Ealing Golf Club bans Adidas shoe
Ealing Golf Club in London has maintained a ban on one of golf’s most popular shoes, the Adidas Adizero Tour, after some of its greens experienced damage.
The decision to maintain the ban, which was first enforced in December when a spokesman for the club said “it looks like a pair of football boots have been walked across the greens”, comes after the club’s course manager, Greg Evans, and its director of golf, Ricky Willison, met with Adidas officials last week and tested a new version of the shoe.
At least two other golf clubs have also banned the shoe for similar reasons in recent months, but West Cornwall Golf Club lifted the ban when Adidas introduced a soft spike in the shoe, and North Hants Golf Club, which is also in discussions with Adidas, has said it will make a decision on removing the ban when it has tested new versions of the product.
However, at Ealing, despite what the club has described as a positive meeting with Adidas, the ban remains in force.
“We first noticed a problem when one of our members reported that someone was playing golf with football boots on,” said a spokesman for Ealing.
“This was very noticeable on the greens and, after some investigation from our course manager, we found out that there was an issue with certain types of golf shoes, in particular the Adizero Tour.
“We decided to put a ban on these shoes until further notice and several other clubs followed suit.”
The spokesman added that while the ban remains in place, Ealing hopes to lift it shortly.
“Adidas were very positive and came armed with their new ‘improved’ model as well as several others. The course manager tested the new shoes on the 18th green. What he felt is the new cleat, which is softer and at less of an angle, is a lot more green friendly than the old one, but based on today’s conditions these were still deemed unacceptable to the greens. We then tested other models, some of which have yet to be released, and these are a lot more friendly to the turf.
“We feel that the Adizeros, new and old, are still unacceptable for our greens, but we have been assured that as conditions improve this will change. For the time being, the ban continues but we will be monitoring the situation closely.
“We were delighted to hear that Adidas take this subject very seriously and have no issue with any other Adidas shoes.”
Ealing acknowledged that the ban “has caused quite a stir amongst the golfing community”, with many golfers posting angry comments online about the policy.
For example, one golfer wrote on Twitter: ‘Golf club snobbery at its worst. Some of the best golfers in the world wear these shoes and no one accuses them of damaging greens!’
However, other golfers have also defended Ealing’s stance. One head professional wrote on Golf Monthly’s forum that the original design of the shoes can cause damage to a club’s greens.
Ealing Golf Club is also well-known for having a very low height of cut on its greens – currently about 2.5mm. Several agronomists have criticised this approach, but even more golfers have praised the club’s greens in recent years.