Challenging the dress code

Clare Wagstaffe, enjoys bus outings

In the 1960s I played tennis, and when my children were old enough to attend school, I swapped the tennis racquet for some golf clubs.

I played golf from the mid-60s to the 80s. I’d say I was an average golfer, but from casual golfing, I worked my way to being president of Northbridge Golf Club.

In those days the dress code meant that ladies wore dresses or skirts on the green. No women were allowed to wear pants or shorts.

It wasn’t until the younger girls came into the game that the rules started to change.

One day I joined my husband for a game of lawn bowls and so then I became a bowler.

I mainly enjoyed the social side of the activity.

I had to learn the conventions though. As part of my introduction to the sport, an opponent told me I was passing the ball to her with the wrong hand and scolded me for not following ‘proper etiquette’.

I enjoyed the sport for many years, though not the dress code. The uniform was strictly white and there was a red line on the mirror to match appropriate skirt length.

I got a bit vocal about the code and the old-fashioned rules, so they decided to make me President of the club. This put me in a good position to continue advocating for equal sporting opportunities for women and eventually the dress code and the rules began to relax.

I’m pleased to see that there is no longer a Men’s Bowling Association alongside a Ladies Bowling Association. Bowls NSW and Women’s Bowls NSW are now working towards encompassing all genders within one.