Almost everyone who is beyond the beginner level of golf and plays golf at least a few times a year owns a pair (perhaps more than one pair) of golf shoes.
But are golf shoes necessary to play golf? No, you don’t have to wear golf shoes to play golf. You can play on the golf course in tennis shoes, running shoes, cross trainers, or any shoes you want (as long as they don’t damage the grass).
Golf shoes are almost never needed by golf courses, and golf courses that do require golf shoes are so rare that you don’t have to worry about them.
Not Required, But Definitely Recommended. Golf shoes are a great idea, however, because they are engineered to keep your feet from sliding around during the golf swing.
That means a well-fitting pair of golf shoes should prevent your foot from sliding inside the shoe, and it should also prevent your shoe from sliding out from under you during the swing.
The golf swing puts downward, lateral and rotational pressure on your foot. So having golf shoes, specifically designed to handle those forces while keeping your feet in place, is a plus. A swing in which one or both of your feet slips or slips is a swing that is almost guaranteed to produce a bad to terrible golf shot. And novice golfers are enough. You can still play golf, although you may slip or slide more than you would if you had golf shoes.