Editors' BlogFebruary 10, 2009

Do golfers dress like "Republican dentists" ?

It's good to get letters that make you re-think your position. We got a couple of very good ones in response to recent Golf World stories and comments hear about facial hair and dress codes, specifically cargo-pants bans. The common message is, "Guys, we're in the 21st century. You want people to play golf? Quit nickel-and-diming them with silly regulations." Not sure I buy it all, but you can't say it much better:

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Dear Editor,

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Wow! In your Feb. 9 issue I noticed that two of the three letters are from people complaining, basically, about others appearance. One writer states his disdain for cargo shorts worn on the golf course. The other has a problem with Geoff Ogilvy not shaving. Again, WOW! Where do these people get off? As a construction worker, I do not own many pairs of "slacks" (which I find uncomfortable), or the "correct" kinds of "acceptable" shorts.

I don't think these letter writers have any idea what year we're in. I would also submit that, for my odd shape (30-32 waist, 36 inseam), it's difficult to find the aforementioned acceptable shorts or pants that actually fit. They mostly come in what I call fat guy sizes. I would ask these writers: What is the difference between a mock turtleneck and a t-shirt? None, except that the No. 1 player in the world started wearing mock turtlenecks, and, therefore, they became a norm in so-called golf fashion...

I have to add that I'm a golf nut. What matters the most, in my opinion, is playing the game the right way. Following etiquette. Playing by the rules. Congratulating your competitor if they beat you. The pro football comments smack of racism, and both letters remind everyone that golf is still an elitist sport. I hope they read John Hawkins article on the last page of the same issue. Hopefully, it will sink in.

Don McNanna

Bloomingdale, IL

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Facial Hair?  FACIAL HAIR?!>

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I'm a 60-year-old suburban businessman. I shave every day, shine my shoes and tuck in my shirt. What little hair I have is cut very short every two weeks.

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My 28-year-old son has four substantial tattoos; he always needs a haircut, and his jeans are always one step away from falling off his non-existent butt. My 20-year-old daughter has a pierced nose and navel, dreadlocks and her own tattoo collection. They are average young adults who look just like their peers.

John Hawkins's piece on the Tour's concern with grooming stupefied me. If the Tour thinks it can attract substantial numbers of young adults by making all the pros look like Republican dentists, they're even more out of touch than the USGA. Golf is perceived by most Americans as a game for elderly white men and their fathers.

Guys, wake up! America doesn't look like that anymore. Even golf junkies like me who have played the game for 50 years can't stand the Tigerless blandness. I fell asleep in five minutes watching the clean-shaven Nick Watney, John Rollins and Mathew Glover somberly gasp for air Sunday at Torrey Pines. Luckily for the Tour, Camilo Villegas also was in the hunt, so I withstood the ennui a little longer.

The Tour would do well to tell players to speed up and show some excitement, not worry about facial hair.  Sergio, Ian Poulter, Camilo, Anthony Kim--give 'em hell!  Us old farts don't care if you never shave.

David E. Bassett

Troy MI

Thank you, gentlemen. As John Hawkins said in the column you both refer to, "Sometimes we find problems where there are really no problems at all." Personally, I'd like to erase all tattoos and dress every pro like Tom Weiskopf. But if it takes relaxing those "standards" a bit to share the game with more people, I'll go with share the game. (They'll pick up on the dress code on their own.) Certainly on resort and public courses that's already the case.

But what about white shoes? Certainly we can at least ban white shoes!?

--Bob Carney

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