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How do you feel about the modern, casual approach to golf?


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I'm almost 52 so during my golfing life I've noticed the evolution from stuffy etiquette-obsessed golf toward a more casual attitude from a lot of people. These days we see more street-inspired golf clothes, untucked shirts, on-course music, ready golf on every tee and basically a less uptight approach to behavior during a round. A lot of the old traditions seem to be fading fast. 

 

The horse is pretty much out of the barn on this so I'm not sure it makes any sense to resist it. We older guys are relying on the next generations to join clubs and support courses, otherwise there won't be any clubs and courses left as our generations age out of competitive play. 

Personally I embrace these relaxations of the stuffier side of things. Some of the most fun I've ever had on the course has been during casual rounds with good company. I'm lucky to live fairly close to Sweeten's Cove where having fun on the course is embraced and celebrated. That seems to be the way forward. No sense in looking back. 

 

Obviously most of us draw the line at disruptive behavior, damaging the course, or holding up play. I don't see much of that kind of behavior and I wouldn't be happy if I did. But it seems like the most important points of etiquette are still intact and people are choosing to have fun within their group and mostly leaving other groups be (so far at least). 

 

What's your point of view? 

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I don't think it's just golf. I remember the days when people looked presentable when flying and going to restaurants. Flip flops, tank tops, half a bottle of cheap smelly crap and entitled attitudes

I know some folks on GolfWRX can be very traditional, so I usually wear a jacket and tie when I post a comment so as not to offend them.   I wearing it now.

The only thing that really annoys me is the damn music.    I spent 20+ years of my life playing live shows in everything from metal to country to jazz bands - and I have the look to go with

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I find public courses have largely gone down the road of 'relaxed' etiquette a long long time ago. Much of it I did not like - the chief being pace of play. This drove me to the private club golf world. Here etiquette is largely upheld, but each club has it's own flavour. Some  are holding the line and doing very well, some going relaxed and doing well. Seems like a good mix to me.

Edited by 2bGood
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On 9/30/2020 at 11:13 AM, 2bGood said:

I find public courses have largely gone do the road of 'relaxed' etiquette a long time ago. Much of it I did not like - the chief being pace of play. This drove me to the private club golf world. Here etiquette is largely upheld, but each club has it's own flavour. Some  are holding the line and doing very well, some going relaxed and doing well. Seems like a good mix to me.

I was going to say the same thing - hearing some of the stories that my dad and uncles tell from the Caddyshack era on munis and public courses make "back in the day" seem like the Wild West compared to the current state of affairs.

 

edit:
If I may be so bold as to elaborate:

-they were in a novelty league where the collective weight of the foursome had to be over 1,000lbs.  This meant that there were very rotund golfers (this is the 80's, so 250 was a pretty hefty fella) drinking heavily, acting obnoxious with golf carts, and messing with other foursomes' lies and shots

-Weekly fistfights

-Bikini babes and wet t-shirt contests in the sand traps

-Shirtless golfers (this was a different league).  Nay, golfers that would start their rounds with shirts, and either gamble or drink so much that they'd lose their shirts.

-Pranks involving pouring tons of dish soap into water hazards and fountains (this was yet another league)

-So, so many putters bent over knees; so, so many irons and drivers wrapped around trees; so, so many clubs bashed into golf carts

 

Getting into golf, like I did in the Tiger Woods era, the amount of debauchery in "the good ol' days" seemed wild by comparison.  Sure, we wore t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers onto the golf course, but even at the (cheap, crappy muni) course with the shirtless golfers, absolutely no shenanigans were tolerated in our leagues or on the course.

 

Edited by HappyGilmoresBoots
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. I’m 61 been playing for over 45 years now, not like that’s even important, but I prefer now to a point over the Bush Wood approach to golf that was predominant at even public golf courses when I started. The pro who ran a private golf course that was open to the public growing up was a $&@@ sucker. He hated kids who weren’t a certain pedigree, and tried to turn us away for their $5.00 all the golf you could play after 5:00. Changing the rules about who could play . Don’t have golf spikes , can’t play in tennis shoes , etc. This is why golf may be dying a slow death. That attitude turned the future away. It’s only within the last 20 years where a change of attitude to the youth has happened for the good. But I wonder still if it isn’t about money than the right thing to do? Off the soapbox now, continue .

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I'm getting older and can feel it in the way I view the world.

Having grown up on public courses, the "worst of the worst" behavior was always there, but it was the minority of players, for sure.

 

I only get in trouble with people when discussing these matters when I suggest not doing anything that would negatively effect others' experience, potentially. Like the music on the course? Fine. But if you roll up to the teebox with it audible, and I'm in my backswing? Don't like it, suddenly. And those situations are hard to manage and try to figure out what is "reasonable" for everyone. So I just err to not doing such things. I like being outdoors and the sounds of the course. Not your music. 

 

USED to be, if there was ANY question about it, you didn't do it.

 

THAT was the etiquette I grew up with. And it wasn't about ME and what I wanted the experience to be like. It was about EVERYONE. Interesting amidst the buzzword of "community" in society now that we can't even agree on simple behaviors on a golf course. And we are people of supposed "like minds" in the golf community.

 

Pace of play and guarding against "offending" people and losing revenues was always the thing in speeding it up in the past. Covid surge in financials for courses now, but I doubt they did much to move things along as far as pace of play?

 

I don't care about any aesthetic, as much as respect for others.

Edited by blueonblack
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Some things like men only areas and attire needed to become modernised.

Other things like music and beer should never have become a thing. If folks need things like this to enjoy playing golf, why play at all?

 

I don't think i've played anywhere under a £150 green fee for several years now it seems the only way to get a nice experience is to go where the masses are priced out. It took me a while to square away with that, but im enjoying the game more than ever.

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One admittedly weird personal thing for me playing with others, and I find I'm definitely in the minority on this when mentioning it: fabric softener smells on the polyester golf clothing.

 

It's really strong to me. To the point it burns my lungs. I'm not sure how people can wear it on their bodies and absorb it all day through their skin? Being out there for 4 hours having to smell it is brutal.

Light up a cigar...anything but that stuff.... this is all part of the melting pot that is the modern game now. I'm not all that old and wanting the past back in so many ways.

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Just now, blueonblack said:

One admittedly weird personal thing for me playing with others, and I find I'm definitely in the minority on this when mentioning it: fabric softener smells on the polyester golf clothing.

 

It's really strong to me. To the point it burns my lungs. I'm not sure how people can wear it on their bodies and absorb it all day through their skin? Being out there for 4 hours having to smell it is brutal.

Light up a cigar...anything but that stuff.... this is all part of the melting pot that is the modern game now. I'm not all that old and wanting the past back in so many ways.

 

That is hilariously specific, but I swear to God I lived through the exact same thing over the weekend and you're right, it is not a great scent. Thankfully we only played 9!

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I think I was 12. I had on a nice matching t shirt and shorts. Dad took me to the private where he had a corporate at like 3PM on a Sunday for a father son round. My first time there.

 

Richard in the pro shop makes him buy me a whole new outfit so I could play that day. WTF?? These are some of MY experiences growing up. Not all were good. Dad shoulda known better on the threads, for sure, but still.... it was really cruel.

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Yes, you fix my ball marks and one other. That's the new normal.

 

I don't mind people untucking their shirt. After five months of 110-115F weather, I'll admit to doing it a few times. You know, the pandemic paunch thing has made me more understanding.

 

I've reached the stage where I prefer to fix ball marks instead of having others fix them the wrong way and kill the roots to leave an ugly brown stain. What the heck is wrong with people that they can't even fix a ball mark the right way? I play sometimes with a guy who was an Evan's scholar (that's a scholarship for caddies since no one knows what that is either) and he doesn't know how to fix a ball mark. Sigh . . .

 

Pardon me. I didn't sleep well last night. 😠

Edited by Soloman1
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I hate playing golf. Want to play tomorrow?

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2 hours ago, Emthree said:

Some things like men only areas and attire needed to become modernised.

Other things like music and beer should never have become a thing. If folks need things like this to enjoy playing golf, why play at all?

 

I don't think i've played anywhere under a £150 green fee for several years now it seems the only way to get a nice experience is to go where the masses are priced out. It took me a while to square away with that, but im enjoying the game more than ever.

 

During covid we had to create some new outdoor spaces that were all mixed. It didn't take long for the woman to ask if there could be a separate women's area. So now we have a mixed area and women's only area. It seems to work fine.

 

To be honest I like having a womens only area and mens area only and mixed area at clubs. There is different vive in each area so it gives you some options.

Edited by 2bGood
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There have been many improvements. When I joined as a 10 year old, way back in the 1970's I had to wear a jacket, shirt and tie. Our club has been progressive but is at the limit of what the majority of members will tolerate. The social mix, and demographic has changed. A lot of younger and a lot of older and not much in the middle. It is hard to keep a balance that keeps the standards of a members club but remains accessible for the latest intakes. When I was a junior the majority of members were professional types. Now there are a new breed of affluent blue collar workers who are more affluent than many of the old guard. They want quality food, a great course and a comfortable surroundings but a loss less rules. Our committee chair is in the stone age and is constantly trying to make things more restricted and harking back to "the good old days". Rather worrying when she is a woman and when she joined ladies weren't allowed to play on weekends and couldn't vote. 

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I'll preface this by stating that I only play on public courses. Some very nice public courses as well as average munis, but definitely no private clubs.

 

I'm 100% for the relaxation trend. As long as you treat me well and don't overtly disrupt my round, I'm fine with it.

 

Clothes? Wear whatever you want. I'm serious. If you're comfortable wearing it to Home Depot, I'm good with it, too. That said, I don't really see this as a problem on any public course I play. The most out-of-the norm thing I'll see even at our most casual muni is cutoff jeans and t-shirt with something funny on it. Still fine by me. I don't think we'll have a huge trend of players coming out in truly crazy garb.

 

Music? I've got no problem with it. I guess I'd be in the minority here, but it simply doesn't bother me at all and often times, I like it. I very rarely bring my own music out there though. But honestly, I only encounter this once in a while. Not super common on the courses I play.

 

Pace of play. Ah - the lighting rod. As I said, I play on public courses. If I get done in 4:30 or less, I'm fine with it. Sure, I'd love if every round was under 3:30, but, that's not realistic, and there's zero I can do to change that.

 

Don't blow smoke or share your beer burps in my face. But that's not unique to golf. I'd be pretty unhappy if you did that anywhere.

 

I've got no interest in participating in the traditions of country-club atmosphere. Golf for me is only about the course, the game, and having a good time with my playing partners.

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I started playing in the 60s and I don't see much difference in the courses that I play from then to now other then the music thing.  I played with my shirt off quite often in the 80s to try to avoid the dreaded golfer's tan LOL.  I have played public courses all my life and have occasionally played high end or private courses but even at those courses things seemed pretty normal and relaxed once play started.

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I think the more relaxed approach to golf is absolutely a step in the right direction, and would welcome things going even further in that direction, as long as everyone is still respectful of each other, and the course. Not only is it by far the best way to continue to grow the game, it makes for a more welcoming and enjoyable experience. 

 

Something that always stood out to me was that in my area at most courses I'm not allowed to have a non playing person with me. I'd love to go out a few more times a week with my girlfriend who would gladly walk the course alongside me, but courses won't allow it unless she has a full set of clubs and is playing. Instead of getting out, giving them my business, and potentially introducing new people to the game, here I am sitting at home watching the Real Housewives. 

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I am 65, but have only been playing for 15 years so I don't have a lot of experience to draw from. I am not keen on music, blue jeans and tee shirts, but more importantly I would simply like to see people exhibit proper etiquette, whether it be replacing a divot and fixing a pitch mark, to being aware that there are groups behind you and to pick up the pace if you need to. I have seen groups that simply don't care if they hold other folks up and go about their business at a snail's pace. 

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I learned to play on muni’s during the 80’s, where it was common to see people play without a shirt. Things seemed to tighten up a bit during the late 90’s at the public courses as they started investing money back into them during the Tiger boom.  Private clubs on the other hand seem to have loosened up a bit overall. 
 

I play a mix of public and private, my view is “when in Rome” I enjoy a good stuffy club every now and then but prefer a more relaxed atmosphere day in day out. I feel a men’s grill is fine, just give the ladies their area as well.  
 

More clubs are relaxed now, some don’t require tucked shirts.  It doesn’t offend me, I’m more concerned about hanging out with people who are good people, it’s the arrogant jerk attitude that will make me not want to be apart of it.  I’ve seen this happen Judge Smails sort of attitude a few times recently, but nit near as much as in the past. 
 

if I had my choice I’d be a member at a more laid back private club with more relaxed restrictions. 

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I have played the full spectrum of courses and found that the only vile thing in common is slow pace of play.  I love a cold beer when riding, but also like walking early or late solo rounds.  I have fun taking my wife to ride along so we can work on our covid19 project for youtube pertaining to a more relatable version of golf.  I have had my 3 year old and 8 year old out for 9 holes, so it is great that certain courses are family oriented.  I am a military brat, so deep in my wiring is a level of comfort with rules, dress codes, and etiquette.  I like the quiet of golf, so I would rather not hear music if I am playing with something on the line. I tend to wear jeans only when changing my oil or doing yardwork, so they wouldn't work for me.  I hope topgolf and driveshack brings the casual golfers in and they transition to the course. 

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I personally enjoy the etiquette and standards my club enforces and I hope it continues. 
 

For me it’s the one a very few places where there is somewhat of a formal atmosphere. One of the few places I can dress up. I’m 31, not an old stiff by any means. Even when I take my daughter to the course who is only 5 I make sure she is dressed the part. Shirt tucked in, skirt, etc. She doesn’t have to as per the rules but I know she enjoys it as well. 
 

 

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3 hours ago, Soloman1 said:

I don't think it's just golf. I remember the days when people looked presentable when flying and going to restaurants. Flip flops, tank tops, half a bottle of cheap smelly crap and entitled attitudes seem to be the new normal.

 

I should have been born a decade earlier and dead by now so I wouldn't have been subjected to it... 😉

 

Georgia Tech is nicknamed yellow jackets, because the alumni used to wear gold/yellow coats and ties to the ball games (the school's official colors are white & gold). 

 

Not many people wear a jacket and tie to football games anymore. Although, I remember that most college football coaches wore sports-coats & ties in the 60s & 70s. 

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