Is there a more subversive sentence in golf? And yet those dozen words are the complete dress regulations for Bondi Golf and Diggers Club. Words have power, and golf’s normal dress rules consist of words with the power to turn people away, to deny access, to shame and humiliate. Formidable words like ‘collared shirt’, ‘dress pants’, ‘pleated fronts’, ‘capris’ and ‘skort’.
Such words hold back the barbarians at golf’s gate and protect its homogeneity. Dress rules are words that fit with golf’s message: we welcome you and your diversity… if it conforms to our institutional rules.
And so to Bondi’s unusual dress code. They’re the sort of dangerous words that raise a surfboard-waxed middle finger at golf’s appropriately dressed establishment. Simple words, devoid of jargon, completely unambiguous and written by a real human being.
But do these words ‘grow the game’ with what is the traditionally ‘right’ sort of golfer? I for one, hope not. So I grab my camera and head to Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs on a crisp autumn afternoon in search of diversity and stories amongst the untraditional rabble crawling over Bondi’s welcoming fairways.