When my son Chris was 4 years old, I bought him several inexpensive (read: cheap) T-shirts with cartoon characters and/or zippy sayings on the front.

The smart parent doesn’t pay a lot for shirts for 4-year-olds because they grow out of them in about 45 minutes. So they’re around for a while, they collect a lot of ketchup stains and backyard dirt, and you move on.

Among this group was a shirt with one word – YES – in all capital letters on the front.

This seemed innocent enough until we wandered into the local mall one day, probably to buy golf balls. Chris proudly wore his YES shirt as we wandered among the earnest shoppers.

All was well and good until we got to the center of the mall, where a large “Just Say No To Drugs” rally was taking place.

We got out of there quickly.

The moral of this story: Dress appropriately.


In the golf world, this rule often is loosely interpreted.

I have played on a course far off the beaten path in Alabama and found the dress code to be non-existent. In the foursome in front of us, there were three guys who were shirtless. The other proudly sported a Grateful Dead T-shirt,  vintage 1974.

The cart paths on the course were dirt, and it hadn’t rained in weeks. So dust swirled like your freshly stirred morning coffee. Perhaps the guys didn’t want to wear their best golf apparel in such ratty conditions.

Yeah, let’s go with that.

Most golf courses have an aversion to denim. Some go so far as to post loud, threatening signs in the pro shop: NO DENIM. The implication is that this decree might be enforced by big bruisers who formerly worked as bouncers at the Shady Ladies nightclub. “Hey, bud, you don’t come in here in jeans unless you’re on the maintenance crew.”

This seems discriminatory. Some of my most comfortable pants aren’t pants. They’re jeans. I’m sure I could play better in them. Now that I think of it, this might have been my golf problem all along.

The professional men’s tours take all this to extremes. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that professional female golfers can wear shorts in competition but, for some reason, men must cover their legs. Is this because men’s legs are hairy and often unsightly? Does Jon Rahm have a big mole on his right calf that we shouldn’t see? Are Dustin Johnson’s knees ugly?

And, while we’re on the topic of odd golf course dress, why do course officials wear coats and ties in 98-degree, high-humidity weather? Is this some kind of grand medical experiment to determine if people can make a key decision on whether a penalty should be called while soaked in sweat? I understand the tradition thing, but when the sun has burned a hole in your bright red blazer and perspiration is pouring from your underarms, it’s time to modify tradition.

A second moral: Ditch the jacket. Do it. Just say yes.