Are Hoodies Appropriate on The Golf Course?

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Are Hoodies Appropriate on the Golf Course? Some say absolutely, and some say absolutely not. Let the debate begin.

4 weeks ago, Tyrell Hatton won a professional golf tournament. He won the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club, an annual event on the European Tour. Tyrell Hatton is one of the best golfers in the world currently ranked #10 on the Official World Golf Ranking and this tournament, held in his home country of England, was a special win for him. He even recreated a photo he took as a youngster to celebrate. This wasn’t the takeaway from the golf tournament, however.

The story and discussion in the aftermath were about what Tyrell Hatton was wearing. Hatton wore an Adidas hoodie during the final round on Sunday. Fall weather in England can be unpredictable, wet, and cold so it makes sense for Hatton to wear a hoodie. This didn’t sit well with some private golf clubs and media members.

This golf club in England released the following statement: “In light of Tyrell Hatton’s recent success and fashion statement and following discussions on this, can I draw your attention to the Clubs dress code and re-emphasize that “hoodies” are not acceptable golf attire for Wearside Golf Club, no more so in fact than designer ripped jeans? I hope this avoids any unnecessary misunderstandings on this subject.”

This quote from the private club sparked much debate. Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument.

Golf Hoodie Debate Continues

Everyone is mostly in agreement that hoodies are appropriate on the golf course, except for some of these private golf clubs. Golf prides itself on being a “gentlemen’s game” and that means dressing appropriately. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this assessment, but hoodies can be appropriate golf attire.

Most golf clubs require golfers wear a golf shirt or pullover, pants or golf shorts, and golf shoes. No opened toed shoes, jeans, or t-shirts are allowed on the golf course at many private golf clubs around the world.

This is well within their rights, they are private institutions and can make their own rules and if they say hoodies are not proper golf attire, they can enforce that rule. But the question on everyone’s mind is, why are hoodies considered not appropriate golf attire?

I think the answer lies in some old, out of touch stereotypes that it is “non-gentlemanly” to wear hoodies. Golf is above people who wear hoodies. This is where the problem inherently lies. Golf is asking the wrong questions.

We shouldn’t be worried about what people are wearing on the golf course, especially professional golfers. I’m not saying there should be no dress code for golf, but if someone is wearing a golf hoodie, made specifically for golfers, how can that be a problem? Rory McIlroy recently wore a hoodie at the ZOZO Championship and seemingly put to rest this debate.

But I think we should discuss what Harold Varner III had to say about the hoodie debate. Varner posted a tweet about the debate and when asked to comment on the golf hoodie debate Varner said: “The problem with golf is that we’re talking about a freakin’ hoodie. My tweet had nothing to do with a hoodie, it’s the fact that we’re talking about a hoodie and we’re not worried about how we’re going to get more people into golf and how we’re going to grow the game. That’s the part that’s funny to me because some people are bitter, man. They want it to be like a certain way.

People are hesitant to change, (just ask Donald Trump) and golf is no exception. HVIII is correct in his assessment that golf should not be a sport stuck in the past and needs to look to the future when it comes to certain policies, like a dress code. Young people like to wear hoodies, myself included.

How can golf expect to expand and grow the game if they keep restricting golfers and telling them they can’t even wear a hoodie? the answer is that courses will close and not generate enough revenue. An estimated 800 golf courses closed down in the last decade in the United States and golf needs more people golfing to stay in business. 

Rory McIlroy and Tyrell Hatton didn’t look unprofessional or ungentlemanly when they played golf wearing a hoodie. In fact, they looked quite cool and comfortable and many people will follow their lead.

This golf hoodie debate takes away from the real questions that HVIII was asking. Golf needs to be keener to grow the game to different cultures and demographics of people. The COVID-19 pandemic has actually opened the door to those people as golf is one of the only sports you can play while maintaining social distance.

Golf is a game that I believe everyone can enjoy, but everyone should feel as comfortable as possible out on the golf course. Golfers shouldn’t have to worry about the dress code to a certain extent.

The hoodie debate represents a turning point in the game of golf between the “old guard” and the newcomers to the game. The “old guard” is resistant to change and wants golf to remain a game reserved for those who respect tradition. Respecting golf and its traditions shouldn’t be confined to a dress code. It should be defined in how golfers act on the golf course, their attitude, and their character when it comes to the game.

This hoodie debate and some push back does nothing to help grow the game. If anyone is interested in purchasing Tyrells Hatton’s or Rory McElroy’s hoodies, they can be found here and here.

Let me know your thoughts on hoodies below in the comments!

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