For decades, the dress code for golf has been as strict as the dress code for afternoon tea with the Queen. Make sure you wear a collared shirt, and always tuck it in. Baggy clothes are a fashion faux pas. Don’t show up in cargo shorts, or they’ll kick you out. (Can that last one be a rule everywhere? Asking for a friend.)
At the famed Augusta National course, home to the prestigious Masters Tournament, wearing shorts whilst playing is strictly forbidden, even in 90% humidity and 92-degree temps. Violate any of these rules and you run the risk of having a well-dressed, bossy golf attendant or club supervisor pull you aside and kindly ask you to change. As polite as he or she may be, it’s the sophisticated golfer’s subtle “bless your heart,” which might as well be prefaced by: “To quote Ty Webb, ‘you’re a tremendous slouch.’”
Like the gentleman at Letchworth Golf Club who was refused entry because he wore black socks instead of white (the nerve!), the biggest point of contention in golf etiquette really has been the golf socks debate. Colour aside, in 2019, do we still need to wear golf socks that can be seen above the sneaker? And if we do, why so strict about the style and color? Do the type of golf socks we wear really affect our golf game? Golf socks manufacturers might argue that they do, but then again, a good marketing ploy goes well hidden in this day and age.
Back in the late 1700s, when golf originated in Scotland, socks were considered good golf etiquette for good reason. Scotland is affected by the elements, so socks—or then, stockings—kept your feet warm in freezing winters, and drier and less smelly in sweaty summers. Finally, there’s always the practical reason. When you’re on your feet for six or seven hours, golf socks are the first line of defense against a golfer’s Achilles heel: blisters. (Unless you’re wearing any of our men’s golf shoes, which are all made of calf leather and never have that issue.)
Fast-forward to 2019, and times are changing. And for some, that means the rules should change, too. Like all avenues of fashion, from Kanye’s “Yeezy” line at NYFW to the Allbirds "loungers" made with merino sheep wool, we’re seeing street-style infiltrate the golf dress code. Our stylish brand ambassador, South African championship golfer Eric van Rooyen, even braved the ridicule at the 2019 British Open and ditched the appearance of socks altogether. By pairing it with his ankle-showing Greyson joggers, also foreign to the golf scene, is he our golf generation’s Harry Styles? Or, like Kanye, will he be a martyr for his fashion? We guess only time, and maybe a few more championships, will tell.