LPGA Tour’s dress code amended to get ‘players to present themselves in a professional manner’
THERE was a time before Tiger Woods came to dominate world sport unlike anyone else when it was mandatory to wear a collar before trudging out onto the course.
Such was his influence that after he went out with a mock shirt it became an accepted practice, and so did a whole lot of other clothing changes in the game.
Well on Monday the custodians of the women’s game, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour, acted to help bring some measure of dress traditions and introduced a strict dress code for its own players that became effective last Monday - even if it was greeted with mixed reactions.
The LPGA Tour, the leading women’s circuit in golf, laid down several pointers that it said should be followed by the players or else they faced censure. It added, that “penalties for violating the dress code will be US$1,000 and it will double with each offense”.
In short, the policy dictates that:
• Racerback with a mock or regular collar are allowed (no collar, no racerback).
• Plunging necklines are not allowed.
• Leggings, unless under a skort or shorts, are not allowed.
• Length of skirt, skort and shorts must be long enough to not see your bottom area (even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over.
• Appropriate attire should be worn to pro-am parties. You should be dressing yourself to present a professional image. Unless otherwise told “no,” golf clothes are acceptable. Dressy jeans are allowed, but cut-offs or jeans with holes are not allowed.
• Workout gear and jeans (all colours) not allowed inside the ropes.
• Joggers are not allowed.
In reacting to the new development, Malaysian Ladies Golf Association (Malga) executive director Datuk Rabe’atul A. Abbas agreed with it and said some of the players took things too far (so far as dress was concerned) and that the Tour had got it spot-on.
“I agree with the changes,” said Malga director. “We want to focus on it as a sport and not as a sexist thing.
“Of course, in women’s sport there is a lot of fashion and styles that go into it. That is part of the attraction and has been for a while now, and it also appeals to the young and up-and-coming golfers because it’s not so boring
“But I do agree that some of the players do go overboard and that is not a healthy situation and there has to be a limit on these sort of things.”
However, Ashley Mayo, writing in The Guardian (UK), took a different stand and questioned the direction in which the LPGA was heading in the matter.
“Why take away a golfer’s freedom to feel like an athlete in joggers? Or leggings? Or racerback tops? These pieces of clothing can look highly polished when worn correctly, so why not encourage a more professional look instead of banning such pieces altogether?”
The paper added that when approached for comment on it, the LPGA’s chief communications and Tour operations officer, Heather Daly-Donofrio said in a statement: “The dress code requires players to present themselves in a professional manner to reflect a positive image for the game.
“While we typically evaluate our policies at the end of the year, based on input from our players, we recently made some minor adjustments to the policy to address some changing fashion trends. The specifics of the policy have been shared directly with the members.”
With the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia scheduled for Oct 26-29, it shouldn’t be too long before we get a first-hand account of what the new policy will actually mean to the field.
It might also be worth noting that the LPGA waited to implement the new policy the day after the last round of the US Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, a venue owned by US president Donald Trump.
It was here that 23-year-old South Korean Sung Hyun Park won in some style. She carved out a two-stroke victory over compatriot and 17-year-old amateur Hye-Jin Choi with an 11-under-par 277 total.
Delighted with her victory, and a Major at that, Park said: “I did not have the best first and second rounds but I wanted to believe in myself again for the final two rounds and I did.”
She carded 73 and 70 over the first two days and then posted back-to-back 67s over the weekend to triumph.