DARWIN, Australia (CNN) – On a golf course in northern Australia, everything is swinging — because 30 players are in the nude. Well, not completely nude. The golfers strolling around the Humpty Doo golf course near Darwin have compromised by wearing golf shoes and a hat to protect them from the sun.
The Wandering Bares golf event was organized by 69-year-old nudist Bruce Jensen and his wife, Julie, who run the BruJul Nudist Retreat. “We presented the event before the club committee. It took months of negotiating, but they finally said we could play naked golf,” Jensen said.
However, the committee did blanch at the naked golfers playing on the eighth and ninth fairways, which are situated in full view of the clubhouse. As a result, those two holes had to be skipped. “But, as it was such a success, I’m going to push to play in those fairways next year,” added Jensen.
“The clubhouse is keen, is already trying to schedule us in for next year,” Jensen said.
Playing nude golf does present its challenges, like the dangers of chafing when carrying heavy golf bags. “There was one attendee who, instead of using a buggy, was using his shoulder to carry his clubs, which was a mistake,” Jensen said. “You can only do that when you are wearing a shirt as it provides a layer of protection.”
“He complained about his shoulder being sore, but it was all in good jest,” Jensen continued.
Jensen’s curiosity in naturism was piqued in his 20s while living in Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney, after reading an article on nudists sunbathing at a nearby beach. Jensen felt like he was missing out. He recalled, “On the same day, I shot straight down, dived in to the ocean with no gear on, and I was a converted nudist. I loved it.”
It took him a bit of time to convince Julie to join him in the pursuit of nudism, but he eventually persuaded her. “She was a lady who loved going to the beach, and the furthest she had gone was being topless, never fully naked,” Jensen said. “But after going to nudist retreats, it did not take much convincing. She loved it.”
For Jensen, nudism creates a strong community atmosphere among like-minded people.
And when it comes to playing sports au naturel, Jensen is not alone there either. Since 2009, on the weekend after Labor Day, U.S. nudist retreat White Thorn Lodge in Pennsylvania has hosted an annual naked volleyball event, bringing together 90 teams to participate.
Also, an all-female crew discovered that the secret to ease the physical burden of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean was to do it naked. Team skipper Debbie Beadle explained that seawater seeping inside of clothing increases friction against the skin, causing sores. Rowing naked gives you the ability to dry quicker, instead of having wet clothes.
But for Jensen, nude golf is a liberating way to enjoy the game. “It puts a different connotation on how you’re swinging,” he said.
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