Documentary to be made about golf club sock story

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 14, 2019 11:29

A story about a man who was told by a golf club to change his socks because they were too dark has gone viral – and a documentary will even be made about the incident.

Andy Richards, the news editor of the television channel KMTV, which is broadcast to residents in Kent, says he waslooking forward to a game of golf at Gillingham Golf Club when he was summoned to the pro shop, where he was told he must remove his dark socks as they did not adhere to the strict dress code that only white ankle socks are permitted on the course when wearing shorts.

He tweeted, along with a picture of himself changing socks: ‘Up for a dress code but this is archaic and puts me off going back.

‘It’s a shame as we’re new players supporting our local club and it’s great value too.’

The story went viral on social media and many figures in the industry have given their view about it on The Golf Business LinkedIn page here. 

It’s become so big that Andy has since said he will make a film about it. ‘Been absolutely blown away by the response from across the world to my ‘dark sock’ incident. We’ve been kindly offered to come and play a couple of courses but we want to take it further. We’re going to do a film about inclusion in golf and the changes it’s making / not making, using my experience as a starting point,’ he tweeted.

On the original story, one user commented: “We need to encourage young people to take up the game and rules like these don’t encourage. The fact that this article has gone viral surely tells us something.’

Another said: ‘Surely, just a quick comment: ‘It’s lovely to have you here, we all hope you enjoy your round and experience with us. May I just make you aware for the future and in case we hadn’t communicated with you about the dress code, but next time you come and play, if you could wear white socks with your shorts, that would be great.’ They should be made to feel welcome, appreciated and accepted, despite any rule-breaking.’

While a third stated: ‘I can’t see what the problem is to be honest? If the dress code stated white ankle socks then so be it, what would be the response if he had been wearing jeans and asked to change?’

Gillingham Golf Club itself stated: “We do have a dress code outside our pro shop for visitors and members alike to read prior to going out onto the course.

“Hope you enjoyed playing on the course.”

There are a number of clothing rules on the golf course website, including no shirts outside trousers, denim or anything other than predominately white ankle socks when wearing shorts.

Andy added: “I haven’t encountered the ‘sock code’ in 25 years of playing the game so came wearing my stripy socks.

“It wasn’t a friendly experience as a newcomer to the course. Found it all a bit odd.”

The interest in the story is reminiscent of November 2008, when on the morning that Barack Obama was elected president of the USA, the most read story on the BBC website was the revelation that an Essex golf club had (four months earlier) amended its dress code so that male golfers no longer had to wear knee-high socks if they were wearing shorts.



Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 14, 2019 11:29
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  1. Craig August 1, 16:38

    Pride and predacious? Ha.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Gavin August 1, 14:33

    With all the problems that golf faces do we really need to catapult this issue further into the limelight by showing it on TV?

    There are a lot more examples of positive change in golf that do not get the same media exposure or attention that these bad news stories get, so how can we properly move away from the negativity if we bring it to the attention of those who are yet to formulate an opinion?

    I am all for celebrating inclusion in golf but let’s not do that by starting from a negative stance, we should do it because the positives far outweigh the negatives. It is a shame that this individual has had such a poor experience at the club in question but we need to avoid promoting a message which could potentially leave a poor perception of golf, and undo all the exceptional work being done by the large majority of clubs, managers, operators and golf bodies that are promoting our great sport as being more accessible and inclusive. Golf has a long way to go, but we need to spend less time looking back focussing on what we don’t want it to be, concentrating more on what we want it to be and know it can be!

    Reply to this comment
    • Richard August 1, 15:07

      This is where England Golf need to get involved to drown it out with positive messages. I know it is news but it is a shame that a golf business magazine helps disseminate it. I wonder whether the dress code was explained when they booked?

      Reply to this comment
    • Tom August 1, 16:11

      Completely agree Gavin, the more we try and keep this sort of thing away from public view the better. We need the associations, media and publications to focus on being a vehicle to promote the good news and talk about what is being done to try and broaden the appeal of golf to a wider audience

      Reply to this comment
      • Philip Arlington August 10, 07:51

        An astonishing and lamentable attitude. Hiding problems does not solve them. What is needed is to drop this absurd rule. Where on Earth did it come from anyway? Dark socks are not common! In fact, when I was a lad it was white socks which were common where I lived (Bedfordshire).

        Those who are still in doubt about the social status of dark socks can easily find photos of male members of the royal family wearing dark socks, even with shorts, but doing a google image search.

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