Thursday

Golf is Fun: The Relaxed Rules Of Golf... And A Dress Code To Match

                             Cargo shorts on course.... last weekend at Candlewood Valley Country Club                                                                             

Several years ago, the appearance of cargo shorts on a golf course was likely to cause... consternation... or worse. A most private clubs they were relegated to the inappropriate column, right there with halter tops, spandex, collarless shirts and often, anything denim. Even municipal, public and daily fee courses tended to view the ample, multi-pocketed trousers as unseemly.

We called it the cargo controversy when we wrote about it in 2008.  The post... which focused on the outcry that followed one country club official's call to ban the polarizing garment... produced a spirited debate.  Ultimately the consensus seemed to split equally between those who felt that cargo shorts were perfectly acceptable for golf and others who wanted to see them relegated to that aforementioned list of forbidden frocks.

Much has changed since that early post.  The ensuing years brought a prolonged financial crisis that hit golf particularly hard, hastening a decline in the number of players and fans.  Younger players, in particular, were proving very difficult to engage and retain.

Jeans: the new khakis? For some players, on some golf courses, maybe so.
Recently numerous ideas and initiatives have been presented to make the game more "user friendly". Tee it Forward, encouraged players to move forward for less arduous, quicker and more enjoyable game.  Recently "The Relaxed Rules of Golf" have been introduced making the game substantially less draconian and much more enjoyable for amateur players.   Along the same lines, it seems that the strict dress codes that once ruled the majority of fairways, greens and clubhouses are also giving way to something more ... casual.

At Candlewood Valley Country Club one recent weekend I noticed several players wearing outfits that would have raised eyebrows a few years ago.  Both cargo shorts and denim jeans were widely represented and there was no sign of a dress code enforcer anywhere.  Young players were plentiful and despite their laid back attire behaved with... admirable decorum.

Stalwart traditionalists might balk, and exclusive country clubs will certainly maintain a more rigid set of rules, but on this Autumnal afternoon, the more relaxed dress code seemed just about right.