71% of golfers believe dress codes are a problem for golf

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 2, 2014 10:28

A major new survey of golfers’ attitudes towards dress codes has found that an overwhelming majority believe that they do deter people from taking up golf.

Golf clubs have suffered huge financial problems in the last few years and one of the main reasons has been a lack of new people taking up golf. Surveys of non-golfers have consistently found that unwelcoming rules such as dress codes have acted as barriers to entry into the game, but some golf clubs have been reluctant to change because it was thought that their existing members were happy with their current policies.

However, the poll of 1,000 readers of Today’s Golfer finds that 71 percent believe that golf’s dress codes do deter people from taking up the game, 67 percent of responders feel that trainers should be allowed in the clubhouse and a huge 93 percent of golfers do not think that evening meals require a jacket and tie.

Just 36 percent of those surveyed said that relaxing the dress code would lead to poor behaviour on the golf course.

download (9)While the research shows for the first time that golfers attitudes towards dress codes support a relaxation, this didn’t mean that all liberal policies are tolerated, according to the poll. While top golf clubs such as The Grove allow jeans on the course, 93 percent of responders still said they are opposed to this development.

“Being told how to dress is a crazy concept in a game for enjoyment,” said Today’s Golfer columnist Denis Pugh. “I’ve played with guys in the dreaded T-shit, jeans and trainers whose behaviour has been superior to the traditionalist brigade. The game must attract new people or become a niche sport for snobs.”

“We’re more concerned with running our business that the length of someone’s socks,” added Scott Evans, managing director of the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire. “Telling people off for their dress shouldn’t have a place when you are trying to create an inviting ambience which encourages people to spend money.”

Image originally by Schwing

Image originally by Schwing

However, Richard Penley-Martin, secretary of Ganton Golf Club in Yorkshire, which has a traditional dress code in the clubhouse dining room, disagreed. He told Today’s Golfer: “We’re maintaining a waiting list and candidates for membership state that the traditional standards, including the dress code, are one of the things that attract them to Ganton. We’ve adapted the dress code to accommodate members who no longer wish to wear a jacket and tie … I think we’ve found a happy medium that satisfies the majority.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 2, 2014 10:28
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1 Comment

  1. RichardPM October 4, 16:04

    Its not a case of one thing or the other. It is a matter of balance. Part of the perception from non-golfers re dress codes is as a result of stereotyping by the media. I would suggest that 99% of golf clubs accommodate relaxed dress but what they don’t do is take it down to the lowest common denominator

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