The game of golf is one of the oldest sports in the world. In fact, the modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland. Historians say that the first 18-hole round was created in 1764 at the Old Course at St. Andrews. It’s always been driven by a clear set of rules, and those rules included a dress code. In more modern times, dress codes have been more strictly enforced at country clubs or private courses.
Dress Codes in Golf
Dress codes have called for collared shirts at many locations and also that slacks be well tailored and shorts be of Bermuda length. But it appears that the definition of a collared shirt is changing. Tiger Woods just finished his amazing comeback with a Masters victory, and wore a mock turtleneck shirt each day. Social media exploded with feedback thinking that Tiger got a pass while other players wore more formal collars.
But that wasn’t really the case. Several other players sported shirts with “new-style” collared shirts during the tournament. Rory McIlroy wears what is called a blade collar shirt. It’s a Dri-Fit shirt with a polo design and although it appears to have a collar, it doesn’t fold over. A similar shirt was also worn by Jason Day during the Masters.
Although many golf traditionalists were upset that Woods was able to wear what looked like a mock T-Shirt, a quick look at his history shows this wasn’t the first time. During his last Masters win in 2005, Tiger wore a very similar red turtleneck mock shirt when he won his 4th green jacket in a playoff with Chris DiMarco. So this is not an unprecedented change to the PGA tour’s dress code.
Country Club and Private Golf Club Policies
Go to any Country Club or Private Golf Club’s website and you’ll be able to find a dress code for golfers. But as companies like NIKE and other golf attire manufacturers come up with new attire to sell, it can blur the line to some clubs rules and regulations. In fact, golfers wearing golf designed shirts without a fold over collar have been turned away for not complying with the dress code.
For instance, in the Toronto, Canada area, we looked at two private clubs to see what their dress codes stated. At Oakdale Golf & Country Club, the code states – Golf shirts must have a collar or must be recognized golf designed (i.e. mock turtle or turtle neck). Shirts must be tucked into trousers.
At Cedar Brae Golf Club, they are a bit more definitive stating – Golf shirts with collars, turtlenecks, mock necks or blade collars are acceptable.
Also, based on the fact that country clubs are deviating slightly from the fold over collar shirts only allowed in the past, they are beginning to embrace the new attire. But it is still a decision clubs will need to make at the time the player checks in for his round.
However for the PGA tour it is clear that they are okay with players wearing the new golf designed shirts of today. And they should be. Players say that the newly designed shirts are more comfortable, less restrictive and keep them drier. Which will make them play better golf, and isn’t that the name of the game?
In a nutshell, Tiger Woods did not break any rules with his wardrobe at the Augusta National golf course during the Masters. Sure, he may have riled up some of the golf traditionalists, but things are changing. Not only is there a new wave of young and talented golfers on the professional scene, but they are also driving some changes to golfs traditional dress codes.