Taking a Stand for the Rednecks…and Anyone Else Who Needs It

I feel like it’s time for someone to stand up for the rednecks. Might as well be me. I am one. I was born that way. And….we want folks to know we’re all-inclusive here a the Traveling Golfer show. While we’re at it, we’ll just go ahead and take a stand for anyone who has been made to feel like they don’t belong on a golf course. I get it….some of you feel as if some folks probably do not fit in at your course. If you’re at a private country club setting, that might be true. We can probably all agree there should be standing refuge for those who fear rednecks and the fun they represent. But, I’m going to ruffle some of your feathers by saying the rest of you should consider your options more carefully. You might be missing out. Just think how dismal your tee sheet would look if women hadn’t been included back in the 1800s and if suits were still considered proper attire? Change is good.

I Don’t Belong Here

The first time I was invited to play golf, I showed up wearing a tee shirt and cut off jean shorts. Don’t laugh…it was an Appalachian American tradition back in those days and I am 100% Appalachian American. That was almost 50 years ago. I was asked to leave and come back when properly dressed. It was several years before I returned to a golf course. I never returned to that one. They went out of business. Who could possibly have been damaged had they just let me play….with a tour of the pro shop, of course, displaying the clothes normally worn by “approved” golfers. But, the way I took it…those folk (snobs, I thought) think I don’t belong here.

The Covid Bump – Golf Is “Too”

A lot has changed in 50 years. But rest assured, that (you don’t fit) barrier to entry still exists. Until the recent “Covid-effect” the number of golfers playing on a regular basis had been declining rapidly. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but many feel golf is “too”. It’s “too” expensive. It’s “too” hard. It takes “too” long. The pandemic helped many courses as folks looked for anything to do outdoors. Many weren’t working, so time wasn’t a factor. I personally saw the barrier for entry lowered during this time. Courses became more inclusive. Perhaps it took the initial shock of having zero customers to wake them up. That’s just “too” sad. Now, in the post-pandemic era, concerned course owners and managers are looking for ways to maintain their new-found customer base. Yet, we see some of the pre-pandemic barriers returning as rounds begin to decline. Once again, golf’s competition for time has risen its head.

The Definition Of A Collared Shirt

In 2003, at the Buick Open, Tiger Woods showed up wearing a mock-turtle neck shirt. The purists were outraged. As well they should have been. That’s nothing more than a fancy tee shirt. That’s not proper attire…but wait…that’s Tiger Woods. We need him. So, from that day the mock-turtle neck has been considered a “collared” shirt, and therefore “allowed” on golf courses.

Who Said We Could Listen To Music?

About 15 years ago, I was playing (while listening to music) with some friends wo were visiting from Europe. They couldn’t believe such a thing could be “allowed” on a golf course. Today many golfers are listening to heir favorite tunes while on the course. In a recent shooting of the Traveling Golfer show we had two carts pull up to the tee box with their music blaring. One cart was broadcasting heavy metal and the other country music. The speakers from each cart sat there, side-by-side, broadcasting a really strange mix. We’ve come a long way.

Hoodies? Who Said Hoodies Were Ok?

Recently I’ve noticed golf personnel at courses wearing hoodies, of all things. Who approved this? Who said this was ok? I suppose the hood is now considered a “collar”. Personally, I like it. I like the overall direction. I’m seeing tee shirts for sale in pro shops. No cut-off jeans yet, but there’s always hope. Are we nearing the time when tee shirts and board shorts will be commonly “allowed”. Why not? I mean….shorts have been accepted for a long time, and cargo pants and shorts snuck right through the barriers. I love those things. They have lots of storage. Really handy on the course.

Who Said Golf Could Be Fun?

The bottom line….golf is fun! We should all be more inclusive and highlight the fun in the game. Rednecks can be fun, too. Look at John Daly. I’m speaking of “Long” John Daly the professional golfer, not “Real” John Daly our celebrity television host here at the Traveling Golfer show. “Long” John Daly had a mullet for goodness sakes. Everyone knows that’s a long-standing redneck style. I think the mullet is making a come-back, by the way. “Real” John Daly, on the other hand, is all prim and proper. He looks like the golf pro at your home course. That’s ok too, just let the rednecks have their fun. Where would we be now if Tiger had not forced the approval of the mock-turtle…which (again) is just a fancy name for a tee shirt, in my opinion. Pioneers like Tiger and Daly paved the way for mullets, music, …and hoodies.

What’s Next?

Granted, the changes to the game described herein are not many, and for sure not that drastic, but a good start for loosening up the game a bit. With the knowledge that golf is “too”, perhaps course owners and managers should not be “too” restrictive in what they say is “proper”. I’ve seen (in my opinion) far “too” may signs at courses that start with the word “no”. That’s a terrible way to begin a relationship. Now that we’ve gotten to experience a period of full tee sheets and some good times brought on by an unfortunate pandemic, let’s not forget about the rednecks. Rednecks know how to make golf more fun.