the opportunity to play comes. You may have the bag packed well for your standing Saturday morning tee time, but you may need to simplify your setup if you are sneaking in a quick nine between work calls and certainly will have to pack an extra bag if you’re bringing the kids along. We polled some of our editors to roundup the top essentials for every type of golf outing, so you can be ready to tee it up at a moment’s notice.
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Every golfer staples
Let’s start with the basics. These are the items every golfer needs to have in their bag for every round. Get into a habit of clearing out your bag on a bi-weekly or monthly basis to make sure you have the essentials and replace torn golf gloves or melted sunscreen sticks with fresh inventory. Golf balls seem like a no-brainer, but we’ve all experienced the panic of opening that pocket only to find some wrappers and tees where the balls should be. Keep a steady supply in your bag for regular use, and then we’d recommend putting a back-up sleeve of balls in a deeper pocket just in case.
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A golf shirt that matches everything
A classic and versatile golf shirt is essential. We’ll always encourage you to show your personality on the golf course, but having some basic tops to throw on that you know will match everything will make getting ready for your round simpler. For summer, look to lightweight materials, fabrics that don’t require complicated laundry routines and tops with moisture management.
A well-kept golf glove
The rate in which you’ll need to replace your glove depends on how much golf you are playing and how well you store gloves between rounds. Crumpled gloves shoved to the bottom of the bag are going to have a significantly lower lifespan than gloves stored flat in a glove holder. Two well-fitting golf gloves should be enough to have in the bag and get yourself a rain glove, you’ll thank us later.
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Store a few handfuls of tees, a couple ballmarkers and a quality divot tool in easy-to-access pockets in the golf bag. If you have designated pockets for these items, you’ll be less likely to misplace them during or post-rounds. Get a golf towel that can clip somewhere on the bag and throw it in the laundry a few times this summer to prevent it from getting too destroyed.
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Packing proper sun protection is just as essential for golfers as packing balls and tees, seriously. Sun damage is much more harmful and lasting than running out of tees mid-round can ever be. We recommend applying a mineral-based sunscreen an hour before your tee time and reapplying at least twice during the round. And don’t forget to use lip balm with SPF, lips are just as vulnerable to harmful effects from the sun’s radiation. For extra sun protection, wide-brimmed caps and oversized sunglasses are on-trend ways to cover up.
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Another potential danger playing golf in hot summer sun is dehydration. You should have a trusty water bottle with you at all times and fill up when you can. A lightweight, insulated bottle is key to avoid extra weight and some bottles even have clips that can easily attach to your golf bag during walking rounds.
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BONUS TIP: Do yourself a favor and pack a backup snack that won’t go bad and keep it in your bag for when you need a little boost of energy that’s not a hot dog at the turn. We’re not telling you that you can’t indulge a little during rounds, but a high-protein, low-sugar snack like almonds, certain protein bars or peanut butter crackers will go far in a pinch.
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Quick round at lunch hour
We’re not saying that you should put your job at risk to sneak in a few holes during your lunch hour or between calls, but if you happen to be in the situation to play during the work day, we may have some tips on how to be more efficient when there are time constraints.
An Office-Ready Golf Outfit
First, you’ll want a versatile outfit that can go straight to the course and back to the office without issue. This tends to be a little easier for the guys who can wear golf shirts to the office, but there are some options for the ladies, too. Look for lightweight, wicking fabrics that won’t hold onto or show sweat and quality materials that retain shape without wrinkling for a fresher look post-round.
Versatile Golf Shoes
The on- and off-course golf shoe offering has exploded in recent years with almost every brand including versatile shoes for almost any scenario. Just make sure you are not tracking grass and dirt back into the office.
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Products to Freshen Up Post-Round
Hotter days may require a change of clothes, but in milder weather, a swipe of deodorant and a few products to help freshen should do the trick. Solid cologne is another great product that's easy to throw in a pocket and you won't have to worry about it leaking.
Bandages & Blister Prevention
Bandaids are an every-golfer essential, but even more crucial for golfers in a time pinch. Pesky blisters will only slow you down and if you don’t have time to change shoes, you may have some irritation that needs mending. It’ll also cover blisters that emerge if you’re going gloveless.
A pocket-sized GPS is another way to speed up pace of play so that you’re not searching for yardage markers or digging for a rangefinder. Have the course queued up before arriving to the course, so you just have to press go and can reference distances quickly.
While the golf course is typically an environment meant to keep you off your phone, during work hours, we understand you may have to keep an eye out for important calls and emails. Pack a portable charger just in case and consider a phone holder that attaches to your cart, so you can quickly check your phone without taking away from the round.
Raucous rounds/College buddies in town
As long as you are the right course and stay mindful of pace-of-play, there is nothing wrong with having a party environment as you play golf. To help the party go smoothly (and not feel hungover by the last hole) be sure to mix in some water between drinks, apply a liberal layer of sunscreen before you leave for the course and pack a golf-appropriate speaker that will bring the tunes without distracting other groups.
While we usually don’t recommend spray sunscreen, we also recognize the ease-of-application spray options offer. It’s better than nothing, and if it encourages the group to reapply on sunny days, even better.
A Golf Shirt or Accessory that adds Personality
Fun rounds also allow for a little more risk taking when it comes to apparel. It’s the perfect time to pull out a bold bucket hat, colorful short sleeve button down or statement-making shades you’ve been waiting to debut.
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A Hydration Boost
Hydration powders are a great way to re-fuel and steady yourself after a few adult beverages on the course. Available in almost any flavor you can imagine, you won’t regret having an electrolyte-filled water break—especially when you wake up the next morning.
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Family Rounds/Playing golf with kids
Golf can be a great family activity this summer—as long as you are properly prepared to bring the kiddos on the course. If you are well stocked on most of the day-to-day golf essentials on this list, that’s a great start.
Pack extra snacks and maybe even some candy for motivation. Artist and avid golfer Macklemore gets his daughters involved in the on-course competition by awarding them with gummy bears if they can five-putt a green. It’s a great way to make the game fun and approachable for new golfers and the last thing you want is to be caught several holes away from the clubhouse with a tired and hungry tantrum-ready kid.
Kid-Friendly Sunscreen & Water Bottles
Add in a sunscreen for sensitive skin or in kid-friendly packaging and a sippable water bottle to get the little ones in on healthy outdoor habits early.
Age-Appropriate Golf Clubs
Bring golf clubs that are age appropriate and some extra toys or books to keep in the cart. And while in many golf circles, golf-ball-pickers are a no-no, it is a golf parent’s dream. When the kids need a break from hitting balls, send them on searches (in safe areas) to find lost balls to add to your collection while providing a ton of entertainment.
A way to get around the course with the kids
We’ve recently seen an uptick of stroller attachments to make walking rounds easier for parents. These are best suited for a quick nine or few holes of play—and, of course, always be mindful of cart placement and keep your head on a swivel to avoid any hazards or potential danger for the little ones.
Guest of a member at a private club
Getting the call to play at a private club is always an exciting one. Whether with friends or for business, it’s a great opportunity to play a new course you may not typically have access to. Be sure to ask your host of any dress codes or rules you should know before you go. It’s always best to have a collared shirt on hand, a fresh pair of clothes to change into for dinner or drinks in the clubhouse and cash for tips.
Clubhouse-friendly change of shoes
And because we always forget this when we’re packing a change of clubhouse-appropriate clothes, remember to bring a change of shoes and dress socks to match. Nothing ruins and outfit quicker than dirty golf shoes or sweaty athletic socks popping out of your dress shoes.