Why Is The LPGA Introducing A Stricter Dress Code For Female Players?

Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is tightening up its dress code in a way that's got a lot of people scratching their heads. Mainly, because LPGA's new stricter dress code cracks down on female golfers wearing athletic clothes.
According to Golf Digest, LPGA Player President Vicki Goetze-Ackerman sent out an email to golfers on July 2 informing them that the dress code would be changing as of Monday, July 17. Goetze-Ackerman ticked off the items the women would no longer be able to wear on the green, including plunging necklines, joggers, leggings by themselves (they can be worn under shorts or skirts), and racerback tops without collars. "No collar = no racerback," is the parenthetical used in the email.
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Workout clothes and jeans are not allowed to be worn at all, the email states. Skirts, skorts, and shorts must now be "long enough to not see your bottom area (even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over."
The email also details how the golfers should dress off the course, explaining that "you should be dressing yourself to present a professional image" for all pro-am parties. "Unless otherwise told 'no,' golf clothes are acceptable," Goetze-Ackerman wrote. "Dressy jeans are allowed, but cut-offs or jeans with holes are NOT allowed."
Goetze-Ackerman wrote that female players are in charge of notifying their clothing sponsors of these changes and will be punished if they don't follow the rules. "Penalties for violating the dress code will be a $1,000 and it will double with each offense," the email states.
In a statement to Golf Digest, Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA tour's chief communications and tour operations officer, said the dress code change "requires players to present themselves in a professional manner to reflect a positive image for the game." She said that the "minor adjustments to the policy to address some changing fashion trends" came from feedback from the players themselves.
As of now, the male players have not had any change to their current dress code. The PGA TOUR Player’s policy states that, “players shall present a neat appearance in both clothing and personal grooming. Clothing worn by players shall be consistent with currently accepted golf fashion.” That often means collared shirts and khaki pants. Players are not allowed to wear T-shirts, jeans or shorts, but officials "monitor player appearance for violations while allowing players to express their own personal styles."
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Earlier this year, the LPGA was applauded for "modernizing" its dress code by allowing player Michelle Wie to wear athletic wear, including collarless shirts that bare her arms, despite the rules barring "workout clothes." Now it seems Wie will have to adjust those looks to fit this new dress code.
This is not the only sport being criticized for its overzealous and perhaps puritanical dress codes. Last week, Wimbledon enforced its all-white dress code so strictly that the tournament made a male tennis player Jurij Rodionov change his blue underwear.
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