Golf Coach - Loosen up Junior Dress Codes and Increase Participation

by Maura Hutchinson

One golf coach in Leeds is doing his bit to grow the game, even if some golfers don’t agree with his methods.

In May, Thomas Devine shared the above post on Twitter and received a mixed bag of feedback. The golf coach based at Oulton Hall in Leeds, was backed by his golf director who agreed to relax course dress codes for junior golfers.

While some responded negatively to the decision, Devine once again took to Twitter to defend the relaxed apparel choices of the kids he is coaching. Pointing out, among other things, that, “respectful behaviour can be taught regardless of attire.”

Two years ago, England Golf published their “Growing the game for the Future, The Children and Young People’s Plan for Golf 2017-2021.” The document was the organisation’s look at what needs to be done to encourage more young people to take up the game. In its research they found that in 2016, seven percent of all golf club members were juniors. In their four-year plan, England Golf was hoping to raise this to ten percent for a total junior membership of 67,500 across England.

One of the major issues people associate with taking up the sport is both the cost and the rigidity of the rules surrounding play. We can all agree that junior golfers are a hot commodity and a major way struggling courses and clubs will be able to continue. Therefore, making kids a priority in the future development of the game seems about right to us.

Surely getting more junior golfers to the course is facilitated by making it easier and fun for them to play. If this can be achieved by letting them feel more comfortable in what they’re wearing, is that a bad thing? As Devine points out on Twitter, “children will over time copy their idols so the hoodies will be ditched anyway.”