Why Do Golfers Wear Hats?

Written by John VanDerLaan 


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If you watch professional golf tournaments on television or if you play golf, you have seen most golfers wearing hats at the golf course, but why do golfers wear hats?

We have talked to numerous professional golfers that play on the PGA Tour, the Korn Ferry Tour and on multiple mini tours and asked them the question; Why do you wear a hat when you play golf? 

Below you will find a summary of their responses as well as some answers to other questions that you may have about golf hats.

Protection From The Sun

Pro golfers wear hats to protect them from the sun.

They spend a lot of time in the sun everyday for hours on end and mostly in some pretty hot climates. Wearing a hat keeps the sun off of their head and face giving them some protection from the sun’s harsh rays.

Skin cancer is a very real threat to pro golfers because of their extensive sun exposure. Professional golfers wear hats at the golf course to reduce their risk of developing cancer due to skin exposure.

This also applies to professional caddies, They are also out in the sun all day and need protection.

RELATED: Best Golf Hats For Sun Protection

To Help Them See The Ball flight

Bill Hass watching his golf ball flight as his golf hat shades his eyes

Many professional golfers said that wearing a hat helped them to see the ball flight, but when questioned further, this was directly related to protection from the sun.

The bill on the cap blocks the sun, which helps them to see the ball flight and follow the golf ball through the air to see where it is going to land.

Sponsorship opportunity

Jim Furyk wearing a golf hat with is sponsor on it

This was the second most popular answer. Professional golfers wear hats because they are paid large sums of money to wear hats with their sponsor’s logo on them.

Pro golfers are money making machines that not only make money for themselves but for their sponsors as well.

Most golfers want to wear and play with whatever their favorite pro golfer wears and is using for equipment, so pros are paid to promote companies like Titleist and TaylorMade on their golf hats, golf shirts, golf bags and anywhere else that a sponsor wants.

How Much Do Golfers Get Paid To Wear A Hat?

How much a pro golfer gets paid to wear a hat with a sponsor’s logo is dependent on many factors. It can range from a few thousand dollars for a Korn Ferry Tour member to over a million dollars for the top ranked PGA Tour players.

A hat deal is usually part of a much larger overall sponsorship deal that includes shirt placement  and golf bag placement.

These deals usually have a standard amount with escalation clauses or bonuses for things like major wins and top 5 rankings in the World Golf Rankings.

Those were the overwhelming answers to: Why do golfers wear hats?

Below you will find answers to more questions about golf hats.

Do Golfers Have To Wear Hats?

No, golfers do not have to wear a hat on the golf course. Hats are not required golf attire on any golf course for amateur golfers.

You will see most men wearing hats when playing golf and while some women wear hats golfing, many choose not to.

If you choose to not wear a hat when playing golf, you should make sure you use sunscreen and wear sunglasses will help you see the golf ball in flight so you can find it and hit it again.

Hat’s are also not required to be worn on the PGA Tour and in fact some pro golfers do not wear hats.

Professional Golfers Who Don’t Wear Hats

John Daly playing golf without a golf hat

Professional golfers that do not wear a hat on tour are Robert Rock and Ollie Schniederjans, however if we go back even a few years, there were many pro golfers that didn’t wear hats, including some of the greatest of all time.

List of Famous Golfers Who Didn’t Wear Hats

    • Jack Nicklaus

    • Arnold Palmer

    • Gary Player

    • Tom Watson

    • Hale Irwin

    • John Daly

    • Fred Couples

    • Seve Ballesteros

    • Nick Faldo

The reason that many golfers weren’t interested in wearing hats was because we didn’t have a clear understanding of the effects of too much sun exposure and because golf sponsorships were not as prevalent or lucrative as they are today.

Types Of Golf Hats

Let’s take a look at the different styles of golf hats that are worn by professionals and amateur golfers.

Baseball Caps

Tiger Woods wearing a baseball cap style golf hat

The baseball cap is the most popular type of golf hat that we see worn today. It is a tight fitting cap with a large brim that shades your face and eyes from the sun.

Baseball caps come in every color under the sun, but are most popular in white.

Bucket Hats

Kirk Triplett wearing a bucket hat style golf hat

There are a few pro golfers that wear bucket hats when playing golf. A bucket hat is a snug fitting hat with a large brim all the way around that provides superior protection from the harmful rays of the sun.

RELATED: Best Golf Hat For Big Heads


Phil Mickelson in a visor

Visors were once much more popular than they are today among golfers. A visor is a front brim attached to a strap that goes around your head. They are like baseball caps without a top.

A visor can provide some protection to your face and eyes from the sun, but it does not have a top and will not provide sun protection your head.

Pro golfers wore visors as a fashion statement and because they were cooler than baseball style caps, allowing the top of the head to release heat.

Straw Hat

Greg Norman wearing a straw hat style golf hat
Photo credit golfwrx.com

A straw hat is similar to a cowboy hat, but it is made out of straw. Straw hats became popular because famous golfer Greg Norman wore one.

A straw hat provides superior sun protection, similar to a bucket hat and has been used by golfers that have had skin cancer scares like Rory Sabbatini.

Many other famous golfers have worn straw hats.

    • Briny Baird

    • Shingo Katayama

    • Tom Kite

Even Tiger Woods has been known to wear a straw hat!

Ben Hogan Cap

Ben Hogan wearing a Ben Hogan style golf hat

Ben Hogan made this fedora style cap famous and the style kind of faded away.

That is until Bryson DeChambeau burst on the scene wearing one and winning golf tournaments while wearing it.

However, Bryson has started the 2022 season wearing a baseball cap style golf hat, so we will have to wait and see if this catches on.


Pro golfer wearing a beanie style golf hat
Photo credit skysports.com

We don’t see beanies very often on the golf course, but when you do you can bet that it is cold out.

Beanies are the golfers go-to golf hat when the temperature drops and they wear them to keep their head warm

My grandfather used to wear a beanie and when I asked him why, he replied; “A beanie keeps the heat from escaping up the chimney son!”

Professional Golfers Who Wear Bucket Hats

Joel Dahmen wearing a bucket hat style golf hat
Photo credit golfchannel.com

The most famous pro golfer that wears a bucket hat is Joel Dahmen. I had the pleasure of meeting Joel and his wife at the 2018 PGA Tour Barbasol Championship when he was paired with my son, John VanDerLaan.

Some pro golfers choose to wear bucket hats, also known as a Tilly,  which provide extra protection from the sun because they shade the ears and back of the neck from the sun’s rays.

In Joel’s case, he had already had a run in with cancer, so it was a no-brainer to take every precaution that he could.

List of Famous Golfers Who Wore Bucket Hats

    • Joel Dahmen

    • Kirk Triplett

    • Peter Malnati

    • Jim Tolbert

There are other golfers that have worn bucket hats, but not on a regular basis.

Ricky Fowler has been seen in a bucket hat, as has Bubba Watson.

Why Do Golfers Take Off Their Hats To Shake Hands?

Golfers taking their hats off to shake hands
Photo credit Morning Read

Golfers take off their hats to shake hands as a sign of respect for their opponents and fellow players.

Golf is a sport played by gentlemen and teaches many lessons to the player that embarks on its journey. One of the most important lessons that golf teaches is respect and how to conduct yourself as a gentleman or gentlewoman, honestly and fairly.

Final Thoughts

So now you know that golfers don’t have to wear golf hats, but they do wear them for a couple of important reasons.

They provide much needed sun protection and they earn them money through sponsorships.

If you are heading to the course for your next round, you won’t be getting paid for wearing a golf hat, but you should consider wearing one to protect your face and eyes from the damage caused by the sun and to help you better see your golf ball so that you can find it, hit your next golf shot and improve your golf game.

RELATED: Golf Essentials For Beginners

RELATED: Best Rain Hat For Golf


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John VanDerLaan

John is the Lead Editor and founder at Golf Gear Advisor. He is a golf coach and mentor to his 2 sons that are current playing professionals. His son John is currently playing on the Korn Ferry Tour and his son Michael is currently playing on mini tours and preparing for Q School. John Sr. has been their coach and mentor since they were 2 years old. He helped them to succeed in golf with the right equipment, instruction and mindset. John knows a thing or two about playing good golf and he has a passion for sharing his knowledge with others.

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