The game of golf is considered the gentlemen’s game and, as such, a volume of rules and regulations that govern the game’s etiquette on the course, during, and after the game.
Pro golfers remove their hats to shake hands as a sign of respect to their playing partners or opponents and to show humility and etiquette for the game just played. This custom has been in play since the game began and continues to maintain the traditions of respect.
While this is a long-standing tradition and many pros and amateurs participate in it, the question is, how and where did this tradition originate , and why is it still done to this day?
A Quick History Of Hat Etiquette
This later transferred to the hat, going as far back as the medieval knights who would lift their visors as a sign of respect to opponents, royalty, or other socially ranked people.
Suppose you consider the significance of the gesture of either removing your hat at important events, entering a home or, doffing your cap as we see in some schools which still hold the tradition. In that case, they are all linked to the gentleman’s concept of true respect and etiquette.
Even the idea that both lifting the hat and offering a handshake were displays by both parties that neither was hiding a weapon in their hands or hat!
Hat culture was prominent in the Victorian age and had rules and regulations for men and women to maintain a civilized society.
Hats And The Gentlemen’s Game
Many sports can claim to be a gentlemen’s game, and the old saying that rugby is a hooligans game played by gentlemen carries some of that tradition through as at the end of the game, all the players shake hands to show respect and that no hard feelings are remaining regardless of who won or lost.
This is common in many sports, especially cricket and golf, which originated in the ‘times of gentlemen’, and in those games where headwear is worn, you will often see the players remove their hats or caps shake hands.
The Dress Code & Etiquette Of Golf
Going back to the era when men wore hats as the general dress code in society and wore suits and ties along with hats on the golf course, the dress code of golf has always been enforced, and along with that comes the hat.
Collared shirts, long pants or suitably tailored short pants, socks, golf shoes, and of course, the hat or cap are required by most golf clubs of good standing to preserve the history of the game’s traditions.
Most, if not all, professional golfers wear hats and caps these days, and while many of them are required to in terms of sponsorships, the hat or cap offers protection against the sun as well.
The Game Of Golf Demands Respect
Golf is a game that is founded on respect for the game, the course, the clubhouse, and your opposition, and as such, the taking off of hats when entering the clubhouse or bar area is testament to those traditions as it is considered rude not to do so in those areas.
Likewise, it would be considered extremely rude not to shake hands with your playing partners and opponents at the conclusion of the round, and part of that show of respect is removing hats or caps.
While there are no actual consequences for not removing your hat when shaking hands or not shaking hands at all, this would be construed as poor sportsmanship and may result in people not wanting your golfing company.
Professional Golfers Are Role Models
There are a few reasons that the professional golfer would take their hat off to shake hands, and indeed the act of shaking hands bears mention as well.
A sincere handshake offered to all at the end of the round extends friendship, respect, and commendation for completing the round, and removing the hat reinforces those values.
Removing Hats When Shaking Hands Preserves Golf’s Traditions
Professional golf is one of the most-viewed sports in the world, whether it is ladies’ or men’s, and as such, they represent the pinnacle of achievement, skill, and respect in the amateurs’ eyes watch and aspire to be them.
In this role of golf ambassador, the professional must exhibit the highest integrity and respect so that amateurs will emulate the behavior they see ( even if they don’t understand the reasons for it), which allows the great traditions of etiquette to be passed down.
The amateur or beginner now knows that the removal of headwear should accompany the handshake at the end of the round.
Removing Hats When Shaking Hands Teaches Etiquette
Another consideration is that professional golfers are probably better versed in the deeper traditions of golf than their amateur weekend counterparts and, as such, bear the responsibility to demonstrate the respect the game and the players deserve.
In doing so, they educate the up-and-coming players on the level of respect the game deserves and even though it is competitive and they may not win all the time, this is a game not about winning or losing, but the spirit in it which the game is played.
The tradition of respect, humility, and honor when removing the hat when shaking hands is preserved and when seen by millions of golfers worldwide reinforces the game’s core values and seeks to imprint those values for the next generation.
Removing Hats When Shaking Hands Shows Sportsmanship
In a world where the need to ‘WIN’ is becoming more and more prevalent, golf is a game where, as a golfer, you sometimes need to sincerely acknowledge and applaud a well-played round that was better than yours.
This is sportsmanship of the highest caliber, and while other sports often struggle to show this side over the aggressive ‘win-at-all-costs mentality, the professional golfer is required to demonstrate the highest level of integrity at all times.
The world needs genuine sportsmanship where the desire to win is overridden by all-encompassing respect for the opponent regardless of the result. Our opponents drive us to be better and deserve ultimate respect.
Why Do Pro Golfers Take Off Their Hats To Shake Hands Golfers Conclusion
The act of removing one’s hat when shaking hands is one of true humility and self-deprecation and shows deep respect for the game, its rules, and traditions, as well as for the other players and opponents.
In doing so, the professional golfer shows appreciation and gratitude for the game, the play, and the opportunity rather than the result and reminds us that there is still a place for respect and tradition in this modern world.