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golf dress codes

‘There are some things golf must be better at – rules need to be relaxed’

Open champion Paul Lawrie is not sitting on the fence when it comes to dress codes and slow play on tour
 

Clubs need to relax rules on golf dress codes if they are going to keep juniors interested in the game, reckons Paul Lawrie.

The Open champion at Carnoustie in 1999 said there were “certain things that golf needs to get better at” in a webinar hosted by Scottish Golf.

Lawrie, who runs the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre in Aberdeen, was asked about ways clubs could modernise their approach to the game.

He said: “The biggest thing we get from the kids who play in the foundation – sometimes we see them and then we don’t see them for a long time.

“We always ask them questions about why we haven’t seen them and it’s, ‘Well I don’t want to get dressed up to play golf. I don’t want to change my clothes to play golf.’

“I think lot of clubs have done that and a lot of clubs have done a better dress code and made them aware that we just want kids to play golf – we want to grow the game. If they are saying they want to play in their sweatpants then why can’t they play in their sweatpants?

“But there’s a lot of clubs out there that still don’t do that – mobile phones in the clubhouse. You know, people are busy, people are on the go.

“There’s just certain things that golf needs to get better at. They certainly need to relax a lot of rules as far as dress code and clubhouses and older members having a real go at the juniors, trying to encourage them.”

He added: “I know it’s difficult but we are trying to get kids into the game and shouting at them and telling them not to do this and not to do that is not going to make me, if I was a kid, want to come back. I think we all need to get little better at that.”

Lawrie, who was a guest along with Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew, also targeted slow play on tour and said Ready Golf should be implemented in the professional game.

Asked which of the Rules of Golf he would change, he said: “I’ve a big thing with slow play – I can’t stand it. There should be Ready Golf.

“I shouldn’t suffer when I play with someone who’s really slow. If I am ready to go, and he’s still flapping about at his ball, I should be able to hit my shot.

“I think that would change their pace of play too. If you’re ready to go, you should be allowed to go. If I am ready to go and he’s taking three or four minutes to hit a shot, which a lot of them on the tour nowadays do, that’s affecting me. That’s not just affecting him.

“I should be allowed to hit my shot. I could actually hit my shot, walk to the green and mark my ball before some of them are even hitting their shot. I think Ready Golf would be brilliant.”

Watch the entire Scottish Golf webinar here:

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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