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  • Alistair Tait

Golf’s sartorial squad strikes again

Last week it was hoodies; this week it’s black socks. Golf’s sartorial squad has struck again.

In another episode of “You couldn’t make this up,” a club in Sydney, Australia has banned professional and broadcaster Ewan Porter for turning up to play in black golf shoes and black socks. Porter recorded a message on twitter expressing his disappointment:

“The club golf has banned me from playing there in future and have also contacted the PGA of Australia. That certainly doesn’t sit well with me. It upsets me.
“I do respect and appreciate the traditions of the game of golf. I look to the future and to see how we can expand the game of golf and reach different demographics. When archaic rules are in place, like the colour of your socks, that’s not going to help, in fact it’s going to hinder and drive people away from the sport.
“I’m sorry for what’s happened, but by the same token I hope it’s shed a bit of light on the fact that certain traditions need to look to the future of how we can evolve and how we can grow.”

Porter’s scenario follows last week's hoodie debate, when Tyrrell Hatton won the BMW PGA Championship wearing a hoodie.

In June, Michael Ridout turned up at Sandy Lodge Golf Club in shorts, black socks and black shoes and was told it was against the rules. The club allowed Ridout to play but that in future he had to wear white socks. As Ridout noted, “the offensive FootJoy ankle socks were bought at Pine Valley.”

It isn’t too long ago that I played with a tour pro in shorts, black golf shoes and white ankle socks and said tour pro slated me, telling me I should’ve been wearing black ankle socks. You just can’t win.

Are we surprised sartorial selection causes some golf clubs, some golf club members, to get themselves into an absolute tizzy? No. It’s been happening for years. We don’t seem to have moved on much since lady captains were literally measuring the length of the hem of a woman’s skirt to her knees to make sure the skirt adhered to club rules. I’m not making this up.

Phil Grice, former General Manager/Director at Royal Norwich and the former Chairman of the Golf Club Managers Association, passed on an interesting anecdote in response to my hoodie blog. Now an independent consultant working in the golf business, Grice wrote:

“Six years ago, we held the Golf Club Managers Association conference at St George’s Park. Carin Koch was a keynote speaker. When asked why she thought women’s golf participation in Europe was way ahead of the UK her answer was simple: 'You still tell people what to wear.'"

Hmmmm, those shorts 2018 Ricoh Women's British Open champion Georgia Hall (above) is wearing look like they might not adhere to regulations. I'm surprised she was allowed to play.

It's not just women who are being told what they can and can't wear, and not just in the UK.

I’m not against clubs having some sort of dress code, and would never dream of not adhering to the rules. My beef is with just how ridiculous said rules are.

The sartorial squad needs to lighten up and just let people play.

Black ankle socks. Honestly!

#JustSaying: “Clothes may not make the man, but they certainly make the golfer, and no well-established player would come to the links improperly dressed, any more that he would sit down at a public dinner without having assumed the black coat formality.” H. MacNeile Dixon, 1944

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