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Do you really need golf shoes?
How many times do you hit the links on a monthly basis? Are you a semi-weekend warrior or do you make it a point to walk the greens regularly? Regardless of whether you are a novice or a seasoned professional, you are likely aware that the right accessories are always important. This naturally also refers to your attire. Not only will you remain comfortable when playing a round of golf, but many clubs make specific clothing items (such as collared polo shirts) mandatory. So, what about the shoes that you choose to wear? Do you really need golf shoes or are these nothing more than an outdated relic from the past?
These can be slightly loaded questions, as there is more than meets the eye in regards to whether or not specifically engineered shoes are appropriate. The main issue is that every online article seems to provide different advice. This is why our team has cut through the “fluff” in order to break the topic down into a clear and concise format. If you are still undecided whether golf shoes are a wise choice, the information and advice found immediately below will come in handy. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look.
A Brief History of the Golf Shoe
Much like the game itself, the history of the humble golf shoe can trace its roots back to Scotland during the 18th century. Due to the slippery nature of the courses at the time, golfers began to literally hammer nails into the soles of their leather shoes. The main intention was obviously to enjoy more traction while out and about. Similar to chains around vehicle tyres in modern times, this strategy did indeed make a great deal of sense.
Unfortunately, spiked soles were also associated with a handful of notable drawbacks. Not only would these spikes tear up the course, but they proved to be quite painful to the wearer. The good news is that modern technology has now made these shoes much more comfortable and the presence of metal spikes has all but gone the way of the dinosaur. Let us now fast-forward to the 21st century. Do you really need to wear golf shoes on a course? Yes and no. Let’s clarify what initially appears to be a rather vague answer.
Are Golf Shoes Necessary When Playing Golf?
What Factors Depend Upon the Necessity of Golf Shoes?
The first main issue to cover is how often you make it to the course. Assuming that you only show up for a few holes at any given time, it might not make much sense to bring along a pair of shoes. These are simply another part of your kit to carry and there are always chances that they may be forgotten. In other words, those who are not planning to walk the green for hours at a time do not necessarily have to bring along a pair of golf shoes.
However, intrepid golfers as well as those who will play a full 18 holes will often benefit from the use of these shoes. Modern golf shoes have been ergonomically designed to provide a greater degree of comfort than the average pair of trainers. Furthermore, they help to distribute your weight evenly; important if you are hoping to stave off any fatigue that might otherwise occur towards the end of a session. Hardcore golfers should therefore make it a point to choose high-quality shoes designed for the sport.
The Conditions Associated with a Specific Course
As mentioned earlier, golf shoes will provide you with an extra level of traction. This is obviously crucial when dealing with slippery, wet or otherwise uneven terrain. Many professionals likewise feel that golf shoes are very important when planting their feet firmly into the ground during a pivotal shot (such as when lining up for a putt).
Although these types of shoes might not make a great deal of sense if you plan on playing a few rounds at a flat course in dry weather, damp grass and steep gradients can offer up a host of challenges that could have otherwise been avoided. So, be sure to take a look at the weather conditions as well as the layout of the course in order to make a decision.
What About Shoes With Steel Spikes?
The spikes beneath golf shoes are often referred to as “nails” and these accessories were quite popular in the past. However, the main issue is that (as mentioned earlier), these nails are very tough on the underlying terrain. Wearing shoes with metal spikes can cause a great deal of damage to manicured areas; costing the club a tidy sum of money. Another possible issue is that seeds and pollen will often adhere to the spikes. These materials are then transported around the course and they can cause unwanted plants to grow in strictly maintained areas. These are two of the main reasons why the majority of golf courses no longer permit shoes equipped with metal spikes. Plastic variants are now much more preferable.
The Dress Code of the Club
Although many organisations are becoming much more lenient in regards to their dress codes, some still ask that you conform to more traditional rules. Common examples include wearing collared shirts that must be tucked in during gameplay and the use of slacks (as opposed to jeans or informal trousers). Some colours may not be permitted on occasion, and the use of shorts could be forbidden. In the same respect, certain terms and conditions may stipulate that golf shoes are necessary. These will also normally point out whether or not metal spikes can be worn. In other words, be sure to check with the course in question before heading off to the links.
Your Playing Style
We are all aware that footwork is one of the key components of a solid golf swing. If this foundation is not present, you can never expect to progress to the next level. Not only will golf shoes provide you with an additional level of traction, but we need to keep in mind that they may be able to prevent come common conditions associated with golfing such as:
- Pain in the heels and soles of your feet.
- Arthritis (especially for older golfers)
- Neuromas (bundles of compressed nerves that can cause a significant amount of chronic pain).
If any type of discomfort is taking your mind off of the game, a quality pair of golf shoes could very well be in order. Just be sure to choose a reputable brand that is comfortable!
A Great Strategy for Beginners
If you have just become involved with the world of golf, a pair of quality shoes could be a wise choice. This arises from the fact that you are still developing balance and footwork. If you are not provided with a solid foundational stance, your game will inevitably suffer as a result. The simple fact of the matter is that the traction provided by such shoes will allow you to return your focus to other mechanics such as hip position, swing arc and your follow-through. To put it simply, shoes might be able to speed up your overall learning curve.
Are There Alternatives to Golf Shoes?
Once again, this depends upon your preferences as well as the rules of the course. Some clubs are now allowing players to wear trainers or sandals. You might even notice a handful of golfers playing barefoot (although this is not very common). It could therefore be best to invest in a relatively cheap pair of shoes in order to determine if they make a noticeable difference when compared to trainers.
Golf Shoes: Getting a “Grip” on Your Options
So, we can see that there are many factors to take into account when deciding if golf shoes are the best option. While price is always a concern, there are many quality brands which are quite affordable. Some models to check out in greater detail include:
- The Adidas Tech Response
- The Footjoy Flex
- The Puma Ignite NXT
- The New Balance Minimus SL
- The Ecco Biom Hybrid 3
These models offer benefits such as wider soles, a more comfortable instep and waterproofing. The final decision should be based upon your budget, personal preferences and whether or not the shoes will make a difference in your overall gameplay.
Are Golf Shoes Worth It? Just Make Sure You’ve Got a Grip! Just make sure you’ve got a grip on your game as well as the course itself. Of course, it is always a good idea to bookmark this article for future reference as well as to speak with a professional golf trainer. He or she will be able to point you in the right direction. Footwear can make all of the difference in the world!