I play in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Myanmar. It's hot and humid here for 49 weeks a year (90°-100° F). The other 3 weeks, it's mildly hot and humid. I had to find the best golf shirts for hot weather - fast. Here's what I learned VERY QUICKLY when I started playing in Thailand.
DO NOT WEAR A COTTON GOLF SHIRT WHEN IT IS HOT.
I nearly passed out the first time I played golf out here in my 100% cotton polo. I lay in the shower, on the floor, eating dried mango while the cold water washed over me. That's not a joke. The best golf shirts for hot weather are not natural fabrics. In the hot, we want to wear synthetics - not silk or cotton like the tell you. Synthetics like nylon, polyester, and nylon/polyester with spandex woven into it are best. This will allow the sweat to evaporate and stop the shirt clinging to you. When cotton clings to you, it restricts movement.
Best Golf Shirts for Hot Weather
Waddaplaya Golf Polo
Created for the tropical heat - fun patterns
I have created these golf shirts to be the lightest, most comfortable shirts on the planet especially for the heat.
They are spandex and synthetic blended together to create a light shirt that stretches and keeps your cool in the hot weather. The fabric retains some moisture as you play and the wind cools you down as you perspire.
After you get off the golf course, the shirt is dry within minutes of being indoors and the best part about this synthetic blend is that it does not hold stink under the armpits. I have been using this fabric for 2 years now and cannot be happier.
The fit of these polo shirts is excellent, very similar to a Nike shirt.
Waddaplaya is the only golf polo shirt I wear and that's because I made it the best possible golf shirt for hot weather in the world.
Three Sixty Six Golf Shirt
Great stretchy blend - tons of colors
Nothing to complain about here. Great golf shirts for hot weather with 88% polyester and 12% elastene which is also a SUPERB stretchy thread woven into the shirt to make it breath and stretch to your body and keep you cool playa.
Little Donkey Andy Polo
Short and long sleeve available
A Long sleeve polo shirt is sometimes an option to if you want to keep the sun off your arms. Have a look at the bottom of the page if you want to see my solution which I use often out here in Thailand. UV sleeves.
This spandex/nylon blend will be a perfect feeling for you on the course and if you're worried about the cancers on the forearms or just don't like too much sun, the long sleeves are a great option.
EAGEGOF Golf Shirt
Cool patterns and perfect spandex mix
Lovely blend of 85/15 with the poly and spandex. These patterns are not as loud and bright as the Waddaplaya Golf shirts mentioned above but are definitely more interesting than plain golf shirts.
Underarmour Playoff 2.0 polo
Cool patterns and perfect spandex mix
Important features of hot weather polos are moisture wicking, quick-dry fabric, and anti odor technology.
The Underarmour offers all of the above and with all the options available, it's one of the best golf shirts for hot weather on the market. The fabric is created to wick the moisture from your body and is built for comfort. I used to wear only Underarmour before the creation of Waddaplaya Golf polos and I would wear them again if I stopped wearing Wddaplaya.
Underarmour sponsor Jordan Spieth and he stays dry around Florida under intense pressure year after year.
Important information when buying golf shirts for hot weather
I did not like to wear synthetics back then and I was convinced by the internet articles telling me to wear loose fitting cottons, linens and silks. WRONG!
After the 3rd or 4th round, you really appreciate the advice of people who tell you to get some dry fit golf attire which are mainly synthetics or blends. The wind blows and cools you down as the sweat evaporates and if the wind doesn't come up, the shirt holds the moisture away from your skin and keeps you cool during the middle of the day.
Shirts with spandex woven in are going to be the most comfortable shirts you'll ever wear. I know, because I created shirts specially for my own enjoyment in the heat! They stretch in all the right areas and don't cling to you or restrict your movement when you swing.
What makes golf shirts so special? Most new golf polos are made with specific features. They are breathable and wicks moisture. These are vital components of a shirt in hot, humid weather. The technology is being developed all the time and with technology, prices increase. Keep in mind that the cheaper a shirt, the less tech is in it.
Are long sleeve polos good for hot weather?
Long sleeves are a good idea if you like to keep the suns rays off your skin when doing outdoor activities. Direct contact on your skin will burn you and with a long sleeved polo made of the right fabric, you can remain burn-free and cool as it wicks moisture away. Many people in Thailand that I play with, wear long sleeve shirts on the golf course and are perfectly happy.
What color shirt should I wear in the heat?
After 4 years of producing my own line of golf clothing, I can tell you with certainty there are situations where polos can actually heat you up. That situation is when the polo is BLACK. A black-color polo will make you hotter as it absorbs the heat. White is a good color but so are almost every other color besides black. Black is best worn only in the early hours of the morning or late afternoon. Midday heat is intense in a black shirt.
What fabric works best in hot weather shirts?
Whatever you use, do not use cotton or silk. These are often promoted as the best fabrics to wear but they trap your heat inside the shirt as the sweat is absorbed from your skin. It turns your shirt into a sort of wetsuit sauna.
The best fabrics are polyester blends. Usually a fabric like spandex is blended in at about 10% of the total fabric of the shirt. It gives the shirt a good stretch and when you swing, the polo will flex with your body and not restrict you like cotton does.
What aspects of the shirts make them good for hot weather?
Your comfort while standing still and walking
When you put on the shirt, it should feel smooth and not itchy or scratchy. Waddaplaya polos are a find blend of either 10/90 or 8/92 for spandex/polyester and it gives them a silky feel.
Some polos from Nike can feel a little itchy because the tech requires that texture and I cannot personally play in the shirt because it bothers me all the way round the golf course. When you introduce sweat, it creates a wet sandpaper feeling.
Always be sure that you trust the brand that makes your golf clothes and understand that certain designs, like ones with breathable holes in them might be a bit itchy on your skin.
Moisture management system of the fabric
Cotton absorbs sweat and holds it like a wet suit sauna. It gets saturated easily with very little evaporation. This will cause sweat to drip into your shorts and be absorbed by your undies and your trousers or shorts. Eventually the shirt will have so much sweat that you develop those white salt rings on your shirt after they dry. This will also cause a heavy smell in the shirts in the armpits and near the bottom of the shirt.
The biggest hindrance is that cotton will make your head feel like it wants to explode from trapping in all your body heat. Also when you make a swing, the cotton will cling to your shoulders, restricting your movement.
Synthetic golf tech fabric
Synthetic fabrics used nowadays are designed to do the opposite of cotton. They hold the sweat but wick it and so it evaporates as you walk and play and as the wind hits you. This frees up more space in the fabric to keep wicking sweat from your body into the fabrics to evaporate some more. The shirts smell less over time and they hold color much more efficiently than cotton.
What fit do you prefer?
Waddaplaya golf polos are a larger cut so can be a nice normal fit. If you prefer something athletic or slim fit, be sure to check out your chosen brands fitting chart. Online, most manufacturers, including Waddaplaya golf, use a sizing chart where you can measure your own favorite golf shirt against their chart and select the correct size for you first time.
Some shirts will have their UV protective rating listed. If you want something with a high factor, you can find them in the product descriptions to match up. Mostly, fabric blocks sun anyway so you should be good on that front.
Check the washing requirements
Follow the instructions of the manufacturer because they want your shirt to work in the hot weather forever. Usually you don't want to wash these at very high temperatures so cold wash is preferred. Machine washing is generally okay as well. Driers might be touch and go so always check because of the technology they use in the shirts. It might be destroyed by excessive machine heat.
Do not use fabric softeners as they will mess up your shirts ability to be moisture wicking. Standard wash is the best for hot weather shirts with standard soap. Usually the fabrics are sublimation printed so color run is rare but always keep colors away from your white clothes.
What should you not wear when golfing?
I have a great guide on what to wear golfing, but generally, no denim, no sandals, no track pants, and try wear golf shoes, collared shirt and button up trousers or shorts. No football or hockey jerseys either.
The best golf shirts or polos for heat and hot weather are always synthetic. I can highly recommend Waddaplaya golf polos as the best around. I am actively involved in their design and production.
I promise you're going to be thanking me when you try the blended shirts especially the little tidbit about the spandex for stretchiness. You're going to love it and golf in the heat will mean nothing to you, big dog!