Daily government briefings on the latest COVID cases, hospitalisations and connected tragic death figures. A deepening public health crisis, regional lockdowns, UK economy in free-fall, businesses facing a bleak short term future and millions of employees fearing impending unemployment.
All desperately concerning but for a tiny minority ( we hope ) in the golf world, our current dire situation cannot be allowed to simply extinguish the critical question facing our great game.
” Is a Hoody an acceptable piece of clothing to be worn on a golf course ? “
In favour of allowing such an item the arguments put forward are clear and strong. In an age when every sport faces a continual struggle to attract new participants and particularly the young, anything which is, or may be seen as a deterrent to new participants has to be dealt with effectively. The vast majority of regular club golfers simply don’t get too upset about any of their fellow golfers’ somewhat bizarre sense of sartorial elegance. Let’s be honest, to the non- golf playing population every golfer commits some form of desperate fashion crime every time they set foot on a golf course.
What they do get worked up about, with justification, is the never ending failure of so many golfers ??? to replace divots, to repair pitchmarks and to move around a golf course at an acceptable pace of play. With the necessary pandemic induced restrictions in place at the start of the UK golf season, no longer could the members utilise their standard responses of either visitors causing damage to the course or the classic fall back position of blaming the juniors.
This latest outcry over dress codes elicited a staggering number of related tales involving various clubs. One recurring theme highlighted the situation where white socks are permitted in combination with shorts but under no circumstances should anyone consider wearing black socks. Presumably those falling foul of this particular regulation are expected to be grateful to be able to wear socks which don’t have to be knee high in conjunction with their new well creased shorts, complete with mandatory belt.
Many witnesses to these dress code battles report that very often those complaining and objecting are likely to turn up for their regular game adorned in a collection of worn out garments; the same outfit they no doubt had on cutting the front lawn that morning.
Now of course every private club is perfectly entitled to establish and fiercely implement its own regulations which every member agrees to abide by on payment of the annual subscription fees. For all golfers an invitation to play at one of the country’s great traditional clubs is seen as a real privilege. Should that club prohibit certain clothing or indeed require anyone to be dressed in a certain manner then the choice is a simple one. Conform with the stated standard or decline the invitation.
Unfortunately most of Scotland’s golf clubs do not have the luxury at present of imposing rigid membership conditions and must continually balance the need to attract more members together with maintaining high standards both on the course and within the clubhouse. Given the vast range of clothing manufactured for the worldwide golf market every year, there really is no excuse for anyone not to be reasonably well turned out for their regular eighteen holes. A good standard of clothing leads to a good standard of golf. Ok so I just made that up but in my own experience I cannot think of any decent player I have spent in the company of who has been anything other than smartly dressed.
Where do I stand on the Hoody debate ? Here is my take, for what it’s worth. I don’t particularly like them and could never see myself wearing one. I am definitely in the oldy worldy camp where the view is there is too much man made material ( plastic ! ) about and the world would be a better place if it went back to wearing more wool.That is my environmental rant done with and so back to the hot topic.
We really do have bigger and better things to concern us other than golf hoodies. If you must wear one then please make sure your hoody is in good condition. Please make sure you replace that divot you just removed, please repair that pitchmark you just made and please make sure you keep up with the match in front of you, not just ahead of the match behind you.
That is all. Please enjoy your golf.