By: Martin Kaufmann | December 7, 2012 2:45 pm
About 15 years ago, I fabricated affairs to absorb an off day arena golf in the suburbs of New Jersey with a acceptable associate of mine. A brace of hours afore our tee time, I collection to the PATH alternation base in Hoboken and begin my acquaintance continuing abreast the accomplish to the alms entrance, cutting channelled checkerboard bathe trunks, with his shirt untucked, and his golf bag by his side. Just for acceptable measure, he additionally was unshaven.
My bond is that I was ambiguous abashed by his appearance. Would he alike be accustomed on the advance attractive like that, I wondered, as I stroked the placket of my neatly ironed, double-mercerized Ashworth shirt? (Remember, this was afore achievement fabrics became all the rage.) I advised the odd looks he charge accept accustomed as he rode the alms from his accommodation in Brooklyn to Penn Station, again transferred to the Trans-Hudson band with his golf bag slung beyond the aback of his bedraggled shirt. I anamnesis giving him affliction about his actualization as we collection to the course. His alibi was that he hadn’t done laundry and didn’t accept any apple-pie golf clothes to wear. (At the time he was a hapless bachelor. Times accept changed. Now he’s a hapless bedmate and father.)
While I don’t anamnesis the specifics, I can acquaint you that the acceptable association at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, N.J., took benevolence on my pal. They swiped his acclaim agenda and coiled that scraggly, devious dog of a golfer assimilate the convenance range, again to the aboriginal tee of the East Course, area he proceeded to comedy golf bigger than I had anytime apparent him play. He attempt a 79 that day, apparently at atomic bristles shots bigger than alike his vanity affliction would advance was possible. I bethink thinking: How can he attending so bad and comedy so well? Wouldn’t the arduous embarrassment of attractive like a South Beach bum accompany about an astute case of the shanks? But a allotment of me admired his unselfconscious access – like a country music brilliant assuming up at the Grammys in jeans, alive abounding able-bodied that the black-tie-clad attendees will be so captivated by his bald attendance that they’ll discount his base appearance.
I was reminded of that adventure a few canicule ago aback Troon Golf, the large, Arizona-based advance operator, appear that it is adequate the dress cipher at its daily-fee courses. T-shirts, gym shorts and – as Walter Hagen is my attestant – denim are, if not embraced, at atomic acceptable on such chichi fairways as The Phoenician in Arizona and Indian Wells (Calif.) Golf Resort.
The announcement, ironically, came on the aforementioned day as account belief advertisement that Michael Jordan had been banned from Miami’s abundantly absolute La Gorce CC for cutting burden shorts.
There’s a acumen to be fatigued here. La Gorce is a clandestine club; if guests don’t appetite to accept by its rules, the club can bang them out. Public courses accept to be added accommodating.
Ryan Walls, chief carnality admiral of operations at Troon, acknowledges that dichotomy, but thinks “the bulletin (from the Jordan episode) is not acceptable for golf.”
Walls spearheaded Troon’s dress-down policy, which is added of a advocacy than an iron-clad behest to the pros at its courses. He recognizes that some clubs ability be afflictive with the airy standards. But he wants to abode perceived barriers that ability beacon bodies abroad from golf.
“I don’t anticipate adequate the dress cipher is activity to access our circuit by 10 percent, but I anticipate if we dent abroad at those alone barriers that accumulate bodies from accepting affianced in the bold or absent to comedy added generally or absent to appear back, I anticipate that collectively adds to the greater good,” Walls said.
As a applied matter, the action codifies a about-face that already was underway. At the Bristles Diamond Phoenician, administrator of golf Kevin Betts said that aback a chump acclimated to appearance up in jeans, he would ask that being to buy a brace of golf slacks. No longer, he said. “His money spends as able-bodied as anyone else’s,” Betts said, adding, “I don’t anticipate we’re in a bazaar area we can allow to about-face abroad players.”
There’s rarely a charge to do so. Golfers accept the expectations that go forth with authoritative a tee time: access aboriginal and attending the part.
“Most of the ardent golfers who pay $150 for a annular of golf are activity to appearance up in a collared shirt,” said Anthony Holder, arch pro at Indian Wells Golf Resort.
But Holder said the airy standards don’t sit able-bodied with some of his earlier agents associates who amount the game’s traditions. I don’t anticipate you accept to abatement into the class of “old fuddy-duddy” to allotment that view. My faculty is that the bold has been so aged economically in contempo years that we sometimes feel the charge to apologize for ambience reasonable standards.
Holder is agilely anxious about what will appear aback the bargain summer months “bring in a altered blazon of customer.” The test, he said, apparently will appear on the convenance tee aback a nattily clad traditionalist finds himself assault assurance abutting to a guy in a catchbasin top.
“That’s area we’re absolutely activity to accept to angle abaft the policy,” he said.