The Independent Golfer

Monthly Offering on Scotland Golf
adapted from
The Independent Golfer's Guide to the
Highlands and Islands of Scotland

by Willis Copeland

The Machrie Golf course, Scotland


The Independent Golfer's Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland

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Caddienotes for Golf Courses in Scotland

"Dress on Scotland Golf Courses "


... brought sufficient changes of shorts to see him through the two weeks we would be playing. I think he had one pair of long pants. Not only were the shorts comfortable for him, they allowed him to brag about how, as an experienced world traveler, he was able to get along with such as small suitcase while the others of us struggled with our bags full of two weeks of long pants.

But Orin met his match on Elie, a beautiful seaside links course in Fife on the north course of the Firth of Forth. As we prepared to tee off the starter informed Orin that shorts, as he was wearing them, were not permitted on the course. Elie presents a substantial test of golf in a beautiful setting that at times wanders behind the village and at other times dips down to within yards of the sea. It is distinguished by its use of a periscope scavenged from a World War II submarine to look over a hill to determine if the players on the first fairway have hit their second shots and moved on so that those on the tee can begin. Elie is a serious course but Orin did not think it would be so “stuffy” as to stop him from playing in shorts. Of course, the folks at Elie don’t see it as “stuffy” but rather as a nod to order, stability and decorum befitting the ancient game.

The Starter had a solution. Rather than prohibiting Orin from playing or making him drive 20 miles back to our Bead and Breakfast to retrieve his long pants, the Starter noted that one could wear shorts if one also wore long socks that reached the knee. Orin ducked into the pro shop and bought the only long socks they had, a cheap pair of gaudy light green beauties that clashed horribly with his blue Bermudas. Apparently, the local Elie rules don’t require that a golfer be color conscious. Long socks of any hue were acceptable, the Starter was happy and off we went on our round. The only downside to this whole experience was Nick’s insistence that Orin stand behind him on the greens so as not to be a distraction while he putted.

Scots are not as formal as they were a few years ago, but many of the larger and more famous courses do have dress codes that the Independent Golfer should be aware of. Typically, wearing athletic shorts or warm-ups on the course is frowned upon. If shorts are to be worn they should be long enough to reach almost to the knees and they should be accompanied with knee socks. Shirts should have collars. Many courses still have even a stricter dress code for the public rooms in their clubhouses, especially the dining room and the bar. Here they may require long pants, jackets and ties. One never, at any course, wears golf shoes into these public rooms and most courses would appreciate it if you not change your shoes in the parking lot. This is why carrying your shoes to the course in a bag and changing them in the locker room before and after play is a good idea. Your daily fee includes access to the locker room and it is a good idea to use it.

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