Did I tell you about the time I wore trainers in a clubhouse?

The Scoop

Like many, Alex Perry has grown tired of the archaic rules still in place at many golf clubs. But times they are a-changin', he writes in Dialled In

Hello. Welcome to this week’s Dialled In. Now, we’ve talked a lot about dress codes on NCG – mostly saying that they should be relaxed to encourage more people to take up the sport. And, boy, do we get dog’s abuse for it.

But we stand by it. Our general take is if you want to wear jeans while playing, then crack on, but why on earth would you want to play golf in jeans? Do you know how uncomfortable that is?

But I had to laugh when I was sent an email ahead of a recent competition at an established course. “Visitors Terms and Conditions”, the subject line bellowed at me. As if at the age of 35 I have yet to learn how to behave myself.

The email was SEVEN HUNDRED AND NINETY words long.

The first half of it is your standard affair: stick to your reserved tee time, play off the correct tees, replace divots, speed of play. You know the rest.

But then the words on the email turn red. That’s when you know they are serious.

“The following attire is NOT permitted in the Clubhouse or on the Course,” it says, with a capital ‘C’ on both ‘clubhouse’ and ‘course’ for added emphasis.

Then follows 300 words of what you are not allowed to wear in the clubhouse or on the course… Sorry – in the Clubhouse or on the Course.

First of all, no one wears shell suits in 2018? And what are “plastic beach flip flops”? If you mean Crocs, you really shouldn’t be wearing them anywhere.

No caps in the clubhouse? I can assure you that the state of my hair after 18 holes is far more offensive.

Out on the course, meanwhile, spectators – SPECTATORS! – are allowed to wear “suitable flat shoes” but absolutely not trainers. I have no idea what a “suitable flat shoe” would be.

And trousers may not be tucked into socks. Hang on, this is one of golf’s oldest and finest dress code traditions you’re messing with here. Imagine being turned away by an old fashioned golf club for donning the most old fashioned of golf fashions.

dress codes

My reason for not naming the club is because it wouldn’t really be fair – especially as so many clubs are still like this.

And it’s amazing how ingrained this nonsense is in golfer’s routines.

A friend of mine was recently late picking me up for a round of golf because, and I quote, “I couldn’t find my smart shoes for the clubhouse”. I was wearing a pair of grey Nike Air Jordans. He had nothing to worry about.

Or my colleague who regaled a tale to me about how he once walked into a clubhouse, had forgotten to take his cap off, and was confronted by the club captain – in full blazer and tie despite it being 30-degrees out – who merely pointed at his cap and then toward the door.

Pathetic behaviour, I’m sure you’ll agree. And just proves how utterly absurd these rules are.

We’re trying to encourage more people to play golf, not tell them that the peak of that cap must be facing forwards or it’s death by staring squad.

Imagine being 13 or 14 and wanting to take up golf, only to walk into your local golf course and be marched straight back out again because you had the audacity to wear jeans, or send a text within 500 metres of the clubhouse.

But times they are a-changing in the golf landscape. I was recently at Camberley Heath in Surrey – a club steeped in golf tradition and heritage – and the difference was mind-boggling. No one cared that I was wearing trainers in the clubhouse, or that I’d left my cap on to walk through to the locker room, or that I rang my girlfriend while in the bar to check in on our daughter who was a bit under the weather.

No one was hurt, no one was offended and, perhaps most importantly, no one died.

When I said to the gents in the pro shop how refreshing it all was, one replied: “As long as you’re not traipsing mud through the building, it’s not a concern.” So basically like being at my mum’s house.

We’re all about trying to get more young people playing golf. So imagine if a teenager new to the game was in the clubhouse wearing trainers or a cap and was accosted like me colleague above – do you think they’d be back?

But, most importantly, who, after walking 18 holes in what are most likely hot or wet conditions, wants to then squeeze their swollen, sweaty feet into a pair of Clarks?

It’s time for all golf clubs to be a bit more like Camberley Heath.

It’s coming home

It really is, isn’t it? And we couldn’t resist getting in on the latest craze. Big props to our video guru Paddy for putting this together…

Also, that is the best football song of all time. Closely followed by World in Motion which is closely followed by Vindaloo. NO ARGUMENTS.

I reserve the right to quietly delete this segment if England get knocked out on Wednesday.

Stenson, Stensoff

Speaking of England dominating the ENTIRE world, I was due to interview Henrik Stenson at the Scottish Open this week – but like his nation’s football team, he’s bottled it.

I jest, of course. Stenson has hurt his elbow and it is a precautionary measure. And we sincerely hope he is fit again for Carnoustie and another stab at winning The Open.

I did, however, get him on the phone for half an hour or so. And I couldn’t resist bringing up England’s World Cup win over Sweden, though he had the last skratt

Fleetwood, Fleetout

OK, that didn’t work. Also out of the Scottish Open is Tommy Fleetwood. And in true Fleetwood fashion, he called the organisers personally to apologise but he just wanted a bit more time to spend at home and ready for The Open, for which he will not only be a huge fan favourite, but among the favourites to win.

This was a bit of a surprise over the weekend. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, 18 holes, head-to-head, for 10 million big ones (not of their own money, of course).

Well, the gentleman sitting opposite me, Mark Townsend, decided to do his own little Tiger vs. Phil battle which involved basically everything but their golfing ability. It’s very funny. You should read it.

Mark and I also discussed whether or not we really care about it and would we actually watch it if it did happen. You can read those thoughts too if you like.

After a week and the US Open and two weeks on holiday, The Slam was back with a bang on Friday. Rory McIlroy said some silly things, golf’s latest Instagram star turned pro winner, and the photograph that proves golf still needs Tiger Woods. You can watch that here.

And finally…

Don’t even try and pretend you aren’t hooked to Love Island…

That’s enough from me. Have a good week. And remember, it’s coming home.

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