Golf, a gentlemans game still?

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Golf, a gentlemans game still?
It seems to me that the standards of dress in professional golf are on the slippery slope to being emblazoned with sponsors names like those of common scallies on the local municipal courses. I think that golf will soon be going the way of tennis and I think it is deplorable. I blame the Americans, but they probably blame the commies.
Alexander Bangert

I think that David Duval was pushing the bounds of acceptable dress-code when he turned out at The Masters in a 'muscle-vest'. However, as far as dress-code on municipal courses is concerned, I think that these days all but the most relaxed public courses have a ban on jeans, and require a collared shirt.
As far as blaming the Americans... I haven't played on any American courses, so I can't really comment on their dress code.

Robin Tapp

I can't speak about all public courses, but Southampton municipal golf course, alleged to be a respectable public course. Has a dress code, it's actually quite simple, you must be wearing something on your upper torso.

Well apart from the fact this clearly doesn't state anything about jeans or collars, does that mean JUST a T-shirt is acceptable, hmm!

Linda Peel

I play on a municiple course, (it is a private club though, but on a municiple course, we as members try to keep dress standards, but it is very difficult to control the (green fees) truthfully you get some real idiots who do not know the first rules of golf. However I still enjoy playing there.

Martin Park

I don't wish to sound snobbish, but if you cant afford to dress properly to play golf, you have no business being on a golf course!!!! Everyone owns a pair of trousers and a half decent t-shirt, so why not wear it on ther course. Jeans and tee-shirts have no place on any course, be it municipal or private.

paddy thomas

obviously my comments were not about every club in England, but as a general rule I have seen standards fall, often in the area of people who don't really pay much attention to the wider game but play because it is something to do. However the example set by David Duval was, in my opinion, shocking. How is that an example to the younger players who take their lead from professionals? Personally, I think Mr. Duval should be challenged about his dress code
Oh the American part was a little tongue in cheek!

Martin Park

Now Paddy, what do we do about badly dressed golfers, do you challenge them and risk a punch on the nose, or do we say nothing and let them drag down the etiquette and traditions of our beloved game? Over to you....

paddy thomas

I think that there needs to be some way of enforcing rules of etiquette, but I'm not saying that you should challenge everyone you see who doesn't come up to scratch, but we really should challenge those in the media's eye who give the example to the younger generation of golfers, because let's face it youth fashion is influenced by sports personalities. It's time they realised their responsibilities.

Martin Park

OK Paddy, you have a good point and I think that it is worthy of some column inches on the news page! What do you think about raising your stature and writing an article for golfmagic, submitting it to me with a reasoned argument about dress codes on tour and we will see what sort of debate we get from

paddy thomas

I will be glad too Martin, expect it at the beginning of next week, I'm away for the weekend.

Martin Park

Nice one Paddy, it's people like you who make the site what it is...remember, this is YOUR website too, make use of it to make a stand for golf! ...Best wishes...Martin

Malcolm Aldridge

In my humble opinion dress code is a part of golf etiquette and as such is important in that it sets golf apart as a game which has standards and attempts to uphold them.

Clarissa Appleby

You lot should take a tip from the ladies and concentrate more on the game and less on your plus fours

Malcolm Aldridge

Clarissa - that's a terrible thing to say !!
Can I assume then that you don't think a proper dress code is an important part of dress etiquette ??
I doubt if you'd be very happy if I turned up at your course in a football shirt and Union Jack shorts - although, actually, I do have the legs for it !!!! :-) Mal

Malcolm Aldridge

Ooops - that should have read "golf etiquette" !!!!! - Sorry !!!! Mal

Martin Park

But there are many courses out there that let ruffians on wearing Union Jack shorts and footie true Harry Enfield fashion, I would assume the mantle of Frank Doberman of the self righteous brothers...if they turned up at my club, i'd say...OI! You in the footie top..NO!!!! You cant wear that foul team's shirt around our prestigious Golf Club, you must leave and take lessons in class and style from our man Malcolm with the flowing locks! and great legs! Go buy some plus fours and a Tam O'Shanter and return to pay your hefty green fee!


Can someone explain to me why the attire of an individual should be the business of anyone other than the wearer.

Because someone chooses to dress differently to my tastes shouldn't diminish my enjoyment of my game, nor impact the results of competition. As far as I am concerned, so long as someone doesn

Martin Park

Fair point JT and well made...I would probably enoy a round with you...I dont like secretaries like that or snobby private clubs, I am a member of a public golf course...but I do think that if people want to play the game, they might as well look smart...and as for long socks, footballers can keep 'em, golfers should be getting their legs tanned in what is left of our crap summer! As long as you dont wear a string vest on the course with Union Jack shorts, it's pretty fine by me.

Golf is a game of etiquette and traditions and part of that is the way we dress ourselves on the, practical and casual...and if anyone still wears those stupid diamond pattern jumpers...get a life!

Alan Taylor

On clothing, beware the ragged man in the cloth cap and worn trousers. He has a jumper with a hole in it, split shoes, muddy golf carry bag and a battered old half set of clubs. He beat me 5 and 4 and made me wonder why I was wearing clothes that cost more than a suit. Its how the game is played that's important

Paddy Thomas

well, this topic just seems to carry on and on. sorry I started it! not really, but a lot of people must think that I am the worlds biggest snob. Not true. I enjoy golf because of its traditions and the correct dress is part of that. whether or not it improves your game it should give you a sense of pride that golf has not gone the same way as cricket and "modernised" it clothes. Lets face it cricketers look silly in the multicoloured "Whites" they wear for one day matches, just as golfers look silly in scruffy clothing.

Lots of the opinions I have read about golf attire are either black or white - with tradition or against tradition. I think it's fair to state that if we relax what people wear, then it's a slippery slope to string vests and union jack shorts! Then we will have little etiquette, swearing, and slow play (this I've witnessed with cheap society days). Standards should be adhered to for the golf to remain special. I'm not one for certain length socks or shorts that should be so many inches above or below the knee. But I would not belong to a golf club that allowed members to wear jeans and t-shirts. You can rest assured that those members will not be repairing pitch marks, raking bunkers or worrying about keeping up with the players in front.

There is a nine hole pay-n-play opened up near me that has no dress code.I'm not saying everyone that plays it is like this but I do see it alot. You see them coming over the hill with Celtic or Rangers or no tops on with a can of Tennants or a bottle of Buckfast in one hand and their clubs by the handle in the other with the football supporters swagger. You know the type!My club relaxed its dress code for a trial period this year and on the whole most members choose to wear the traditional attire. It is accepted that juniors wear trainers nowadays even to school, so this is now allowed.

Hmmm, I reckon I am one of those that is anti dress codes. However I was just thinking, prompted by Kevs post re trainers, as to why I am anti dress codes. I think it is the resistance to change that it demonstrates, change does happen but does it have to be so slow and painful? You will always hear the arguement that you don't have to go there if you don't like it. Sadly that is exactly what is happening, members and nomad golfers vote with their feet. Now they choose to play golf and then take their post golf business elsewhere.Good example for me is how your average guy dresses now. It is almost always shirt out of trousers or loose casual baggy top. This is considered smart casual at everywhere but a golf course now. How many golf club bars are frequently empty or not even open at all?I know that more modern dress codes would not fix everything but it would certainly make a club an option again.

I find that the folk that do complain are the old guys that wear their ties outside their sweaters and wear old brown trousers and egg stained tweed jackets and never spend any money at the bar.When I were a lad, early-mid 80's, you couldn't get into a nightclub unless you were wearing a shirt and tie, dress shoes and jacket, definately no trainers. Nowadays they don't let you in if you're like that.

Blimey - did you see the date this thread originated?Where'd you dig this up from Jack - I posted on this thread over 4 years ago?

Hey Kev - less of the 'old guys' not spending money at the bar. They've just done a survey at our club and the seniors bring in the bulk of the revenue.

I mean the really old guys, you know the ones that smell of pi$$ and don't pay fees, book the tee then play the 1st and last only.

i expect to see smart dress b4 6pm. Trousers, polo style shirt, shoes, not trainers, no denim.Its a club, with a dress code, just like a nightclub.After 6pm, shirt tie and jacket, unless you are in the spike bar. And take your hat off when you enter the club at all times.

my take on it :acceptable = Trousers - Polo Shirt or Roll Neck Shirt - proper Golf Shoes .... with the following adhered to :shirt tucked into trousers , no trousers tucked into socks , shirts to have no logo or banner of billboard size splashed across them , any headwear to be worn correctlynot-acceptable = Denim or any style of trouser that resembles workwear or combat wear , T-shirts & football shirts of any type , training shoes or street shoes , baseball caps worn backwardswhilst the casual look in society today is very much becoming the norm there is IMO a distinct difference between smart casual (ie: proper golf attire) and just street casual (ie: my names Liam Gallacher of Oasis , I'm a geezer so I'll wear my shirt out my trousers + the "types" Big Kev mentions)on the subject of juniors & training shoes - if little Johnny (or his parents ?) can afford to shell out X amount of pounds for the latest Nike trainers then they can fork out a lot less for proper golf shoes IMOproper golf attire acceptable in the spike bar / 19thgolf attire acceptable in the clubhouse so long as not wet , soiled or stinking up to 6pmformal wear after 6pm (jacket + tie) and most certainly if having evening mealso in brief I don't want to see much if anything change :-)

The clothing is not really the point. The nub of tha matter is this. If someone cant be bothered to make a reasonable effort to dress in the propper atire that their chosen passtime requires, then maybe they also wont be bothered to make the effort with the code of behaviour that the sport demands. Think about it, who is more likely to offend the tracksuited chav or the properly attired golfer. I am aware there are exceptions to the rule. But the rule, IS the rule because it is more often than not how things are.

PS. on the whole i am a scruffy git. However i always make an effort to dress properly if the course demands it. in the winter things are often relaxed a little. no one tells me to untuck my socks from my trousers, if that means i am rubbing mud all up the inside of my trouserlegs etc. But in the summer i enjoy dressing the part. Which for me is an effort. but the point is, I chose to make that effort for the sport i enjoy.

I'm not usually one to rush to the defence of the Americans, who in my mind are systematically ruining golf, from carts (compulsory in many places) to ghastly cookie-cutter courses that are designed as real estate add-ons to their irresponsible lack of control over equipment -- to say nothing of the generally appalling standards of dress, etiquette and tradition.But if you are going to pick on David Duval for the argument that young people are influenced by professionals, why am I not hearing the name Ian Poulter?Don't get me wrong. Although I would argue for a fairly traditional (though not ante-diluvian) approach to dress in social golf, I think the PGA Tour is in danger of swallowing itself in its puffed-up sense of stuffiness, and that Poulter is performing a necessary service by his CLEARLY tongue-in-cheek approach to life. Anyone who gives the USGA, the PGA and the PGA Tour apoplexy is on a fast track to heaven in my book. When you think of him compared to that stuffed shirt Charles Howell III, who won the Michelob -- where the tradition is to take a sip from the sponsor's product fromthe trophy after winning -- and who made such a song and dance about how the minuscule amount he let touch his lips was his first-ever exposure to beer, aaaaargh, spit, never again -- then you could almost wish for backward baseball caps and gangsta rap shorts to make a swooping appearance!Did you know that of all the alcohol in the US Ryder Cup team room at Oakland Hills, all that was consumed -- ALL WEEK -- was "most of" a six-pack of beer? (The European figures apparently were well off the charts!).Be careful what you wish for...

It's funny seeing these old threads, I was having a trawl myself the other day. A whole host of names that have (apparently) deserted GM, with one obvious exception!This debate is a bit of an old chestnut, and I'm always wary when anyone starts / re-starts it, as it pushes some obvious buttons in well entrenched positions.There was a thread the other day where some of us warned against generalisations, and this one is another example - this assumption that denim clad golfers equate to oiks is annoying. I used to be a member at a club in Fife (on an open qualifying course), which had a relaxed dress code. I don't recall any etiquette issues with the numreous jean-clad golfers I encountered (myself included) - in fact, quite the opposite.I don't have a problem with clubs setting dress codes / standards (I abide by it these days) - if you don't like it, don't join - but can we please dispense with the ill-founded assumptions, generalisations, and sweeping statements that this debate always provokes?Now, where did I put my string vest....

The only one that bugs me is having to tuck in your shirt. I wear pretty good (ie expensive) clothes and most of my shirts are designed to be worn out of the waistband. Nobody under the age of 40 tucks a casual shirt in, except those who also iron their socks and undies!

Tiger Woods is an obsessive ironer! And I'd bet his latest acolyte, Charles Howell III, starches his shorts!I've long been a theatre-goer -- ballet, concerts and opera as well as plays -- and have been to many events where people dress to the nines. But increasingly you see people in very casual attire, even jeans and T-shirts, and they are as well-behaved as anyone would wish of a "well-dressed" audience -- they are there for the love of the event, and they are not all students; they are people who probably saved up for increasingly expensive tickets so they would have a chance to experience Itzhak Perlman or a visit from the Royal Ballet or whatever. All it suggests to me is that love of any particular endeavour crosses all socio-economic (or "class") lines, and I can't see that opening up good things to more people is anything other than a good thing.

Was previously a member of a club in the Midlands for 6 years and played a load of courses there before moving to Scotland where I am now a member at a club.The impression I get is that the vast majority of golf in Scotland is for the working classes and the rules with regard to dress and what is acceptable more relaxed (With some obvious exceptions) This hasn't meant that the courses are filled with louts who don't repair pitchmarks, don't allow faster groups through, don't rake bunkers and don't know the rules or indeed how to play the game.In fact it was quite refreshing to have a can of tennants thrust into my hand on the first tee by the vice captain at a recent open competition who then proceeded in wishing everyone luck and that a warm welcome would be had in the clubhouse.Yes standards are important as they do appear to be slipping in society and the discipline of following rules is what put the Great in Britain!! However thinking that having them rigidly in place automatically makes someone respect the game of golf is quite frankly hogwash (wanted to say bollox but don't think thats acceptable).Give me someone who knows and loves the game anyday of the week, the fact that they can't dress themselves properly just means they have a lack of repsect for themselves.

Prodigy, I was with you all the way until your last line. And it seems a little censorious, given the open-mindedness of the rest of your post.May depend what you mean by "properly," though. Even someone who can only afford to play in casual clothes can certainly manage to have them clean and, if the club requires it, shirt tucked in, etc. So perhaps you are taking a swipe as much at ill-turned-out people in universally acceptable garb if they present themselves unidily or dirtily.In which case, I'm with you 100%.In philosophy, there are the concepts of essentials and accidentals. I would say that in this context courtesy is the essential, the actual choice of garb the accidental. A poor man can humbly dressed have pride and self-respect, and the richest and best-attired can be an oik.

Spot on with your second paragraph. Just because you can spend

Paul W I agree with junior wearing golf shoes on the course, it's in the clubhouse I think its ok and my club allows it.Golf Prodigy, what was the club you were given the can of lager because I might have been there too. I don't know how many clubs do that. If you don't want to name it does it start with a P and end with a G.

The money issue should not even come into the equation because your bog standard chinos and polo shirt are much cheaper than a pair of decent jeans and T-shirt. For someone to say they can't afford to dress properly to play is nonsense. On a thread similar to this a while ago someone posted "when I first took up golf I was told that to play I had to wear a collared shirt and trousers, and see nothing wrong with that." I can't think of another sport where participants moan so much over the rules and attire. After all, how many would turn up to play rugby, footy or cricket in jeans?

There is a cartoon going round where a gentleman is golf attire , i.e multi-coloured jumper , plus fours , two tone shoes and a daft cap , is telling a second person in slacks and a plain shirt "you can't come in here dressed like that"Just about sums it up.The best I came across is Stowmarket in Suffolk, they have a sign that says gentlemen entering the clubhouse should be properly dressed.Also on place in South Dakota has a sign over the door " guns must not carried in the bar area" .

1. dress codes originated to keep the riff raff away, poor people didn't own/couldn't afford suits. Scumbag had it right, jeans etc are far more expensive now than 'acceptable' golf attire.2. what is this idea that people are more likely to misbehave/ignore the rules if dressed incorrectly? I too have played golf at relaxed courses in Scotland and seen no issues. In fact the etiquette standards are often higher than some of the snooty 'members' establishments down South.3. golf clubs, despite the priviledged few, will increasingly have to be run in a business like manner. Revenue will need to be maximised from the available facilities. In general these are the clubhouse and the course. Many courses have already realised that trying to dictate dress for social functions will put people off. Cash is king, dress codes will change!

It seems the more recent messages say let's dumb down dress-wise for golf and that we are a load of snobs! You could say the same about tennis and the changes made from all-white to colours and scruffy street-wise appearances. In France (where I lived for three years) the clothing was very optional (plenty of jeans worn), but the etiquette was also very poor (not raking bunkers, repairing divots, slow play, etc. etc). I think a golf club should have a standard to suit its members, but that standard should apply across the board. Not to let people make it up as they go along. People like/need some rules and regulations to make it a bit more special. And the game of golf is very special, as well as the people who play it.

I do, Jack, regret the move away from whites in tennis and cricket. Especially in the professional game, which always affected how I played at my home courts. I was watching a cricket match from Skydome once -- England or Australia or one of the great teams v. the West Indies, then top of the heap, in an exhibition. All of them were essentially dressed as they pleased, and I thought that for an exhibition meant to try to build up some interest in this game in Canada, where it does nto exactly flourish, they're going about it all wrong.Myself, I'd like to see golfers playing in shirts and ties -- never hurt Bobby Jones! But I fear those days are gone forever. I wish that men would play in real shirts, with collars, and buttoning all the way, rather than these unflattering pullover shirts with the three or four buttons. No-one, ever, looks good in those -- the collars look dreadful whether closed (worst) or open, flopping about the way they do. And as long as there is a prejudice against denim -- it is, of course, traditionally a worker's fabric -- rather than chino, the preppy's favourite -- then it should not be too hard to retain the restriction. Both can be had inexpensively as well as in designer models.

Jack, you're right on both counts - France does have a less strict dress code (although golfers are not necessarily worse dressed) and etiquette is not as well as respected as in the UK. These are of course wide generalisations.However, I do not at all agree with the link or implication made between them. We had a straw poll among several golfers here and, surprisingly, the "badly" dressed golfers did not turn out to be the etiquette culprits. In fact, it was quite the opposite: the stereotypic offender was a 40+, well-dressed, middle-class male. (By "well-dressed" I mean smart casual: Lacoste golf polo top, etc). There are other reasons for the etiquette deficit.I am personally against dress codes, but it doesn't matter much, because as Lugub. Al says, the marketing might of serious money is now here and that's what will eventually decide the dress code for 99% of clubs.

Dave, I think you are wrong, when it comes to golf, to be against dress codes. I also think you're also wrong about money making the final decision. I play quite a lot of different clubs and there's nothing wrong with 'cheap and cheerful' friendly establishments (I belong to one), but sometimes to walk into an old club with lots of history can be a special experience. These old traditional clubs hang on to their rules and regulations and seem all the better for it. And I'm feeling good as I played my best game of golf today for about 5 years!

I don't quite get the right v. wrong bit. Dress code is a sliding scale and what's acceptable or even very strict to someone will de deemed "bad form" or sloppy to someone else. It's all about weight of numbers and where the current median of popular opinion is at any given point in time.My own view is that as golf has no practical reasons for imposing specific attire, apart from golf shoes, then it's purely a social aspect. I don't see what's "wrong" with wearing normal, widely socially acceptable clothes on a golf course. The thing that I find surprising is why so many people instantly correlate slack dress code and bad etiquette. Judging a book by its colour and all that. My point about the money muscle aspect concerned the push by corporations to promote their own gear (e.g. Tiger's Nike collar-less tops). Only a few old, richer clubs will be able to stand up to their marketing efforts over time. Glad you're playing good golf. Too cold to go out here. (I've obviously been spoiled).

Jack,I'm not against the dress code as such. I'm against your assertion that scruff dress equates to poor etiquette. While there will be cases where that (coincidentally) happens to be true, as David points out, it does happen in reverse too.(Apologies for the name change - I've had a cameo role in Big Al's panto)Alan

I like to have my shirt outside my trousers because I feel it hides my gut.

Ah yes, I do the same - for strategic reasons!

Largely I am in favour of dress codes...Sometimes it back fires! Last Weekend my wife and I went to an Xmas "Fayre" at a local NT property. Gagging for some lunch on the way home, we went past Bowood but didnt go in as we were both wearing jeans! Seemed silly, but I am sure if I saw some folk in the bar in jeans, it would feel right.. .no idea why, it just doesnt! ((bit like white wine with beef!)