Golfer Pacific

Are golf clubs too strict or too lenient when it comes to their dress code?

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Golf Dress Code,Golfer Pacific by golferpacific on May 27, 2009


By Michael Court 

AM I just being an old fuddy duddy? Am I single-handedly helping drive people away from the game?

Maybe I am. But if I’ve learned, why can’t others?

I took a telephone call from a concerned reader the other day and his thoughts gave me a bit of a wake-up call.

He said that unless we drastically altered the dress rules at some of our golf clubs then we’d be driving people away from the game – and they would just go play some other sport instead.

Maybe he’s right.

Certainly many of our private clubs have strictly adhered to dress rules and calmly relay their message ‘those socks are not allowed on this course’ to many players before they get the chance to tee off.

I played at one private clubs a few months ago and before the corporate day began the secretary-manager welcomed everyone to the club and told them that ankle socks and socks with any logo other than this golf club’s logo were simply not permitted on the course.

And if they played in them they would be politely asked to leave the course.

Of course there was a rush to the pro shop as everyone who didn’t want to miss a game queued up to buy a pair of the club socks.

Even the host of the day’s activities, who would – or should – have been briefed before the day on the dress rules, was forced to fork out the $15 for a new pair of socks.

He didn’t complain though, and commented that it was actually a marvellous revenue maker for the club.

And true to his word, the sec-manager did appear on the course to ensure that everyone had adhered to his ‘order’.

Fair enough – it’s a private club – and they can do what they like.

But this caller told me his club was making members stick to their dress rules but was dropping their standard when it came to corporate days and what corporate players were being allowed to get away with – jeans, sneakers, board shorts, you name it – had been spotted at different times on these self-confessed part-timers playing golf.

That may be fair enough too – the corporate dollars are important and keep many clubs afloat.

Still you cannot have one rule for one and another for visitors now, can you?

I had a game at a country course on the north coast during the school holidays and when we came up behind an eight-ball of rugby league players, they were wearing boat shoes, footy shorts, singlets and one player even stripped off his singlet and jumped into a pond after hitting his ball in there.

I suppose he only did it for a stir – but you’ve gotta love that footy culture. And they were drinking beers in the hot sun.

And besides, they were at a sea-side country at a holiday resort town. So what can you expect?

It’s the middle-of-the-road clubs that appear to have the identity crisis. The clubs who would love to be able to afford to go private and bar public players from their links – but they cannot afford to.

I took my nephew for a game at the country course I just mentioned and thanks to his own Sydney club educating him – at the age of 14 – I was proud to say he looked like a golfer when he arrived on the first tee.

And subsequently he played like one too.

If learning the game of golf means learning how to dress as well, maybe it’s not such a bad thing to police the dress regulations that most clubs choose to ignore.

It’s all part of the education process … and everyone has to draw the line somewhere.

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