The Evolution of Different Types and Styles of Golf Hats

best golf hats

Head to your local course or tune into a televised tournament and you're sure to see hats on the heads of the majority of golfers. Hats have become a staple of golfwear for both practical and fashionable reasons. A good golf hat can improve your game by shielding your gaze from the sun so that you can keep your eye on the ball. Today, the best golf hats also reduce distractions by protecting you from UV and helping you stay cooler and drier. 


Golf hats are also part of golf's heritage, as players have been wearing them on the course since the game's debut. Throughout the years, the types of hats worn by golfers has evolved in keeping with the times, and in this post, we'll trace the history of golf headwear to see how trends have changed over the centuries. 

Early Golf Hat Styles 

During the early days of golf, three main styles of hats dominated. When someone asks "What are the golf hats called?" they're likely referring to one of these three styles. They are the flat cap, the newsboy and the Panama hat. Read on to learn more about them. 

Flat Caps and Newsboy Hats 


A flat cap is a rounded cap with a short, stiff brim in the front. The style emerged during the 14th century in Northern England and spread throughout the country and then to Scotland and Ireland. When wearing a hat during all activities became the fashion trend in England, Scotland and Ireland, the flat cap became the unofficial hat of the working man. Men wore them all the time, including on the golf course when the game was invented during the 18th century. 


The newsboy hat or newsie looks similar to the flat cap with its short stiff brim, but it has a fuller, rounder crown usually made out of panels of fabric. A button is typically positioned where the panels meet. Men began wearing newsboy hats during the late 19th and early 20th century, and like flat caps, they showed up on golf courses as well as on the street. 


Pro golfer Payne Stewart, winner of 11 PGA events during his career, was famous for wearing flat caps. His look inspired LIV Golf pro Bryson DeChambeau to frequently wear flat caps during tournaments. 

Panama Hats 


The Panama hat has a contoured crown and a 360-degree brim. The look was inspired not by headwear worn in Panama but by hats worn by people who live in Ecuador. Due to the warm climate there, most Panama hats were made of lightweight materials like straw, linen or silk, and the Spanish were attracted to the design and the comfort that the accessories provided. From Spain, the trend branched out to other areas with warm climates. 


As golf began to spread beyond England and Scotland, the influence of international styles shaped golfwear, and the Panama hat was one element that many golfers quickly adopted. The Panama hat is decidedly more formal looking than flat caps and newsies, and as more golfers began to wear them, golf attire started growing more formal. 


The Panama is the name of the golf hat made of straw that Tiger Woods sometimes wore during PGA events. 

The Rise of the Baseball Cap 

By the 1990s, golf had become a major spectator sport with tournaments broadcast on network TV. Although traditional dressy golfwear continued to dominate, many golfers started including one element of casual American sports culture into their attire — the baseball cap. As more golfers discovered how the baseball cap offered more sun protection on the course, the hats became increasingly popular, and today, they're the hats of choice for many pros. 

Visors and Sun Hats 

Although scientists first began cautioning people about the dangers of sun exposure in the 1960s, it wasn't until melanoma rates began to increase during the 1980s and 90s that people really took the warnings to heart. Since then, many golfers have begun wearing hats that offer more coverage for their faces, including visors for golf. They're the golf hats with open tops and elongated, curved brims in the front. Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have all sported visors on the course. 


Sunhats are also gaining popularity among golfers. These hats typically have wider brims, and many are collapsible for easy packing. 

Bucket Hats and Boonie Hats 

With a younger generation now discovering golf, attire for the sport is beginning to evolve. Many younger players are looking for golf gear that reflects streetwear trends, and this has led to the introduction of new hat styles to the game. You'll now see many golfers wearing bucket hats — soft, flexible hats with wide brims. Boonie hats with adjustable straps are also gaining momentum as a golfwear trend. 

Modern Golf Hat Innovations 

Today, the coolest golf hats benefit from technical features that allow them to do more than just offer sun protection. Golf hats, including baseball caps, boonies and bucket styles, are now available with technologies like: 

  • Moisture-wicking fabrics: Some hats feature integrated moisture-wicking sweatbands or are made entirely from moisture-wicking fabric, allowing them to draw perspiration away from the skin. 
  • High UPF ratings: All fabrics have an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating, but some offer more sun protection than others. Many technical golf hats are crafted of materials that block more of the sun's UV rays. 
  • Cooling technologies: Integrated mesh, airflow holes and other features are found on some hats. The cooling technologies promote airflow to help regulate body temperature. 

Find Cool Golf Hats for the Game 

Golf hats have come a long way from the days of the flat cap and the Panama, and Devereux is proud to be helping to drive the evolution of golf headwear. We offer a variety of modern golf hats that look stylish on the course and have advanced features to help golfers play their best. To decide which is the right golf hat for you, consider your style and comfort preferences. Then, shop the collection of golf hats available at Devereux to gear up for the next time your on the course. 

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