July 29, 2021
If you have a heartbeat and an affinity for professional golf, you will likely get your first taste of Kasumigaseki Country Club by the end of next week. Maybe the Olympic host is boring, maybe he’s dedicated. Maybe it’s too easy or the fairways too narrow. Each of these is a valid review, and by the time you read this, thousands of other first impressions are sure to fill golf brains around the world.
However, there is one first impression you won’t get of Kasumigaseki. Under no circumstances will you think that the valued members of the Japanese club are understaffed. That’s because Kasumigaseki went to extreme lengths to ensure that no one is unlucky enough to decorate the property without the proper clothing.
The rules named “KCC Dress Code” can be found on the club’s website. The document is 519 words long, covers five different subsections of golf apparel, provides a detailed description of appropriate fashion at all times, and, as you have by now guessed, has a factual inflection. It is perhaps more precisely a ransom note for golf hipsters, a mixture of rules and regulations harking back to a lost era of golf – well, lost to anyone other than Kasumigaseki members and guests.
“Dressing to reflect the club’s values and heritage means paying attention not only to colors, patterns and designs, but also to the way you wear your outfit,” the introduction to the document reads . “Any player whose clothing does not comply with these rules can be asked to change and this can be uncomfortable, especially for guests visiting for the first time. Please make sure that your entire group abides by the rules so that you can enjoy the game day to the fullest. “
Here are nine of the most interesting dress code rules, courtesy of the KCC’s Etiquette and Fellowship Committee.
1. Get dressed
Blazers or jackets are required on arrival at Kasumigaseki, except between June 15th and September 15th when the requirement is relaxed to “Jacket Optional”. If you want to wear a leather jacket or windbreaker, don’t. They are not allowed (in defense of KCC, leather jackets would turn heads on almost any golf club).
2. Time to take off your knee socks
If we were to reduce the shorts part of the dress code to a single word, it would be this: don’t do it.
Shorts are forbidden on arrival in Kasumigaseki and may only be worn during the game if they are combined with knee socks. If your shorts have a built-in undergarment, these are also prohibited. As for length, the KCC Code mandates that shorts “should end above the knee; anything that is too short or too long is not allowed. “
3. Sorry Dad …
… but your cargo shorts have to stay at home. The dress code expressly forbids cargo shorts and trousers together with jeans, mini skirts, tights, leggings and so-called “hot pants”.
4. Collar up!
Notwithstanding the preceding (and following) rules, the KCC dress code makes a rare exception for collars on golf shirts that are supposed to be worn during the game. However, the Etiquette and Fellowship Committee requests that you return your collar to the sitting position when you return to the clubhouse.
Tour Kasumigaseki Country Club, venue of the Olympic golf competition
5. Longer sleeves, longer problems
Perhaps you’re a supplier of fine layered clothing for the crisp autumn months in Saitama Prefecture – great! However, if you go for a long sleeved underlayer, you need to find a long sleeved OVERlayer too. The dress code specifically forbids overlaying short sleeves with non-matching long sleeves or arm warmers that resemble long sleeves. The committee asks if you need to wear a long-sleeved base layer, combine that with a long-sleeved outer layer too.
6. Sneakerheaded at home
Kasumigaseki leaves a wide variety of acceptable footwear upon entering the club. Among the prohibited items: sneakers, sandals, mules, slippers and golf shoes. Metal spikes are also banned at all times (the sound you just heard was the membership’s relieved sigh for the well-known metal spike carrier Bryson DeChambeau WD’d).
7. Pack a change of clothes
The crown jewel of KCC’s dress code. During the summer months, members and guests are asked to change shirts and trousers before entering the dining room so as not to leave a damp seat for future guests.
8. Get some rest
If you haven’t already taken care that your clothes are causing problems in the heat, these colors should be used to keep them cool, too. The dress code expressly forbids “loud colors” and “flashy designs” at any time.
9. Dry & goodbye
Last but not least, Kasumigaseki wants to make sure that your towels are used well, meaning that you must not hang a towel around your neck, shoulders or waistband. Use that sucker to dry it off, then throw it away so you don’t get the membership wrath.
James Colgan is Associate Editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a wide range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and leverages his broadcasting experience on the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James – and obviously his golf game – is still thawing from four years of gritting his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News, and Fox Sports. Before joining GOLF, James was a Caddy Scholar (and smart looper) on Long Island, which is where he’s from.