The LPGA Set to Enforce a Strict Dress Code For Women Golfers

LPGA Eliminates Short Skirts, Racerback Tops and Leggings

The professional golf world has become increasingly progressive when it comes to allowing their players to make fashion statements in an effort to modernize the sport and appeal to millennials and juniors. Rickie Fowler regularly sports the joggers with high tops; Nike started making polos without collars; and the European Tour allows its golfers to wear shorts during practice rounds.Dress Code

The LPGA is taking a turn back to its traditional roots by issuing a stricter dress code that sets its athletes — and women as a whole — way back.

Women seem to be continually defending their clothing choices right now. We’ve seen instances from the United Airlines prohibiting women from wearing leggings to reporters at the House of Congress being denied access inside for wearing a sleeveless dress. Now, the LPGA makes their mark.

On July 2, LPGA President Vicki Goetze-Ackerman sent an email to female golfers on tour, telling them that starting July 17, there’d be some new rules on dress code. A lot of rules.

Here are the new changes:

  • 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 colors) NOT allowed inside the ropes
  • Joggers are NOT allowed

Which leaves you wondering, what is allowed?

What’s even worse is that these golfers are relying on their sponsors to choose their outfits. If the dress code is violated, it’s the athletes who will be penalized — big time. First offenders have to pay $1,000. And every time they break it after that, they have to pay double the amount.

Explaining the new code, Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA tour’s communications and tour operations officer, told Golf Digest: “The dress code requires players to present themselves in a professional manner to reflect a positive image for the game.”

LPGA player Sandra Gal disagrees with most of the edict:

“I think racerbacks look great on women and I think short skirts have been around forever, especially in tennis, and I don’t think it’s hurt that sport at all, considering they play for the same prize money as the men. Our main objective is clear: play good golf. But part of being a woman, and especially a female-athlete, is looking attractive and sporty and fit, and that’s what women’s tennis does so well. Why shouldn’t we?” —LPGA pro Sandra Gal

However, some LPGA Tour players don’t see a problem with these new rule changes. Pro Christina Kim gave some detail on who those specific golfers may be that could benefit from a stricter dress code.

“I may sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but this is our place of business and I think players should look professional. Do you really need ventilation for your side-boob? It’s not going to make your score better.” —LPGA pro Christina Kim

In an era when Instagram “golf babes,” like Paige Spirnac (who has been criticized for wearing revealing clothes on the course) attracts more attention than many professional golfers do, perhaps the LPGA Tour is trying to set a different standard in an effort to command respect from the professional golf world.

Even so, why take away a golfer’s freedom to feel like an athlete in joggers? Or leggings? Or racerback tops?

Michelle Wie had been wearing collarless, sleeveless racerback tops almost exclusively all year, and why is there anything wrong with that?

What has made this a particularly sensitive issue though, is that women are often 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, this new dress code change only helps the critics who believe golf is hopelessly out of touch with the times.

Is this a step in the right direction or is the LPGA going over the line in determining what LPGA players can or cannot wear?