The organization has been accused of slut-shaming over its new rules. More than anything they will be difficult to police and reinforce a stuffy image
When I was 15, I was sent home from a golf course because my shorts were too, well, short. I was confused because I had looked long and hard for a pair that fell within the courses stringent specifications, and I went as far as to make sure that I had an extra inch to spare.
Despite following the guidelines, I was told that I could not come back. It was embarrassing, and as someone who felt insecure about my body like many girls do in their teens I wondered if something was wrong with how the shorts looked on me. Despite this, I did not buy a new pair and continued to go to the course with the shorts that met the stipulations.
I was reminded of the incident when the LPGA recently released a new dress code for its players. A couple of the new rules stood out for me:
— 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.
— Racerback with a mock or regular collar are allowed (no collar = no racerback).
— Plunging necklines are NOT allowed.
— **It should be noted players will receive a $1,000 fine for not following new rules**
During my playing days on the LPGA and Symetra tour, golf fashion had an awakening. Many of the women my age did not like the golf skorts sold at most stores because they were too long, which meant we had to get them altered. So golfers began wearing tennis skorts which are shorter than their golf counterparts on the course.
I loved tennis skorts. I didnt have to dip into my bank account to alter the clothing, and they fit me better than typical golf shorts. You see, I have strong legs and a behind that make clothes look different on me than someone who is tall and slender. However, regardless of tennis skorts fitting me more comfortably, the material would always ride up, and no matter if it was a golf or tennis skort, I always had to pull the spandex shorts down. So when I read that the bottom area (I think we can all agree that some of the LPGAs new rules read like they were written for a middle schooler) must be covered, I immediately flashed back to the many times I could have been fined on tour for perhaps exposing my butt on accident while placing a tee or picking up a ball.
I personally dont believe the dress code is outrageous. But I do wonder how the LPGA plans on policing their new policy. What is a plunging neckline anyway? To be blunt, different women have different sized breasts. What looks revealing on one player may look less so on another. Will there be an official handy with a tape measure to quantify the exact degree of plunge? What is the scientific definition of the bottom area? Do they have a expert for that? You can see how the whole thing quickly descends into absurdity.
Many say the new rules are body-shaming (some have gone as far to call it slut shaming). But my guess is that some of the more shall we say exclusive? golf courses complained to the LPGA that certain players did not meet their course dress guidelines at tournaments. And its possible that sponsors also complained. If this is what happened, then the LPGA had to find a way to address the issue to make sure not to rock the boat. Others would argue if thats the case they should have pushed back.
What has made this a particularly sensitive issue though, is that is often women who are targeted for wearing something too tight, too short or revealing. And because golf is already a sport under scrutiny for its conservative and old-fashion nature, the story only helps the critics who believe golf is hopelessly out of touch. Certainly, the LPGA could have worded their rules better. If theyd dispensed with the block capital MUSTs and NOTs it would have read less like they were scolding adult women like they were children
Im certainly glad I dont play anymore. I never made enough cuts to afford all the fines that I would have been subjected to.