The Secret Secretary: We make juniors feel unwelcome

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu September 1, 2017 08:13

Sometimes golf club managers like to discuss controversial issues with their peers under the cloak of anonymity. Here, a ‘secret secretary’ explains that adult members who advise juniors on how to behave and what to wear can turn those children off the game

The long-held perception within golf is that the younger generation need to learn from the more established membership.

And in terms of etiquette, respect and rules, there is no doubt that juniors will benefit from advice. But clubs also need to be aware that this teaching is not just a one-way relationship – older members have a lot to learn from those who have far less experience.

One of the big frustrations within golf is that sometimes they think they don’t need to, perfectly illustrated by two separate incidents at a prestigious club I know well. In an adult-junior competition I witnessed one of the youngsters being reminded by his playing partner to take his cap off when shaking hands on the 18th green.

By contrast, despite watching the lad take his cap off, one of the players in the other group did not follow suit, instead keeping their hat on.

The ‘offending’ player was not the junior however, it was actually the adult and, of more concern – he was the former president of the club.

I know this person has an exceptional character and it was merely a lapse of concentration after a long day’s golf in hot conditions, but it does illustrate that the responsibility of learning is not just with the youngsters.

As the acclaimed US basketball coach John Wooden once said: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”.

In fairness to this club, it showed a few months earlier that it is willing to adapt with a significant change in its clubhouse clothing policy – a decision that was made as an indirect result of another incident at a junior competition.

Whilst hosting a successful event for boys and girls, the club’s more senior members took it upon themselves on the day to enforce the ‘strict’ clothing policy on anyone attending – mainly the parents, family members and spectators.

Although no complaints were made by those who faced the criticism, such was the embarrassment felt by the club at their treatment that a more ‘family friendly’ clothing policy was introduced a few months later.

The fact that an established club with a rich history has the foresight to look at the future without blinkered vision is heartening.

If only it was the case throughout golf.

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Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu September 1, 2017 08:13
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  1. Adie September 1, 16:42

    Forget about taking hats off and shaking hands…just let them wear their caps back to front and high five each other instead!!!

    Reply to this comment
  2. ivan September 4, 11:57

    Golf etiquette was once one of golf’s jewels. But what significance is there in removing one’s titfer at the end of a round if fellow players have not afforded you the courtesy of shaving for several days?

    Reply to this comment
  3. tim September 8, 11:05

    This is so true but it’s not just for Juniors it involves all ages , recalling the time at a union 4BBB my partner turned up with shorts that where deemed ‘too long’ dby the old rear guard of yesteryear. So okay he pro got another 20 quid in his till from my mate. But have we ever played that course again ? No and I never says in conversation that it’s a course I’d play again either.

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