On U.S. Women’s Open fashions and the LPGA’s new golf dress code

On the high heels of the biggest women’s golf tournament of the year, the LPGA has tightened up its dress code for players. GottaGoGolf objects. Here’s a look at what’s happening and what the players wore in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open.
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A day after sportily-attired Sung Hyun Park won the biggest championship in women’s golf, the LPGA has instituted a new dress code that sounds suspiciously old and stodgy.

Ashley Mayo broke the story for Golf Digest during the Open: Starting today at the Marathon Classic in Toledo, Ohio, these grown women are mandated to follow a list of orders featuring the word NOT in capital letters.

Plunging necklines, NOT. Leggings, NOT. Workout gear and jeans, NOT. Joggers, NOT. And racerback-style tops, like the shoulder-baring cuts Michelle Wie has been wearing, will now be allowed only if they have a collar of some kind.

Then there was the sentence with the MUST: Length of skirt, skort, and shorts MUST be long enough to not see your bottom area (even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over.

So just as the USGA is simplifying the rules, the LPGA is complicating the dress code. Are the players going to have to bend over to pass inspection at the first tee? Why not just bring out the old “skirts/shorts must be no more than 4 inches above the knee” country club dress code, which is at least enforceable by rulers?

The LPGA’s former dress code was sensibly vague — no dress code except for “no jeans.” After all, these are professional athletes who are in the public eye. Some of them want to look sexy. Some of them want to look athletic. Pretty much all of them want to look good to their fans and their role models. In an individual sport, each can reasonably expect to be able to express herself through her clothes, and to move easily in them.

UltraViolet, the online organization committed to fighting sexism, described the new dress code as something out of the Mad Men area. Based on the President’s documented attitudes about women, it conducted peaceful protests objecting to the USGA’s selection of Trump National for the Women’s Open. Now, said a statement from founder Shaunna Thomas:

“The LPGA, an organization that claims to empower women golfers, is doing just the opposite: imposing a new slut-shaming, sexist dress code designed to restrict basic athletic apparel like racerback tops and joggers. To add insult to injury, these golfers will owe a $1,000 fine the first time they break the dress code—and will have to pay double the amount for each ‘violation’ thereafter.

“It’s clear that the LPGA is working overtime to prove they are just as sexist as recent media reports suggest—taking its female athletes back to a time when it was acceptable to police women’s skirt length and neckline. The LPGA should be ashamed of itself.”



Who made the LPGA mad? Maybe Wie, maybe Sandra Gal, maybe even Paula Creamer — all of them nearly 6 feet tall with great legs and model figures. They tend to wear the shortest skirts in the game, and now they’ll have to bring down the hem.

Gal often wears a tiny skirt over leggings, and it’s not clear whether that will still be allowed. After all, if one cannot bend over to reveal shorts, why would it be OK to reveal leggings?

The prohibition on leggings requires players to wear some bottoms over them. It’s no longer OK to wear leggings and a golf shirt — a bad-looking habit that Amy Yang had for a bit. But are tight, stretchy pants leggings? Lots of slender players, including Sunday’s winner, wear those.

And what about those tight shirts Gerina Piller likes to wear? Size S, probably, when she’s an L across the chest. The LPGA apparently couldn’t figure out a way to legislate tightness.

GottaGoGolf doesn’t like all of the outfits the players on the LPGA Tour wear. But we defend their right to wear them, even the dizzying shirt that Cristie Kerr wore on Saturday. Any image consultant would have told her not to wear tiny stripes on television, but there she was in all of her wavering HD glory, about as watchable as a comet.


This will be an interesting time on the tour. Maybe someone will borrow the knickers Patty Sheehan used to wear, or try playing golf in a long skirt. In the meantime…


Image of Hye-Jin Choi

TREND: Hye-Jin Choi, the 17-year-old amateur, looked casual and comfy in her sporty outfit. (Copyright USGA/Darren Carroll)

Image of Jenny Shin

Jenny Shin took the sporty trend to high fashion by color-coordinating pants and shirt. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Image of Minjee Lee

Minjee Lee looked minty and so coordinated in her Sunday best.(Copyright USGA/John Mummert)

Image of Jennifer Song

Jennifer Song mixed peach with gray and white and looked a bit like a tennis player on Saturday. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Ai Miyazato, playing her final U.S. Women’s Open round, made blue look happy. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Image of Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson mixes the sporty with the feminine, courtesy of Puma. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Jeongeun6 Lee had the best rainsuit of the field, with adjustable legs and sleeves for hot or cold weather rain. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Shanshan Feng wearing her trademark cow — “made just for me,” she says. Lucky on Thursday, not so lucky on Sunday. (Copyright USGA/Darren Carroll)

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN OUTFIT? DO YOU THINK THE PLAYERS NEED TO BE TOLD WHAT TO WEAR? Comments welcome, as long as they don’t have a plunging neckline.

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