If you have a heartbeat and an affinity for professional golf, it’s likely you’ll have a first impression of Kasumigaseki Country Club by the end of next week. Maybe the Olympic host is bland, maybe it’s engaging. Maybe it’s too easy or the fairways are too narrow. Each is a valid critique, and by the time you read this, there are sure to be thousands of other first impressions populating in golf brains around the world.
There is, however, one first impression that you will not have of Kasumigaseki. You will not, under any circumstances, think the esteemed members of the Japanese club are underdressed. That is because Kasumigaseki has gone to extreme lengths to ensure no one will ever have the misfortune of gracing the property without the proper attire.
The rules, named “KCC Dress Code,” live on the club’s website. The document runs 519 words in length, covers five different subsections of golf attire, provides an in-depth description of appropriate fashion at all times, and, as you by now have guessed, has a no-nonsense bend. It is perhaps more accurately a ransom note for golf hipsters, an amalgam of rules and regulations that harken back to a lost era of golf — well, lost to those other than members and guests at Kasumigaseki.
“Dressing to reflect the club’s values and heritage means taking care not only with colours, patterns, and designs but also in the way you wear your outfit,” the document’s introduction reads. “Any player whose attire does not comply with these rules may be asked to change, and this may be unpleasant, especially for guests visiting us for the first time. Please ensure that your entire group adheres to the rules so that you may fully enjoy the day’s play.”
Here are nine of the most interesting rules outlined in the dress code, courtesy of the Etiquette and Fellowship Committee at KCC.
1. Suit up
Blazers or jackets are required upon arrival at Kasumigaseki, except between June 15 and Sept. 15 when the requirement is relaxed to “jacket optional.” Should you wish to wear a leather jacket or windbreaker, don’t. They are not permitted (though, in KCC’s defense, leather jackets would turn heads at just about any golf club).
2. Time to break out the knee-highs
If we were to distill the shorts portion of the dress code down to a single word, it’d be this: don’t.
Shorts are forbidden upon arrival at Kasumigaseki, and may only be worn during play if they are paired with knee-high socks. If your shorts have a built-in underwear liner, they are also forbidden. As for length, the KCC code dictates that shorts “should end above the knee; anything too short or too long is not allowed.”
3. Sorry, Dad…
…but your cargo shorts are going to have to stay at home. The dress code expressly forbids cargo shorts and pants along with jeans, mini-skirts, tights, leggings, and something called “hot pants.”
4. Collars up!
In an odd turn of heel from the preceding (and following) rules, the KCC dress code makes a rare exception for collars on golf shirts, which it says can be worn up during play. However, the Etiquette and Fellowship Committee asks that you return your collar to the seated position upon your return to the clubhouse.
5. Longer sleeves, longer problems
Perhaps you’re a purveyor of fine layered clothing for the crisp fall months in the Saitama Prefecture — great! But should you choose to play with a long-sleeved underlayer, know you must also find a long-sleeved OVERlayer. The dress code specifically forbids layering short sleeves with non-matching long sleeves or arm warmers that resemble long sleeves. The Committee asks if you must wear a long-sleeved base layer, you pair it with a long-sleeved outer layer as well.
6. Sneakerhead-ed back home
Kasumigaseki leaves a stark selection of acceptable footwear upon entrance to the club. Among the forbidden items: sneakers, sandals, mules, slippers and golf shoes. Metal spikes are also forbidden at all times (the sound you just heard was the membership sighing with relief after noted metal spike-wearer Bryson DeChambeau WD’d).
7. Pack a change of clothes
The crown jewel of KCC’s dress code rules. In the summer months, members and guests are asked to change their shirt and trousers before entering the dining room to prevent from leaving a damp seat for future guests.
8. Quiet down
If you weren’t already concerned enough with your clothes causing issues in the heat, you’d better cool it with those colors, too. The dress code expressly prohibits “loud colors” and “conspicuous designs” at all times.
9. Dry & Goodbye
Last but certainly not least, Kasumigaseki would like to ensure your towels are going to good use, which is to say, you’re not welcome to hang a towel around your neck, shoulders or the waist of your trousers. Use that sucker to dry off, then discard of it, lest you receive the wrath of membership.