PGA chief executive Robert Maxfield has called on golf clubs up and down the country to relax dress codes and clubhouse rules such as using mobile phones in a bid to encourage more participants to the sport.
Maxfield, speaking to the industry at this week's virtual GolfBIC conference, believes golf is in a good place right now despite the Covid pandemic but that the sport still has plenty to work on when it comes to inclusivity.
The PGA chief used his son as one particular example of how a golf club has recently updated its dress code policy to better accomodate new players and welcome them with "open arms" to the sport.
"My lad started to play more golf last year and they actually relaxed the rules in the golf club," said Maxfield.
"I guess this is a particular generation that this would apply to, but one of the main reasons my lad wouldn’t play golf is the golf club didn’t allow him to have his shirt out of his trousers.
"He hates tucking his shirt in his trousers, for some reason. One thing I have seen is that people are beginning to look at maybe some of the rules, some of the things that maybe are a detractor to people coming into this game, and if somebody has to open their shirt, and they don’t have to tuck their shirt in, is that the worst thing in the world? I don’t think so.
"So I think it has given golf clubs that opportunity and that impetus maybe to look at some of their rules and start opening up a little bit more."
Maxfield also addressed the topic of allowing the use of mobile phones in the clubhouse, something that has been strictly frowned upon at a number of golf clubs in the country, as well as doing more to attract more women to the sport.
"I think we live in a different age," added Maxfield. "If we are going to appeal, in particular, to youngsters, gone are the days where mobile phones are banned in clubhouses.
"Gone are the days where you can’t have fantastic WiFi. We talk about attracting more women into this game. There was a great survey done recently where it talked about [how] one of the most important things for a woman joining a golf club is it’s got to have great coffee.
"It’s certainly one of my great things in a golf club. I want to have great coffee when I go to the golf club. To those that you’re trying to attract, you’ve got to appeal to your future customers. I think it’s really, really important."
He added: "But I think the future is really, really, bright. We just need to take advantage. Every single person that comes into this game, we’ve got to welcome them with open arms.
"We’ve got to absolutely communicate with them, as we’ve been doing over the last 12 months, even when we come out of lockdown, and we’ve just got to embrace these people."