Controversial youth-friendly dress code initiative launches

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 1, 2016 05:46 Updated

An R&A campaign that’s set to get more teenagers into golf clubs could result in older golfers feeling pressurised into dressing down on the course and in the clubhouse, an industry figure has warned.

fancy dress

Starting today, The R&A’s #BootDaSuit campaign will see grants of up to £30,000 awarded to every golf club that enforces a ‘teenage-friendly’ dress code for at least two days a week for the next 12 months.

Members and visitors of participating clubs on the set days, of which one must be a weekend day, will not be allowed to wear smart clothing such as jackets, shirts or ties in the clubhouse. Instead casual dress such as sportswear, tracksuits, football strips and hooded tops will be encouraged.

“The idea is to create a less intimidating environment for youths, who, at the end of the day are the future of this sport,” said R&A spokesman Terry Jenkins.

In a further change with traditional golf attire, members will be advised to wear casual trainers rather than smart shoes, although spiked golf shoes will be permitted.

The initiative follows market research which found that 45 percent of young people feel dress codes and smart clothing intimidate them and put them off taking up the sport. In addition, the research found that golf has not benefitted from the huge growth of hen and stag parties, an industry now worth in excess of £750 million a year.

“Clubs are missing out on this huge revenue opportunity due to the snobbish attitudes of a minority of members, I for one would prefer to see a group of women sporting L-plates enjoying themselves over an empty clubhouse any day”, Terry added

Guests will also be encouraged to play in fancy dress for events such as Christmas, St Patrick’s Day and Halloween, and clubs are being advised to be more tolerant when it comes to the ‘three S’s’: swearing, smoking and spitting.

hoodie greg tee

Basilwood Golf Club, which began the campaign last week. Flickr / Greg Tee

Terry said he was excited by #BootDaSuit.
“We’ve found that hundreds of thousands of teenagers are put off by golf due to the intimidating dress codes and #BootDaSuit is the perfect way to address this,” he said.

Terry unveiled the #BootDaSuit logo – an emoji, which he called a “smileycon”, with the hashtag underneath.


“We’ve gone for something that inspires the kids by speaking their language, and now it’s the golf clubs’ turn,” he said.

“Let’s have casual dress in the clubhouse, mow some smileycons into the fairways and even have skate parks in the car parks.

“We need to learn from sports like darts which have really captured the hearts of the youth market in recent years.”

However, Rose Main, a senior lecturer at Sussex University, warned that the new campaign could have some unintended consequences.

“You could have the prospect of an octogenarian member not realising the policy was in place, and turning up to play golf in smart attire on a Saturday and being forced to change into a hoodie for his pre-round coffee, and then wearing a Tottenham Hotspur shirt for his round of golf because that was all the club had available,” she said.

“If he was a lifelong Arsenal fan the psychological effect of this could be very damaging.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 1, 2016 05:46 Updated
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1 Comment

  1. Jerry Gegg April 1, 09:55

    April Fool!

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