Golf just isn’t a game of precision, focus, and confidence, it’s a game of fashion. One of the unspoken rules in the golfing world is dressing appropriately for the occasion. In most country clubs the rule is in fact explicit, requiring members to follow dress code standards. The most common attire includes a tucked collared shirt, golf slacks, and proper golf shoes. Shorts are permissible, but only if they are the proper length. Shorts that are mid-thigh length are often acceptable, shorts any shorter may be deemed inappropriate or lacking “good taste”. This gives the term “Game of Inches” a whole new meaning. Business Insider recently published an interesting article referring to the shorts controversy ravaging the golf world today. Below we will discuss some of the article’s most important points.
In an attempt to modernize the sport, the European Tour announced that shorts are now acceptable attire in pro-am events and practice rounds in its tournaments. European Tour CEO Keith Pelley explained his reasoning for the recent decree, citing that shorts are part of the natural evolution of the game. Pelley explained: “It puts our players first and our fans first as well. The fashion of golf is something that the youth adopt. We will have strong rules, but there will be some fashion statements, and it [shorts] is a great start."
Golfers such as Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy praised the recent decision, exclaiming that making shorts permissible was definitely a much needed provision. However shorts are only allowed during practice rounds, and not in actual tournaments. Despite the fact that the European Tour’s decision retains dress code standards during actual tournament play, traditionalists are fervently speaking out against the new provision. Folks of this school fear that modern sartorial concepts may eventually spread to premier tournaments, such as the PGA tour, or the US Open. The Big Lead’s Michael Shamburger even penned a piece for the public called “PGA Tour Golfers Wearing Shorts During Tournaments Should Never Happen”, which humorously lambasts the idea of top golfers wearing shorts during competition.
Negative responses have stirred further backlash from individuals in favor of the European Tour’s decision. For these individuals, such disapproval seems only to reinforce the unnecessarily old-school approach to a perceivably upper class game, reinforcing the game’s stereotypical classist image. “As far as tradition goes, that smug bunch who believe themselves to be its greatest supporters are confusing it with pomposity. Golf is never in a worse light than when it is cast in the smog caused by tradition being mixed with pomposity.” expounded James Corrigan of the Telegraph. Although to some the sartorial change is much desired, to others, it is detrimental to the game’s tradition. One thing is for sure, the shorts controversy is causing a true tug of war within the golfing world.
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