LPGA players have had to re-assess their dress code, after their governing body issued a new set of clothing guidelines designed eliminate leggings, short skirts and plunging necklines.

The new rules take effect this week and carry a $US1000 fine that doubles each time that player offends, reports Golf Digest magazine.

"Length of skirt, skort and shorts MUST be long enough to not see your bottom area (even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over," said LPGA president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman in an email outlining the new regulations.

The LPGA denies the rules mark a backward step for female players.


"The dress code requires players to present themselves in a professional manner to reflect a positive image for the game," said LPGA spokeswoman Heather Daly-Donofrio.

"This is not a regression, but rather a clarification of our policy for our members with references relevant to today's fashion styles."

Not everyone agrees. Stylish German player Sandra Gal, who has previously won Golf Digest's "Hottest Golfer" title, is one of those.

"The only point I agree with is that there should not be low-cut tops, but I've never really seen that to be an issue," said Gal.

"I think racerbacks look great on women and I think short skirts have been around forever, especially in tennis, and I don't think that's hurt the sport at all.

"Our objective is clear - play good golf - but part of being a woman, and especially a female-athlete, is looking attractive and sporty and fit.

"That's what women's tennis does so well ... why shouldn't we? I've talked to a few other players and, like me, they don't agree with it either."

Some have taken to social media to describe the new rules as "body-shaming".

"We should always focus on the talent and athleticism of our female sport stars, as opposed to their appearance," said the British Women in Sports group.

"Women and girls should wear what makes them feel comfortable when taking part in sport, and should not be deterred by unnecessary dress codes."

But others are more relaxed about the tighter guidelines.

"I may sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but this is our place of business and I think players should look professional," said American Christina Kim. "Do you really need ventilation for your side-boob?"

LPGA sources claim the policy changes have been driven by players themselves and had been debated for some time.

"Most of us keep things pretty conservative, so this only really applies to a few people," says American golfer Jane Park. "Honestly, I don't see why everyone is making such a big deal about it."