The game of golf is infamous for being a stuffy and elitist sport with strange etiquette rules that can be intimidating or off-putting for those new to the game. Nothing sours an experience than when you’re yelled at for wearing or doing the wrong thing on the course.
As the game of golf continues to grow many of these old rules are starting to relax while the game is becoming more casual and inclusive. These recent changes have loosened up restrictions that could appear daunting to golf newcomers.
Dress Codes Relaxing
Most courses still have a dress code. There is an expectation that players wear a shirt with a collar and to avoid denim, but many of us have noticed more casual attire crop up on the course. Tiger Woods started leaning towards more athleisure gear and Rory McIlroy has continued the trend with tighter shirts in more breathable fabrics defined for performance.
Gone are the days of khakis and a solid-color polo shirt as you’ll see brighter colors speckle the golf course. The dress code relaxing has allowed golfers to not only feel more comfortable while playing, but also express their personal style.
Golf was a game that required absolute silence of its players and spectators, or people complained; however, many courses recently started to allow music during rounds. Bluetooth speakers have become so popular that they are often given away as a tee gift for tournaments.
If you are playing with strangers, it’s likely a good idea to ask if they are okay with music. But if you’re friends, it adds another fun element to gameplay.
Pace of Play
Historically, golf has often been derided for taking too long and the culprit? The pace of play. The USGA kicked off a campaign to address pace of play issues with the “While We’re Young” Initiative in 2013. The impact of this campaign and increased general awareness has been allowed more players to understand they need to keep it moving. No one wants to be the person or group holding everyone else up. There is also a broader understanding that if the group behind yours is waiting you should let them through.
More Inclusive for Juniors
It wasn’t that long ago that junior golfers weren’t allowed to play on the weekends and had to wait until the afternoon during the week. This discouraged younger players to continue the sport and it makes you wonder why make it harder for youth if you’re concerned about future participation in the game?
Fortunately, more and more golf courses are opening to our junior players. Many offer discounts or run programs designed to get the younger generations involved. And we support this approach: get them hooked when they are young, and they will support the game for years!
Play It Forward
Most golf courses have four to five different tee boxes from various yardages. Historically, women must play from the ladies’ tees, seniors the senior tees, and men the back tees. We’re unsure if this still makes sense, as we believe players should choose their tees based on their ability.
The “Play it Forward” campaign, another USGA initiative, started to address this issue by pushing individuals to play the tees that fit their game. If you are just learning, there is nothing wrong playing the forward tees and eventually progressing to further back tees.
The game of golf should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to play it – it’s why we make affordable and accessible golf clubs . We are so happy to see golf etiquette evolving in a way that is more inclusive, open, and modern, which positions it to continue to grow into the future.