Does it really matter if you wear a cap in the clubhouse?

Steve Carroll: So it was about 80 degrees at the weekend and, being of the skin type that is set on fire by the briefest rays of sun, I had doused myself in factor 50 and donned a cap to protect my vulnerable bonce.

In a moment of absent mindedness, I walked into the clubhouse of this course with headgear still firmly attached. I wasn’t aiming to be disrespectful, I’d simply forgotten, in the crazy heat, that it was still there.

steves hat

I soon caught the eye of the club captain who, seeing the cap, pointed at me, pointed at my head, and then made a signal suggesting I should sling my hook if I didn’t take immediate steps to remedy the situation.

I’m a member of a club where dress rules don’t apply off the course. You can wear what you like and, in fact, are encouraged to do so.

We seem to do okay, and I can’t see four horsemen riding in the distance, so it got me to thinking: Does it really matter if you wear a cap in the clubhouse?

Should golf clubs get into the 21st century and attract a new generation by relaxing their rules or are these standards pivotal to what makes our game so great?

Dan Murphy: Imagine walking into your David Lloyd gym and being treated like that. In fact, I am struggling to think of any other social situation that would lead to an adult having a similar experience.

Funny thing is, in my experience it is often the clubs struggling the most that are most militant. A coincidence?

Christian Maiden: If you had been sitting at the dinner table, tucking into the third course at the annual gala dinner in your penguin suit, I could fully understand being lynched across the table for wearing a cap.

However for just walking into the clubhouse or the 19th hole, getting looked and spoken to as if you had just taken a jimmy riddle on the past captain’s plus fours just about sums up golf clubs to me. It’s all about old men having a little power trip and trying to show someone up!

Caps are needed on the golf course for a number of obvious factors, golf courses are obviously part of a golf club so who really cares if you wear a cap into the clubhouse from coming off the course or not?

Many golf clubs really need to get to grips with modern times and be more focused on encouraging people to join, not playing mini-Hitlers.

If it’s such a massive issue, have a quiet word on the side rather than belittling someone?

Steve Carroll: That was the big thing that bothered me. I had no issue, actually, with removing the cap. It was the way the situation was dealt with that had me bristling.

Jordan Elliott: Let’s not forgot that this rule is not just simply followed in golf clubs – but all over the world. I thought it was just general practice/manners to always take your hat off when you go indoors regardless of whether it was in a golf club or a nightclub.

Out of all of the silly rules in golf (of which there are many) I think that this one can be accepted as ‘not silly’.

SC: You’re a very well mannered young man, Jordan.

Jamie Millar: To be treated as if you have committed some abhorrent crime against humanity for accidentally leaving your hat on really sums up golf’s problems and its lack of appeal to the younger generation.

Let’s not tarnish everyone with the same brush, however, as there are a lot of clubs who don’t enforce this archaic way of thinking and should be praised for it. It does seem, unfortunately though, that a few are ruining it for the many and making it very difficult to shake off the current stigma golf has.

SC: Is there an argument, though, that in a private members’ club people should be able to set whatever rules, regulations and standards that they want? If we don’t want to abide by them, we could just play elsewhere?

JM: There is that argument, just look at Muirfield for example. Maybe I’m wrong but a lot of golf clubs nowadays can’t just rely on memberships but also green fees as well.

Would you play there again and pay the green fee after being treated like you were? I highly doubt it. Just seems like certain clubs are shooting themselves in the foot to keep traditions that are not really fit for modern society.

JE: I don’t think I would ever feel comfortable wearing a hat indoors. It just seems wrong. Why would you need to wear a hat inside anyway?

DM: Maybe if you were fencing?

Craig Middleton: The main thing for me is the way in which this particular person gestured instead of politely asking Steve to remove his hat. If that happened to me I wouldn’t be going back.

However, I still don’t see the big issue with wearing a hat inside a clubhouse, Like Christian said, caps are worn on the course, which is part of the club, so why is it suddenly frowned upon to wear one in the clubhouse?

JE: Completely agree with the way Steve was asked, however I refer to my previous point.

Is there not some unwritten rule somewhere that says whenever you go indoors you take your hat off?

Craig Middleton: You agree that the gentleman in question should have gestured like he did instead of politely asking to remove the hat?

JE: No, that was wrong.

Tom Lenton: Golf clubs have their rules. If you’re a guest there you should respect them. Granted the poking was not acceptable and Steve should have been asked politely.

Georgina Simpson: I actually think there’s nothing worse than being sat across from a girl at a tournament having lunch with her baseball cap on, but I’m old school! I disagree with how the oldies at clubs up and down the country police that but I like a bit of chivalry and a certain standard when you are inside socialising.

Tom Irwin: I saw someone wearing a baseball hat indoors the other day and I was physically sick. It is making my skin tingle a bit just thinking about it.

I can’t think of anything more offensive. Maybe a denim hat. Actually I don’t want to think about it, it is too much.

Craig Middleton: How is wearing a hat offensive, though?


This is an argument that’s sure to rage in our office for quite a while. What do you think? Is a cap in the clubhouse a step too far? Have your say and agree or put us firmly in our place.