This debate seems to surface every year at about this time. It usually doesn’t take more than one round in 95 degree heat with 70% humidity in Dallas or Memphis for people to ask, “Why can’t PGA Tour players wear shorts?”
Ashworth Golf is (jokingly) asking the same question with its clever new Pants Petition marketing campaign. While the Pants Petition is really a contest to win some stylish Ashworth gear, it has again sparked the “shorts vs. no shorts” debate on discussion forums and in the social media world. While opponents to the shorts movement claim they are unprofessional and violate the traditions of the game, proponents point to little things such as health risks and comfort.
Clearly, Golf Threads needs to take an official stance on important golf style matters such as these because sitting on the fence is just painful–whether you are wearing shorts or pants, so here we go.
First, I agree with the traditionalists. Are pants more professional? Yes. Do they look better than shorts? Yes, with some exceptions (and those exceptions are due to poor execution and fashion sense). Plus, with all the technical fabrics out there today, if you find yourself in a pair of pants that doesn’t breathe well, it’s your own fault.
That being said, there is not a worse look in golf than the Tour player that has sweat through a pair of pants in a pattern rivaling that of any inkblot in a psychologist’s office. Even the most advanced technical fabrics won’t help in certain conditions. If you’ve ever played golf, or just walked around in heat and humidity while wearing pants, you know the feeling. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky and then go walk around a steam room for a few hours in pants.
I say, “let them wear shorts,” but only above a certain temperature or heat index. Unprofessional? We’re not talking about cut-offs and cargos here. Traditions of the game? If white drivers the size of a one pound burger and waffle-iron putters haven’t killed the game, then I think it will survive the occasional round in shorts. Now of course there should be restrictions on length just as there are with collars on shirts, but I think Tour players are responsible enough to handle this (granted Johnson Wagner’s comments in the video above do not support that). They wore shorts in junior tournaments and in college. Even the stuffy blue coats at the USGA allow shorts in U.S. Open qualifiers. Obviously, brands would love it as they could showcase another product through their Tour players.
For more fodder on the subject, check out this article I wrote for GolfWRX last year following a match play tourney in Turkey where Tour players were allowed to wear shorts…and the game survived.
Related Post: Ashworth Golf: The Revolution