If you ask any golfer what their most important piece of equipment is, it’s unlikely that golf shoes will feature high on the list. But having a quality pair of golf shoes really can make a significant difference to your game.
My grandad used to say “there are only two things you need in life: a decent bed and a decent pair of shoes”.
In the absence of a golf bed, let’s put his theory to the test…
What difference do decent golf shoes make to your game?
To paraphrase George Orwell, all shoes are equal, but some shoes are more equal than others.
Golf shoes really are superior when it comes to playing golf, and offer a lot of features that standard shoes or trainers simply cannot compete with.
Let’s cut to the chase: it’s only worth investing in something that will help you play better golf.
Golf is about confidence – if you are standing over a shot knowing you will make clean contact, then you will outperform a nervous golfer who is worried about slipping.
Golf shoes give you better interaction with the ground, resulting in more grip. This allows you to generate more power through your legs, and in your rotation, resulting in greater distance.
Increased steadiness results in more consistent ball-striking, better ball flight and more greens and fairways in regulation.
Stability and balance
Golf is very rarely played from a perfectly flat lie, ranging from minor undulations to punishing slopes. It’s a hard enough game as it is, without having to master uphill, downhill and sidehill lies.
Golf shoes allow you to stabilise better, especially during wet conditions. The last thing you need is slipping in the middle of your downswing – which can cause wayward shots and risk potential harm or injury.
Unlike other shoes, golf shoes have a larger sole and broader base. This gives you a greater surface area and more contact with the ground, resulting in a more sturdy footing and relaxed swing.
The journey walked around a golf course will take you across many different terrains and conditions.
From tee to green, it’s likely that you’ll encounter any number of different surfaces, including gravel paths, short grass, long grass, woodland and possibly some sandy bunkers. Depending on the time of year and weather, the course could be anything from bone-dry to completely saturated.
So you need something on your feet that will endure a whole range of conditions and quite frankly, standard shoes and trainers will not suffice. Golf shoes are specifically designed to endure this variety of landscapes, and will result in a more pleasurable round of golf.
Golf is all about focus and concentration. The last thing you need is an added distraction in the form of discomfort or sore feet.
According to an experiment by the R&A, the average golfer walks almost seven miles on a round of golf. This is roughly four hours of walking and around 15,000 steps – and even more if you play army golf!
Naturally, this will put strain on your feet, so having well-designed footwear will directly impact your level of enjoyment. Golf shoes are built for comfort, the best of which often have extra padding – maybe something to consider if your feet normally get tired after lots of walking.
No one likes sweaty feet.
Fortunately, most golf shoes are made from a firm, yet lightweight material.
An additional Gore-tex lining will absorb moisture, prevent sweating and allow your feet to breathe. This will make them more pleasurable to wear around the course.
My top tip is to consider wearing white golf shoes in the warmer weather, as they will reflect heat and keep your feet cooler. Whereas, wearing dark golf shoes in colder weather will retain heat and keep your feet warmer.