Following a fantastic win on American soil for the European women in the Solheim Cup, we can now also get excited about the delayed Ryder Cup starting today. Meanwhile, amateur golfers were quick to get back to their favourite courses as soon, as social distancing restrictions, were lifted to enjoy some fresh air and a sense of normality.
It made us think about what people wear on the golf course and in the clubhouse. Plus-fours (knickerbockers) and tweed jackets were all the rage back in the 18th century, although golf fans will remember that the late Payne Stewart had a penchant for plus-fours in the 1990s. Slacks took over in the 1930s as more casual attire became more acceptable. Tailored shorts are now common in the summer months and are usually worn with a collared shirt.
Simply put, there are glorious, traditional standards to uphold. While they are not written into the Royal & Ancient handbook, there are dress code rules that are recognised by most clubs. No shirts untucked, no short shorts, no ankle socks and no denim are common no-nos.
As golf attire usually transfers straight from the 18th green to the clubhouse, it got us thinking about what you wear on your feet once you have removed your golf shoes. I think the same sense of decorum needs to be applied. My father was a fan of a post-round loafer…after all, the quicker he got his shoes on, the quicker he could order a rewarding pint of bitter!
There is sense in his thinking and loafers or moccasins are perfect for slipping on after four hours out on the course. They are smart and work well with long shorts or chinos. You can whip your socks (short or long) off too to allow your feet to breathe a little. Regular readers of our blog will know we have plenty of loafers to choose from, but for this purpose, I am suggesting the clean and lightweight Enzo or the Maranello moccasins.
Now into September, we must admit that autumn is around the corner and loafers may not be the ideal choice as the weather gets colder. The brogue though fits the bill perfectly. They ooze country style and a robustness that was needed back in Scotland where the game was invented in the 15th century. To give a nod to the tweed, you could go for our Exmoor style or go for a classic, more elegant Munster.
Somehow though, I cannot see the likes of Rory McIlory, Tommy Fleetwood or Ricky Fowler rocking up in brogues, but then who is going to turn them away from the bar for not sporting the right footwear? Even the top players will need formal ‘street’ shoes. The slightly cringey opening ceremony of the Ryder Cup usually sees the players in suits or jackets and slacks, so check out what they are wearing on their feet. A monk shoe, like the Monkwell or Jacob, would look super smart while Golding derby would also look the part.
Not all clubs are so strict though and some accept a more casual dress code. Not sure they are ready for high-top sneakers just yet – my dad would never approve – but along with aforementioned loafers, you may get away with brown/dark green leather trainers, like the Ensign or the Silverstone II which has brogue detailing. But please do check!
In summary, it seems churlish to make the effort on the course and not continue the sense of formality into the clubhouse. These shoes will be more than adequate for eating out and many work situations. With these transferable attributes, you can be both the king of the clubhouse and boardroom.