Is it time to ditch the dress code of golf and relax the rules? By Callum Ferguson
Is It Time For Golf To Ditch The Dress Code?
There is always plenty of talk surrounding golf’s dress code and a Tweet from PGA Pro Thomas Devine in May showing juniors playing in hoodies and tracksuit bottoms created much debate.
At the time this sparked hundreds of comments regarding the dress code within golf and whether it is time to relax or even remove a dress code all together.
Below we take a look at reasons for and against ditching golf’s dress code including what you think.
Reasons for the dress code to change
Many believe that getting rid of the dress code will help to break the elitist stereotype of golf and help to gain a new demographic of players into the sport.
Facilities are closing up and down the country and it is important to understand why this is happening; the dress code may have driven newcomers away from the game.
The table below from England Golf’s 2018 Club Membership Questionnaire shows that there has been a slight decrease in the amount of junior girls and boys that are playing golf weekly.
I think that if golf courses want to see an increase in members and more people playing weekly, then lowering the barriers to play, like the dress code along with cost and accessibility, should be main priorities for them.
It is also important to see more juniors play weekly as they will be the future of the sport in years to come.
A more relaxed dress code could get more juniors playing frequently.
Golf is already perceived as one of the most expensive sports due high prices of equipment and membership deals etc.
So why add to this cost with buying golf-specific clothes to uphold the out-of-date dress code?
Instead, golfers should have the option to save cash by wearing what they want, which some people would find more comfortable compared to golf clothing.
This will lower the cost of golf and, I believe, will again help to get more people into golf.
Over the past five-or-so years TopGolf has seen an increase in popularity across the UK, with their platform TopTracer also having great success – it recently reached its 50th install in the UK.
According to the Golf Business, 37% of TopGolf’s 13 million guests it entertains annually are non-golfers.
This shows that there is a clear interest for people to want to get into golf.
However, when it comes to playing on courses, there isn’t the same demand.
If golf courses relax the dress code, this will make it easier for non-golfers to take it up.
Reasons for the dress code to remain as it it
A large portion of golfers will believe that there is no need to change the dress code, which has been in place for numerous years.
All sports have a dress code, whether that is in football, tennis or basketball.
Golf should be exactly the same and it as it is a part of the game we all know and love.
In recent years, many clubs have already adapted their dress code rules to allow jeans and casual wear in the clubhouse with mobile phone usage also changing to suit the times.
This has benefitted many members who no longer feel like they are walking on egg shells around their own golf courses.
It isn’t just the clubhouse where things have been relaxed either, with spikeless shoes, collarless shirts and hooded tops seen both on the professional tours and at clubs alike.
So is there a need to completely abolish the dress code?
Some players may be concerned whether removing a dress code would result in a lowering of course etiquette, so perhaps the dress code should be more relaxed for juniors rather than all golfers.
In order to gain more of a following for golf from youngsters, a relaxed dress code would allow them to feel comfortable around golf courses and add a more ‘friendly feel’.
There are many initiatives like the ‘Girls Golf Rocks’ programme which aims to get more girls into golf where young girls can have a go at golf at their local golf course.
During this programme, non-member golfers are not required to turn up with golf clothing, which adds a relaxed tone to the programme.
I’m certain that many other youngsters would get into golf should the dress code be relaxed.
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