TPI’s Junior Hat Classification System

Hat Classification/Ranking System

We have come up with an extensive classification system that minimizes the Matthew and Relative Age Effects. It allows the coach to progress kids through the first three phases of development (Active Start, FUNdamentals and Learn to Play) using objective criteria and a developmental mind-set. This is really based off the same type of system used in Karate schools all over the world.

TPI uses a ten level hat color system. Hats will be earned in order from red-to-white, to blue-to-green, to black. Very much resembling the teeing system used at most golf courses.

Kids will be evaluated on 7 building blocks or proficiencies and depending on how they perform, they will be placed into a certain hat color. The seven building blocks that will be tested include:

  1. Golf Swing Technical Skills
  2. Shot Making Skills
  3. Course Management/Playing Skills and Performance Statistics
  4. Object Control FMS
  5. Locomotion FMS
  6. Physical Fitness Proficiency
  7. Rules, Etiquette, History, Motion Capture


Each child is placed through a series of tests that are graded with a pass/fail score. Total number of passed proficiencies will determine what hat color the child earns. Each child, regardless of their chronological age, must go through the screening process to optimize their junior golf school experience. Coaches have the power to screen kids on a regular basis or whenever they feel the child is ready to progress up the ranking system.

We have broken our grading structure down into three levels;

  1. Red Hat
  2. Red with White Stripe Hat
  3. White Hat
  1. White with Blue Stripe Hat
  2. Blue Hat
  3. Blue with Green Stripe Hat
  1. Green Hat
  2. Green with Black Stripe Hat
  3. Black Cap
  4. Black with Silver Stripe Hat

The Novice levels should focus on establishing the basics of the game; Swing, Skill and Playing. Gradings are made up largely of outcome based demonstrations of swing fundamentals by the junior. Any skills tests included require a 25% success rate for that particular test to pass at these early levels.

The Intermediate levels continue to build on the foundation created in the Novice levels. More skills are taught and each grading progressively introduces more skills tests that have to be successfully completed in order to pass the grading. By Blue Green Stripe Cap Grading, most of the skills tests require a 50% success rate to pass that particular test.

In addition, the Intermediate levels mark the start of the junior being required to prove that they can achieve set standards for areas such as Scoring Average, Greens in regulation, Putts per round and Scrambling (relative to the appropriate modified course).

The Advanced levels require highly developed shotmaking and playing standards in order to pass the gradings, which implies a well developed swing. The Black Silver Stripe Cap Grading requires amongst other things a low single figure handicap and most of the skills tests contained within the grading require a two-thirds success rate to pass the individual test.

A TPI Black Silver Stripe Cap junior golfer will be well on the way to becoming a feared competitor!

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