Told what she can or cannot wear, the modern western woman is as likely to ask, “You and whose army?” as to reach for her cell phone to lawyer up to make the point crystal clear in a court of law.
In 2017, the LPGA (Lady Players Golf Association) got into hot water when it introduced a stringent new dress code. It is pertinent to note that, in early 2022, the dress code was seemingly relaxed, although the attitudes that gave rise to it remain to this day.
So in all the new rules, are female golfer required to wear skirts?
Neither the LGPA nor many standing committees require female golfers to wear skirts. Rather, golfing events and venues have increasingly relied on etiquette. There are some clubs and courses that enforce a pants-for-men and skirts-for-women rule.
Propriety is as powerful a means of enforcing conformity as any. But as with most things, the actual answer is, “it depends”. So let’s figure this out in the rest of this article.
Playing golf in a skirt
The more exclusive and hoity-toity the club, the less tolerant the dress code. For example, clubs like San Francisco, Cypress Point, and Augusta require all female players choosing to wear skirts to ensure that the length of the skirt reaches below the knees.
These clubs will not make an exception for anyone, so forewarned is forearmed.
The main takeaway from the preceding paragraph is that it is up to the female player whether she chooses to wear a skirt or not, even at those select clubs, so again, there is no hint that female players cannot tee up unless decorously set in a demure skirt.
However, anyone–male or female–showing up in jeans will receive short shrift and instant exclusion. Jeans are a massive no-no on the links.
The LPGA used to state that skirts and skorts must be low enough to never reveal the player’s behind, whether she is standing or bending over.
As I mentioned above, the removal of this requirement appears to have been replaced by enforcement of etiquette.
I’m guessing, but I believe that strong words passed to the club members or offending players could easily result in a quiet but firm ban for “unbecoming behavior” or some other nebulous and hard-to-fight complaint.
Ultimately, the aggravation is just not worth it for most women.
The rules concerning leggings are another mishmash of extemporized and irregular rules. For example, women may wear leggings with skorts, shorts, or full- or half-pants, but not with skirts.
Now maybe there’s a good reason for this, but I can’t work it out if there is.
What women professional golfers wear
Just as not all the fingers of the hand are of the same length, not every golfer is treated the same either. Clubs will allow famous or low-handicap players onto the links wearing outfits that you, with your dreadful slice and atrocious game on the greens, get shown the door for. Unfortunately, that’s life.
The first thing to remember is that when a professional golf player steps onto a golf course, she goes to her job.
As part and parcel of the actual game of golf, she may try to attract sponsorship, and one way to do that is to look smoking hot. Irrespective of looks, if she isn’t winning tournaments or at least placing in the top rank, no one will find her commercially interesting.
Hence, the savvy pro female golfer wears attire that must at the same time not impede her game while looking as eye-catching (within the bounds of decorum) as possible.
- Skorts and shorts are great. They can be a tad on the short side while guaranteeing that there won’t be any embarrassing photos snapped by eagle-eyed paparazzi.
- Skirts are fabulous. It has been pointed out that Asian (for instance, Korean) pro golfers seem to favor extremely short skirts, especially when playing in the Far East. It turns out that exposing underwear is not, culturally, a big palaver. Instead, if you take note, you see that they are very conservative regarding their upper body. Skirts probably reign supreme as the bottom attire for female pro golfers.
- Pants show up sometimes. Far less frequently than other bottoms, only a few female pro golfers favor pants, nor is it a generational thing. It seems to be a preference, perhaps relating to early playing days and family or cultural background. However, in inclement weather, all players suddenly discover that pants are in vogue.
- A polo shirt. Pretty much the absolute uniform for the top half of the body. There is a standing rule that tops ought not to have a “plunging neckline”, which has put many ladies’ necks out of joint, with some challenging the idea and asking what actually defines a “plunging neckline” anyway. The current state of play is that the requirement still exists, but there is undoubtedly blowback which may or may not mean that, eventually, this stricture will be loosened.
- Golf shoes with non-metallic spikes. If a pro is going after the big shot to win the big prize and, at precisely the wrong moment, she loses her footing and flubs the shot; it isn’t going to mean much to her that the shoes were beautiful. She’ll be as mad as a bee in a bonnet, and with good cause too, so the most important consideration for pro women golfers is that shoes must have a dependable grip and be comfortable. Looks come a (very) distant third.
- Dresses are a no-no. The golf pro is going to work, remember? A summer dress is not business-appropriate for a professional golfer.
Female golfing dress code
The LPGA dress code in 2022 is a pale shadow of its former self, but there are still strong societal expectations that it might be best not to traduce.
By closely observing what the professional female golfers wear, women will quickly understand what is acceptable and what is in fashion. It’s simply a matter of keeping your eyes peeled and your wits about you.
Female golfers are not required to wear skirts even though there are many golf courses that “say it, without saying it”.
Golf is a very structured sport. We are talking about a sport where a viewer can call in to the PGA and say that a golfer broke a rule.
Instead of the ‘rules’ that have been imposed, the spirit of these rules should be kept in mind, which is modesty to protect the integrity of the game.