By Martin Graham
AN AMERICAN tourist has been banned from wearing Scotland’s national dress at one of the country’s premier golf courses.
Dr Jeffery Foster, who is from Louisville, Kentucky and claims Scottish ancestry, had intended to play a round at Royal Troon while wearing one of the 14 kilts that he owns.
But snooty officials at the prestigious club told him that the kilt flouted their rules about bare legs on the course, and sent him back to his hotel to change into a pair of trousers.
Dr Foster said: “As a 13th generation Scots-American I own 14 traditional kilts and often play golf in the states wearing a kilt.
“I intended to play every round in Scotland kilted, in honour of my heritage and homeland.
“I played Turnberry the first day kilted and had a blast.
“The second day I played at Royal Troon.
“I showed up properly kilted and was denied permission to play at a pre-arranged and pre-paid tee-time because there is a rule against men playing in shorts.
“The official of record at Royal Troon equated my kilt to shorts.
“If I refused to change into pants I was told I would be refused permission to the course, and that our foursome would forfeit its tee-time and pre-paid monies, thus none of us would be allowed to play.
“Our driver had to race me 20 minutes back to the hotel to change into pants and I barely made it back to the course just as our group was teeing off the first tee.”
Foster was on an eight day tour of Scotland in August with three friends, and said that other courses including Carnoustie and Kingsbarns had been more welcoming of his unusual golfwear.
He said: “They thought it more than appropriate, seeing as Scotland is the birthplace of golf and the home of its original rules.”
Royal Troon’s website says ‘Denim jeans, shorts, tee-shirts and training / sports shoes are not permitted in the clubhouse or on the courses. Ladies are permitted to wear tailored shorts.’
Colin Farquharson, editor of the online magazine Scottish Gold View, said: “Royal Troon has been stuffy back to the days when Colin Montgomery’s father was secretary.
“As long as kilted golfers wear pants underneath I cannot see any problems.”
Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomery learned to play at Royal Troon.
The club was founded in 1878 and first hosted the open in 1923.
It is the only club to be honoured by the Queen, receiving the accolade in 1978.