One of the (many) things I love about our great game is that most courses don’t allow you to look like a slob.
At private clubs, a collared shirt is a common requirement. Some even make you wear long pants.
And you can tell when someone “looks like a player.” It’s the same idea as an executive who wears a nice suit or dress to the office.
It’s all about being appropriate. Just as you might feel a little funny about being represented in court by an attorney in a T-shirt and flip flops, you can spot a yahoo on the golf course from the next fairway.
Then there are the pros. Fashion statements are made weekly on the tours, and before you know it amateurs are thronging to buy the same threads being donned by Rickie and Rory and Tiger.
The PGA Tour has a pretty strict dress code, and it starts with this: The players must wear long pants in competition. Remember what a big deal it was when they were allowed to switch to shorts for practice rounds?
But the time has come to dial it down a little. The time has come for a little common sense.
When the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa was played in triple-digit temperatures last weekend, the European Tour gave the players permission to wear shorts.
Even though I knew it was coming, it still was startling to flip on the Golf Channel and see pros competing in shorts. But I got used to it right away. What’s the big deal?
I would guesstimate that, on a hot day at your average golf course, 98% of the players are wearing shorts. It has become part of the uniform. There’s no way most people are wearing long pants if it’s not required.
This has been going on for as long as I can remember DESPITE the pros’ more formal appearance. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the pros adapted to amateurs’ look this time? But there’s a simple reason why they should: money.
Just as we long to buy golf shirts that look as cool as what the pros wear, we would go out of our way to find the shorts that our favorite player endorses. It’s a given.
All the tours have to do is mandate a certain temperature or heat index that makes it OK to wear shorts during the tournament. It wouldn’t be every event or every day of every event. But the players certainly would appreciate a little latitude when the heat and humidity are soaring.
This also would fit with the advancements in comfortable golf clothing and hydration in recent years.
Dry Fit shirts, slipper-like shoes and ice-stocked carts have become commonplace, and most courses supply plenty of water. You almost never see a golfer who’s not wearing a hat. You’re nuts if you go out there without applying sunscreen.
I often have watched pro tournaments being played in hot weather and wondered how on earth they can stand wearing those long pants. Maybe some prefer it. If they don’t feel right wearing shorts, fine – it certainly wouldn’t be a requirement.
All the tours should get together right now, well in advance of the summer heat, and agree on some sort of new rule. They could have allowed shorts at the Presidents Cup in Australia, where it’s always toasty this time of year.
And when I say all the tours, that includes the PGA Tour Champions. Yeah, I know – some of those legs might be a little tough to look at. But the old guys need a break, too.