It’s time for the narrative to change.
No shirt. No shoes. No service. Or so they say.
We’ve come to accept that, in order to patronize someone’s business, we have to wear a shirt and shoes.
It seems like it’s been posted on the door of every business I’ve ever walked into in my 30 years of life. Though I’ve never really seen anyone be turned away.
If you’ve ever been to ‘peopleofwalmart.com’ you know that it doesn’t take much to meet these requirements. Apparently, a piece of rubber held on your feet by a small strap counts for shoes, and any piece of fabric, no matter how see-through, counts as a shirt.
The greater golf world has also long held a belief that you needed to wear certain articles of clothing to be welcome to play a round at a golf course.
Most specifically, a collared shirt.
Golf has also long been known as a very exclusive sport. One that only certain people could play. One meant to keep people, who did not conform or meet the standards, out.
Even so-called “golf professionals” were not allowed into the clubhouse at one time. Only those who were a part of the “club” were allowed in.
I’m sure, a long time ago, with the extra fabric needed, collared shirts cost much more than a simple shirt. Which meant the regular working class couldn’t afford to meet the dress code requirements of the golf course.
But there are many of us who would like to see this ideology change.
Most of the greater golf public are regular people. People who may not wear, or even own, those kinds of clothes. Most don’t want to be a part of a club and just want to play golf on the weekend as a way to get away from the drudgery of everyday life.
We don’t necessarily want to buy specific clothes in order to feel like we fit in. We shouldn’t need to meet some sort of requirement to be able to step foot on a golf course.
People new to the sport, especially, should never feel like there is some sort of barrier to entry.
Ambassadors to the game, that’s us, the people attempting to get others into the game we love should never make someone feel as though they are less because they aren’t dressed a certain way.
But we do. And we have. For hundreds of years.
It’s time for the narrative to change.
Honestly, I feel most comfortable playing without shoes. Which is ironic, because I have a minor infatuation with golf shoes.
Usually, at least one comment is made on the first tee any time I play with someone new, and it more than likely becomes the talk of the round by the end of the day.
“You’re not wearing any shoes?”
“No. Now watch this drive.”
It might be somewhat egotistical, but I get a small level of joy watching a person’s mind implode when I drive my ball past theirs while I’m not wearing shoes. It’s like they’ve seen a ghost or something.
I’m not claiming to be the best golfer out there by any means, (we’ve talked about how I can’t seem to break 80), but I love breaking up people’s idea of what’s possible.
At the end of the day, I’m just a normal dude. I love wearing t-shirts, and my feet hurt from wearing shoes all day. I just want to relax and be comfortable.
I think this is the vibe golf desperately needs. An incredible amount of people picked up the game for the first time last year and if we want them to stick around we need to make them feel welcome and appreciated. Not belittled because they don’t have a frilly little piece of fabric folded around their neck.
Even more so, this is the vibe the world needs. We should be encouraging people to express themselves, in any way they desire, so that their true character can shine through. With more self-expression comes more innovation and a ton of new stuff we, as humans, are capable of creating.
Who knows? A simple change in the way we moderate the game of golf could bring in someone who could change the game in a majorly positive way.
But we’ll never know if keep the status quo and continue to push outdated norms.
It’s time to change.