The PGA of America is trying something almost revolutionary for the world of professional golf this week--it is allowing players to wear shorts during their practice rounds for the PGA Championship. In a sport where old traditions die very hard, this is an almost stunning move into the 20th Century. Of course, the PGA isn't allowing shorts during competitive rounds when the vast majority of people are watching on TV--wouldn't want to get too carried away here.
While I am a traditionalist, I applaud the idea of allowing professional athletes to wear clothing that helps their performance. Yes, golf is still a gentlemen's game, but today's golf shorts are a far cry from what you see in those dreadful photos of your father or grandfather playing in "short shorts" with the high waist bands and no belts back in the 1970's and '80's. Plus, today's modern golfer tends to be more athletic and toned than his predecessors--so chafed thighs or thick leg hair are less likely.
There were a few fashion faux pas yesterday at Quail Hollow. Phil Mickelson came out in black shoes and black anklet socks for his practice round. Definitely not a good look. If you are going shorts, white shoes and white socks are a must. I'm sure that all of the equipment makers liked seeing their pros modeling their performance shorts--all of which are available on-line and at your local golf shop.
What's interesting is that while the PGA is encouraging its players to show a little more skin, the LPGA is telling its ladies to please wear more clothing. Earlier this summer the women's golf tour issued new apparel guidelines that mandate the length of shorts and skirts and required shoulders and cleavage to be covered.
As you might expect, this announcement was met with immediate backlash on social media and from talking heads on TV--accusing the men running the LPGA of sexism and misogyny. "Why are men threatened by women's bodies?" and "Women should be allowed to dress in whatever way they want without judgement by men" were the common responses. However, all of that talk went away when a number of LPGA players said that it was the women on the tour themselves that demanded the new dress code--as they were tired of seeing buns hanging out of the bottom of outfits and tops that looked like the player was going to beach and not the golf course.
I have a feeling the new dress code for the LPGA will stem the growing tide of "golfer/models" on tour and return the media spotlight to those that actually play good instead of just look good. As for the guys, the greater depth in talent should keep any Justin Bieber wannabes from turning the fairways into the fashion runways.