BEDMINSTER • The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has come in for stiff criticism after it introduced a new dress code that forbids women golfers from sporting plunging necklines, leggings or revealing skirts on the course.
Initial reactions were overwhelmingly negative, with Teen Vogue accusing the governing body's policy of "shaming" female players.
The progressive and influential youth magazine also said the code sets players and women in general "way back".
From Monday, the LPGA will crack down on athletic wear following a July 2 e-mail to all players from its player-president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman which detailed an extensive list of clothing that will no longer be allowed on course and at pro-am parties on the tour.
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Any transgression of the new code, as revealed in a report by Golf Digest, will result in a US$1,000 (S$1,370) fine for the first offence, with fines doubling for each subsequent breach.
Items in the new code were expressed in the following dot points in Goetze-Ackerman's e-mail:
•Racerback with a mock or regular collar are allowed (no collar = no racerback).
•Plunging necklines are NOT allowed.
• Leggings, unless under a skort or shorts, are NOT allowed.
•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.
•Appropriate attire should be worn to pro-am parties. You should be dressing yourself to present a professional image. Unless otherwise told "no," golf clothes are acceptable. Dressy jeans are allowed, but cut-offs or jeans with holes are NOT allowed.
•Workout gear and jeans (all colours) NOT allowed inside the ropes.
• Joggers are NOT allowed.
Explaining the new code, Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA Tour's communications and tour operations officer, told Golf Digest: "The dress code requires players to present themselves in a professional manner to reflect a positive image for the game.
"While we typically evaluate our policies at the end of the year, based on input from our players, we recently made some minor adjustments to the policy to address some changing fashion trends. The specifics of the policy have been shared directly with the members."
Former European men's Tour player Matt Blackey was sceptical of the new regulations , tweeting: "I'm not sure a stricter dress code will help golf's appeal."
Golf writer Robert Lusetich tweeted that his former Sunday school teacher must have been writing the code.