BUNKER-TO-BUNKER… Inside Golf writers have their say.

By Michael Court

IS golf shooting itself in the sandal here?

What have we done? Relaxing these dress rules on the course is becoming a joke. Does our revered game, with such a storied history of gentleman and lady champions, really have to lower itself to this level?

It all began innocently enough with a few shirts out and the odd pair of cargo or camouflage pants being worn around our once-private golf club.

Okay, so it is still private – but do we really have to let everyone wear their shirt out?

Then we let a few get away with wearing white socks with a few stripes on top. Now some are wearing black socks and sandshoes when they turn up for a game of golf. I might be the odd man out here, but were dress standards that restrictive that we had to abandon them completely?

I once turned up at an elite North Shore club and was told that if I didn’t wear plain white socks or those with the club’s logo on the side, then I would be escorted from the course. Seriously, their GM announced that to the field on a microphone before we were allowed to tee off?

I suppose collared shirts will be the next to go! Then board shorts will be allowed on the course too. Jeans? Sure, why not?

So, how much longer will we have to carry a bucket of sand to fill our divots? Who cares?

Whoever suggested the Rules of Golf were only a ‘guide’ to what we should be doing on the course was only joking … I hope.


By Peter Owen

WHEN I started playing golf you weren’t allowed to wear shorts unless they were accompanied by knee-high socks. 

Those were different times, of course – men wore suits to the footy and hats to the races, and women made a Sunday pilgrimage to church dressed only in their very best. Golf has always been slow to accommodate changes in fashion, preferring to consider itself some sort of bastion of upholding tradition.

My club, some time ago, allowed people to wear thongs in the bar before 6pm, accepted tee-shirts and turned a blind eye to patrons coming into the clubhouse after a game of mini golf wearing a cap.

Some of our members were appalled, and there was talk of a petition. But times change. And institutions as mired in the past as some of our golf clubs need to change with them.

Many of our clubs are doing pretty well right now. Covid has been good for golf, more people than ever are lining up to have a hit and, in the region where I live, waiting lists for club memberships have never been longer.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to understand, accept and allow for changing attitudes to dress and, even, behaviour. I’ve always applauded the way golf has championed fair play, honesty and sportsmanship, and that should never change. 

But I’ve never really understood why you had to take your hat off inside the clubhouse, why tailored denim trousers were taboo, and why it was so wrong to wear a shirt without a collar.


By Michael Davis

GOLF is not a compulsory activity. Like any pastime or hobby, you choose to do it.

It is not unreasonable for golf clubs and facilities to politely ask you to observe good dress standards. If you don’t like it then don’t play.

You don’t arrive at a mate’s place for dinner dressed like a slob. The way your present yourself anywhere as a guest is a sign of respect for your host. In my view, you can never have too much respect whether it’s for facilities or your fellow players.

Dressing for the occasion is simply an outward sign of that respect. Most hotels, clubs and restaurants have dress codes. The MCC dining room still asks members to don a jacket and tie. And it is always full. 

So let’s stamp out the renegades who are trying to erode the dress code when it comes to playing golf. It is the thin edge of the wedge as far as I’m concerned.

Chances are the ‘offenders’ will be the same ones who don’t replace divots or carry a sand bucket. So let’s get rid of them at both private and public courses. I doff my lid to any manager who has the gumption to call out failure to adhere to the club or facility’s dress code.

I might add this is not always a pleasant task and does not always apply, as some may think, to younger golfers. Sometimes it can be a very high profile member who thinks his wealth and fame preclude him from adhering to the club’s standards.

Guess what? They don’t!


By Larry Canning

I WOULD love a beer for every time I’ve stood behind the counter listening to some boofhead telling me how much his denim jeans cost or how the pros, playing in some skins game at Port Douglas, were wearing short socks.

I’ve actually been known to intentionally pocket dial the pro shop phone then pretend to have a conversation while an irate customer is standing at the counter assuming I give a flying head-cover about his opinion on fashion. 

That imaginary line of what’s acceptable to wear is definitely moving, but given how long it’s taken to shorten the length of a sock by four inches we’re not in danger yet. 

Plus golf clubs all round Australia are that busy, they can enforce any absurd dress regulation they want. There’s always someone else who will grab the empty spot.

My own personal view is if it’s comfy and clean, it’s fine. 

Ultimately, it’s the club’s choice. You play a private course and you follow their rules.

If you want to wear a collarless shirt find a golf club that allows it.

I can see the need for some kind of dress regulation, but common sense needs to prevail. Wearing long socks with short pants was simply absurd!

By the way, apparently the wearing of a hat inside dates back to the days of medieval knights. 

Perhaps it’s time we give this rule the sword? 

About Inside Golf

Australia's Golf News Leader, Inside Golf gives you in-depth coverage of Australian golf news, golf events, golf travel and holiday destinations, Australian and international golf course reviews, the hottest new golf gear and tips and drills to improve your golf game. Written by award-winning journalists, Inside Golf also features interviews with Australia's top professional golfers, the game's rising stars, industry leaders and golf equipment manufacturers. You can even win great golf prizes and equipment. It’s all in Inside Golf. FREE at Australian golf courses, driving ranges and golf retailers across Australia.

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