5 Ways Golf's Dress Code Is Evolving
The one topic everyone loves to have their say on: the dress code. Some of us have been fortunate enough to be able to join a golf club as a junior. Thankfully, the kids of today don’t seem to have to adhere to some of the prehistoric rules that we did back in the 90s, but the emerging acceptance and loosening of “rules” around attire should be a lesson to us all about how golf can move forward.
Formal golf clothing is no longer a necessity.
Gone are the days of baggy, formal trousers that you would only wear to get yourself past the pro-shop without a questioning glare. Gone are those where we wore golf shoes a size too big or small for us as the modern and much more practical shoes of today hadn’t yet hit the mainstream. The expense of conforming to the dress code was a huge inhibitor to the adoption of the sport by the younger generation. Thankfully, golf apparel is now much more tailored and fitted than what came before us.
Golf clubs are removing ancient barriers.
Removing those barriers have certainly helped the take up of the sport, but how do we convert those who try the sport out at a young age, to sustaining their participation through school and college?
Kids of today don’t want to look like the Walker Cup Rory or Rickie. This isn’t about asking ourselves what type of gear younger golfers want to wear; it’s about asking the youth themselves what they think of dress code, what they would like to see as acceptable around the course, if they are able to afford a polo or golf outerwear in addition to their day-to-day wear etc.
Let’s consider a scenario analysis: A 16-year-old is encouraged to take up golf and play a round at their local course. When they arrive, they’re told they cannot play without a polo shirt or equivalent outer layer. They have two options: A) buy a polo shirt in the pro-shop (£50), B) go home. If we assume that option A is an unrealistic expense, then option B is triggered where they likely won’t come back to the sport again.
Thankfully, golf clubs are beginning to make adjustments to their dress codes, particularly for younger golfers.
Social Media has impacted attitudes towards golf wear.
The future of golf depends on the next generation of players. And now, more than ever, are we competing for attention with the rise of gaming, Instagram and other online activities, not to mention the long list of alternative sports they can and should play.
So we should engage them as much as possible in our longer-term thinking. For one, who is to say a neatly designed t-shirt is any less smart than a polo? Are we really saying that CEOs of large tech companies can present their product launches in t-shirts but the average golfer can’t wear the same t-shirt because it doesn’t look smart enough?
The rise of social media has presented opportunities for golfers of all types to express themselves, particularly in what they wear, which has helped change the perception both inside and outside the game.
Innovation at the heart of golf apparel.
Do we really want to see the universal plain chino short and polo combo proliferate courses for the next decade? Golf shoes made the first great leap for the game. Hoodies came next. And we hope that the t-shirt soon follows.
We recognise that a lot of consumers still love (we do too!) the classic polo, but we want to give people options. Something you can wear on a night out, to a lecture, to the gym, to a friend’s house and to the course. Innovation is key to evolving how we can grow as a sport.
Education amongst the masses.
What we’re looking to do at Skins Golf is to help change the image of the sport, in whatever way we can. We will be actively campaigning golf clubs to relax their strict dress code policies where it makes sense, educating them on the benefits of doing so and updating the golfing community on our progress as we go.
This is not about loosening it to the degree of allowing golfers wear anything, but more a logical and adaptive approach to welcoming the modern-day consumer. By designing accessories and apparel that people can wear on and off the course, we hope that no unnecessary expense is spared for golf-only apparel
So let’s embrace change. If there’s anything we can and should be doing to help move things forward, we would love to hear from you. You will be the ones driving change for the next generation. Let us know what you want to see, and we’ll try to make it happen.
See you on the first!