Where Do I Change My Shoes At A Golf Club?

Here we consider the delicate issue of where to change your shoes for golf

Darren Clarke takes the car boot option
Darren Clarke takes the car boot option
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Here we consider the delicate issue of where to change your shoes for golf - car park or clubhouse?

Some elements of golfing etiquette are occasionally hard to fathom. There are so many vagaries to contend with: Where should you stand? Who holds the flag? Where should this bunker rake go? When do you keep deathly silent and when do you shout "Fore" at the top of your voice? What do you wear and in what parts of the clubhouse is that attire suitable?

For someone with no clue of the complexities of golf club and course etiquette, a visit to a golf club is a minefield of potential scolding and mild embarrassment:

When you arrive, there’s a perfectly good parking place right by the front door of the clubhouse. How were you to know it was the Captain’s space? The Pyracantha hedge had sprawled and covered his little sign. You head, naturally for the bathroom marked “Gentlemen,” or “Ladies.” Why would you have looked further round the corner, down a dingy passage to a beaten-up old door featuring a faded “Visitors” sign? You step up to the tee with the eyes of a group of members burning right through you. How were you to know that Tuesday morning was “The Plucky Pheasant” intra-club society weekly roll-up? Apparently they’ve played at this time every week for 26 years. It’s so established they feel no need to book a slot, they’ve never had a problem before and now this… Yes, a potential minefield.

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One of the most challenging questions when arriving at any golf club is: where do I change my shoes? Most clubs don’t mind at all and won’t object if you choose to change your shoes at the boot of your car, or if you’d prefer to go into the clubhouse and use the locker rooms available there. Other clubs are more particular and hold a view that, as they provide changing-room facilities, this is where they expect golfers to prepare themselves for their game.

Our advice is: If in doubt, head to the locker rooms. Apart from anything else, it gives you the chance to sit down and put your shoes on properly in a warm, comfortable environment rather than hopping about in the cold and rain trying to ram your feet into your shoes as quickly as possible before your socks get wet.

A few minutes in the changing room gives you a moment to compose yourself before your game and to stride out towards the 1st tee, totally prepared for battle. You look a good deal more professional emerging stylishly from the clubhouse than stumbling towards the first tee across the car park with your laces untied.

A number of clubs don’t like the thought of their car park being covered in mud and grass by players beating their shoes together before putting them back in the car. At the door to the lockers, you’ll generally find a brush or pressurised air machine to clean the muck of your spikes – Far more effective than a cursory slap together.

Let’s face it, very few (if any) clubs today would actively ask that you change your shoes in the locker rooms but, if you have the time, these specially designed spaces surely provide a more pleasant place to complete your final pre-round preparations than out the back of your car.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?