Kane’s Thoughts – Golf’s Most Debatable Rules

Recently Golf Digest published an article (found here) listing 10 “rules” of golf that are looked at by some as absolutely necessary while others may see them as unnecessary or just plain dumb.  I’m going to give my two cents on each of these debatable rules.

1.  No cell phones on the course, even for texting. I am slightly torn on this rule given the technology age that we are in.  For example, I use a GPS app on my phone, which I have found actually speeds my pace of play up.  I will admit that I typically text message a little bit while on the course, but I never talk on the phone.  The phone is always on silent as well.  However, I’ve had plenty of issues with other players’ phones ringing while I am trying to hit or waiting on someone in the fairway while they are yapping away not realizing that they are holding up play.  I guess what it comes down to is if a course makes the rule, “No cell phones.  No exceptions.”, then they need to hold strong with their rule and make sure no cell phones make it out on the course.  I’d have no issues leaving my cell phone in the car as long as I know the rule is being followed by everyone else on the course.

2.  No hats on backward. If you knew me, you’d know that I can be seen wearing a hat backwards quite often, but never on the golf course.  I don’t think it looks trashy or disrespectful, I just don’t even think about turning it around when on the course.  I can’t think of any reason why I’d dislike someone else doing it, but that doesn’t mean it is right.  I think some of the golf attire that people wear these days is more ridiculous and annoying than a backwards hat.

3.  No women before 10 a.m. on weekends. I have no issues with women being on the course at any time during the week or day.  Just like everyone else, as long as they are keeping up with the pace of play and are following proper etiquette, they are welcome.

4.  No collarless shirts. 99% of the time I wear a collared shirt when I play golf.  The other 1% might be some type of sweater or mock.  While I don’t have any issues with the mocks that are designed for golf, I do believe there should be a specific rule, “Collared shirts or mocks only.”.  If you don’t make it black and white, it will get stretched out and before you know it you will see sleeveless “suns out guns out” t-shirts.

5.  No denim. I will admit, at the local public course I frequently play, there are no real attire rules, and I will wear jeans on occasion.  If the course had a strict dress code, I’d abide by it and wouldn’t care at all.  Frankly I don’t like playing in jeans, as they aren’t very comfortable or practical for golf, but sometimes (because of pre or post golf plans), jeans make sense.  If I had to choose, I’d say ban all denim from the golf course.

6.  Hats off indoors. Please keep in mind that I have never been a member at a private club that had a restaurant, function room, “19th hole”, or anything like that, therefore my opinion on the next few rules are slightly skewed.  I have, however, been a guest at several clubs that have hat rules.  I have always followed whatever rules they have without question.  If there wasn’t an obvious rule, then I would typically leave my hat on (believe me, with my awful hairline, I was doing everyone a favor).  I’m sure some of the older readers will say something like, “You young kids have no respect, you should always remove your hat indoors.”.  This may be true, but wouldn’t it also be true that getting hammered and swearing loudly in the clubhouse could also be considered disrespectful (something I tend to witness at most post-golf tables in the clubhouse).  “You can swear and yell and call each other names, but you better not have a hat on while you do it! ”  My verdict:  Hats should be allowed (but respectfully removed if eating dinner).

7.  Jackets and ties in the dining room. I have no issues with this rule, just as long as the course and clubhouse are “nice enough” to justify it.  If the dining room looks like the smoking section at a Waffle House, I think ties and jackets might be a little too much.

8.  Guests can’t purchase in the pro shop; must go on members’ account. In my opinion, this is a dumb rule.  I understand that some pro shops don’t even carry cash or have the setup to handle normal sales, but they are missing out on some serious cash.  I once was a guess at a top 50 course.  Luckily they had me set up a guest account prior to the round (to pay for food/drinks at the turn and for pro shop purchases).  After the round the head pro talked me into buying a golf shirt with their logo on it.  I was happy to do so seeing that my round was fully compensated.  I basically paid MSRP ($89) for a shirt that I could have gotten for half that at several online stores, including an employee discount here at 3balls.  If I didn’t have an account set up, and not been allowed to use cash/credit, I would have most certainly passed on the shirt, and the course would have been out $90.  Sure that is small potatoes for a top 50 course, but that isn’t the point.  From what I have seen, pro shops have a difficult enough time moving their inventory as it is, so why make it harder on themselves by passing up sale, just because it is a guest?

9.  No pull carts. I have seen this rule at one course in my life.  I thought it was dumb then and I still think it is dumb.  Whatever helps keep the pace of play up, I am for it.

10.  No cargo shorts or pants. I am not a huge fan of how cargo’s look on the course, but I don’t think they should be banned.  I don’t typically wear cargo shorts on the course, but I have no issues with someone who does, especially someone who would just be considered a “recreational golfer”.  I believe there are much worse things to worry about out there, such as fixing ball marks or replacing divots.  That is a whole other issue that will most certainly be covered in the near future!


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