Do normal style rules apply in golf?
The simple answer in today’s club environment is: Rarely.
It’s no secret…Most dress code rules are authored by men. And despite good intentions to preserve the traditions of the game, it’s unclear as to what is permissible fashion.
I can appreciate a woman’s concern when it comes to appropriate attire for the course. So for conversation’s sake, I’ve dug up some real policies enforced at real clubs. Today. No Joke. From a prominent club in Florida: “Women are permitted to wear dresses, skirts, slacks, mid-length shorts & blouses. Women are not permitted to wear tank tops, tee shirts, mesh shirts, sweat pants, warm-up suits, blue jeans, swim wear, short shorts, cut-offs, gym shorts, tennis outfits, halter tops or sweat pants.” Huh? Not sure any woman makes a decision to wear a halter top and gym shorts to a social affair at a golf club.
And from a club in Arizona: “Women are not permitted to wear fishnet tops (really?), jams, sweat pants or denim.” No denim? Most designer jeans cost more than the finest bottle of wine in a club’s cellar.
Frankly, it’s equally as senseless for the men. This from a club in New York: “Men are permitted to wear shirts with collars & sleeves, mock turtle necks, slacks, golf shorts or walking shorts but cannot wear hats, caps or visors after 5 p.m.” Wow. Mock turtle necks are fine but no hats after 5 p.m.? Clearly the committee that wrote these rules has not experienced the love affair some men have with their stylish, and often expensive, hats.
Industry pundits are helping make sense of the mess though. The National Golf Course Owners Association is taking the lead in encouraging clubs to reach out to women. “Introduce women to the game” is the message echoing through empty clubs and dining rooms. It’s been clear to many for a long time that women make over 80 percent of the decisions in the home when it comes to how money is spent. I have no doubt women will see the appeal in participating in club activities as many are starting to do….assuming golf course operators don’t dictate what can and can’t be worn.
So what should you wear?
Whatever you like. And follow a few simple guidelines inspired by your own unique sense of style (made up by today’s generation of golf operators). This is the latest from a progressive club management company in Arizona: “Socially accepted golf shirts are appreciated, but your comfort is most important. The nicer you look, the better you will play, so goes the rumor. Shorts can be just about any style, but please do try to present the shorts at a length that everyone wants to look at. Gym shorts are for the gym, but if you are most comfortable and don’t have anything better to wear, we welcome you. As for footwear, wear comfortable shoes. It’s encouraged on course for reasons of safety and should be of a type and style that will not damage the putting greens. No high heels please, boots or the like.”
No matter what you decide to wear, visit your local club. To learn more about efforts to grow the game, visit getgolfready.com.