Bermuda shorts, cutting off just above or below the knee, have the tendency to make legs look shorter and wider. They are also difficult to find. When we see “Bermuda or knee-length” shorts on dress codes, the stories of how to achieve that requirement are painful: from borrowing men’s shorts to hemming a pair of pants to create shorts that fit the length limit. The vote is unanimous among the women on our staff: It’s time to jettison the Bermuda shorts clause in golf-course dress codes.
The women’s golf-apparel industry has made strides in expanding options for women, catering to all styles, body types and needs. Look at what women are wearing on the LPGA Tour: The clothing is athletic, the fit is right and the focus is on performance. It’s refreshing to see brands showing a commitment to female golfers. Private and public courses should acknowledge these gains and amend dress codes to allow women to wear what works best for them. Will some women still choose to wear Bermuda shorts? Certainly. If that’s what you feel best in, you should wear them. But if Bermuda shorts aren’t part of your wardrobe, you shouldn’t have to find a pair and wear them just because you want to play golf.
We respect the right of private clubs to create and uphold their rules, but if you have a dress code, it should be created with input from women and evaluated to make sure it represents all of your members. Think about what your dress code is accomplishing. Does it aim to create a space for golfers to express themselves and feel comfortable while enjoying the game?
Defend your dress code for its mission to uphold tradition and keep mischievous golfers at bay, but the image of what a golfer should look like is not universal. An uninformed dress code goes against the work that has been done to encourage a more inclusive community of golfers, it hinders creative expression and creates unnecessary stressors for new golfers. Dress codes often include dated clothing requirements. We’re looking at you, Bermuda shorts.
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