Why Aren’t Golfers Covered In Tattoos?

Why Aren’t Golfers Covered In Tattoos?

Tattoos are hugely popular all over the world; being able to display your personality through a piece of art on the body is an excellent way of expressing yourself.

In the world of sports, many athletes are covered in tattoos – it isn’t uncommon for football players, rugby players and wrestlers to all have multiple pieces of body art, for example.

But one type of athlete that isn’t so frequently inked up to the eyeballs are golfers – is there a reason for this, or is it merely a coincidence?

In this article, we are going to be exploring how the two contrasting worlds of golf and tattoos are linked and whether there is any significance in this.

Do Golfers Have Tattoos?

You may be surprised to learn that there are many pro golfers out there who are sporting pieces of body art – but they don’t necessarily do it in the same peacocking fashion that many other sportsmen and women do.

After all, golf is a more upmarket sport and tattoos have, rightly or wrongly, been long associated with a more devilish way of life – right?

Perhaps, in days gone by, this opinion would have been a little more widely shared.

Still, in modern times, tattoos are rarely associated with biker gangs and thugs – although there has been a lot of unfair discrimination to people with tattoos in the world of employment, something of a slightly unrelated nature, but interesting nonetheless.

However, when you consider that many golfers make a career out of their handicap, this could become a lot more relevant.

So, yes, there are some golfers that have tattoos, but they are rarely shown when out on the course.

Why Do Golfers Cover Up Their Tattoos?

The reason that we don’t often see tattoos on a golfer is primarily due to the dress code of the game.

If short-shorts and vests were permitted on the course, you’d likely be seeing much more artwork on the bodies of your favourite pro golfers and their amateur counterparts.

Most golf courses, and indeed the PGA have a strict dress code that doesn’t permit much of the player’s skin to be on show.

There are a variety of reasons for this including comfort, ease of play and so that players have a uniform and presentable appearance – yes there is a certain level of snobbery involved in the clothing worn by golfers, but that’s just part of the pomp and circumstance, and adds to the fun of the game.

So, of course, if players are wearing these modest, smart clothes, it’s unlikely that the tattoo of their favourite animal or their children’s names on their upper back is going to be visible – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

However, with all of this in mind, it is essential to point out that the PGA doesn’t have any rules that restrict players from having body art, piercings or any other modifications so long as they fit the well-turned-out image that the organisation is famed for.

One of the suggested reasons that golfers don’t usually have as many if any tattoos as other sportsmen and women lies in the fact that humans like to feel a sense of uniformity.

Where golf is concerned, this means fitting the expected image of a golfer and someone tattooed up would certainly not meet this expectation.

Therefore, people who have been playing since they were knee-high to a grasshopper may have had it drilled into their mind that tattoos do not belong on the golf course.

When everyone who plays golf looks the same, in their similar attire and conservative appearance, this gives the feeling of belonging to a community. For many people, this means acceptance.

Whether we like to admit it or not, humans have a need to be accepted by their fellow man. As such, if a golfing enthusiast turned up with a brand new full sleeve, he may fear that his lifelong golfing buddies would shun him.

It goes quite far into the human psyche, but it is a viable suggestion.

There are plenty of other suggestions among fans that hint towards golfers being much more professional and respectful than other athletes as well as some saying that having tattoos is done by those who are looking for attention.

This is not fitting with the confident and secure characteristics of a competent golfer.

These opinions are likely out-dated, but there is no denying that they remain at the forefront of some people’s minds.

Furthermore, throughout the history of golf, players tend to be more well-mannered, clean-cut and reserved than the competitors we see in other sports.

For this reason, many of the older players especially may not have been attracted to the idea of decorating their bodies with ink. However, this does not take into consideration the up and coming……MODERN GOLFERS.

All of the above considered, the PGA and golf in itself appears to be moving with the times, and we only have to look at the latest competitions to see a wealth of hip, young golfers coming onto the green and sporting a completely different look than anything we have seen before.

It has been noticed all over the sporting world – just look at the prominence of the women’s football world cup compared to ten years ago.

This is now being televised on the major TV networks, whereas in days gone by, it would have gone undetected by all but the most avid fan.

This perfectly demonstrates how the world of sports is opening up to be more inclusive and when we look at golf, it isn’t difficult to see that many of the newer players are not meeting the traditional expected appearance.

For example, up until recently, most pro golfers were perfectly clean-cut, with no facial hair but the likes of Dustin Johnson shows us that this image is swiftly being moved away from and the more trendy-looking golfer is something that we can expect to see a lot more.

Notable Golfers Who Have Tattoos

Whilst there isn’t a massive call for tattoos by our golfing heroes, there are indeed some players who have tattoos, and we’re sure that some of them may come as something of a surprise, whereas others, you probably were aware of.

● Seve Ballesteros has a small blue silhouette on his forearm which he got after winning the 1984 Open Championship.

It’s discreet and, if he wears a long-sleeved shirt, would go completely unnoticed.

● Rickie Fowler, potentially one of the most hip golfers of our time, proudly displayed his new bicep ink on his Instagram profile for all to see.

Again, the location of this tattoo means that it can be easily covered up when he is on the course and in professional mode.

That being said, this golfing legend also has various other small tattoos over his arms, that are often on show when he sports a short-sleeved shirt during a game.

● On the inside of his upper arm, golfing champion Danny Willett sports a stylish infinity loop style design – the meaning of this tat is not known, but nonetheless, it can be visible in a short-sleeved shirt.

● Bubba Watson has a very small tattoo on his ring finger that simply says his wife’s name.

If you ever had an image of what a golfers tattoo would look like, something small and discreet like this would likely be what came to mind.

What’s more, covering this up with a glove is more than feasible if he wanted to maintain that squeaky clean image that is so frequently associated with pro golfers.

● There are female golfers who love a bit of ink too.

Take Lydia Ko, for example. The kiwi player has a simple and delicate tattoo on the inside of her wrist – it’s feminine and delicate but wouldn’t go unnoticed during a game.


There are many things associated with golf – smart attire, fancy clubhouses and clean-cut professionals.

But one thing that isn’t usually associated with those who indulge in this game both professionally and for leisure is tattoos.

Whilst there are many suggestions as to why golfers aren’t usually seen with layers of body ink, there does appear to be a new trend emerging among the newer players.

There are a surprising number of golf pros who have discreet and small tattoos, but for the most part, these are easily covered up, and it’s rare that you will see these athletes covered in ink.

This could continue to change, or it could simply be that golf is the sport of the non-inked.