Why Do Certain People Wear Certain Shoes at Certain Golf Tournaments?


Hayrabolu By “certain people,” I mean certain women; by “certain shoes,” I mean sandals, high-heeled boots, ballet-type slippers, and backless pumps; and by “certain golf tournaments” I mean golf tournaments during which there is so much rain that the lift-clean-and-place rule is in effect for all four rounds. Specifically, I mean Tiger Woods’s 2012 World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual, which was held in the mud last week at Sherwood Country Club, in Thousand Oaks, California:

The Man himself  (and Bo Van Pelt, plus various menials) on the first fairway at Sherwood Country Club on Sunday. Note the mud visible in the rough in the foreground.

The World Challenge is an unofficial, end-of-season event. It raises money for the Tiger Woods Foundation, and it features a small field of terrific players. By Sunday, the entire course was so thoroughly saturated that balls often plugged where they landed, even on some of the greens, and many spectator areas looked like this:

These men are wearing sensible shoes, relatively speaking.

Despite the weather, surprisingly many women wore shoes that were not well suited to the conditions:

The women whose feet are shown below were standing on pavement near the clubhouse and watching someone on the practice green, but shortly after I took this photograph they all followed their boyfriends or husbands onto the course:

In the photograph below, the woman in jeans had just had trouble traversing a muddy area under some trees. A friend of hers told her husband, “Erin is bothered about her shoes. Very bothered.” I don’t know what happened after that.

The heels on those boots made sucking sounds as the woman wearing them walked through the mud, which was ubiquitous. Note the evidence of capillary action at the bottom of her pants legs.

Even in a drought, why would someone wear high heels to a golf tournament, where spectators walk for miles?

Ready to follow Tiger for eighteen holes.

I can think of three semi-plausible explanations: 1) Fashion trumps all; 2) Someone’s boyfriend or husband didn’t mention that golf is played on grass; 3) Someone was attending the tournament against her will, and wearing inappropriate footwear was her passive-aggressive declaration of her discontent.

Walking “on pointe” to keep mud from coming over the sides.


9 thoughts on “Why Do Certain People Wear Certain Shoes at Certain Golf Tournaments?

  1. Golf shoes make the most sense for walking and viewing a golf tournament. Waterproof, comfortable, all day support and you can walk down those slippery slopes without too much fear.
    I was attending the Masters one year and two guys walking behind me were giving me a hard time about wearing my golf shoes. “You think they’re gonna ask you to play?” etc. etc.
    Two seconds later one of the guys feet flew out from under him and they both did butt plants as the first brought the second down with him!

  2. Serves them right. And what you say about golf shoes is especially true now that golf shoes are so much more comfortable than they used to be. I took part in a climate-change conference in San Francisco last spring, and at the opening reception I noticed that one of the other participants was wearing Eccos like the ones that Fred Couples famously wore at the Masters. I went up to him and said, “I’m the only person here who knows you’re wearing golf shoes,” and we laughed and laughed and laughed.

  3. My question is this: Did any of those women look at you with screwed up eyes as you wandered the grounds, taking pictures of their feet?

  4. I worried about that. And I mentally rehearsed an I-am-a-sportswriter-and-not-a-perv explanation, in case anybody grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and asked me what the hell I was up to. I took the pictures with my phone and sort of aimed randomly, “from the hip,” then sorted things out later. My technique improved as I went along–so much so that I think I could probably handle taking pictures of Russian nuclear installations for the CIA.

  5. I leave the heels/sandals home when I know I am going to be walking on grass or walking in general for hours. That is what sneakers for.

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