Story/Interview September 7, 2022
Golf superstar has more time to practice thanks to online schooling
Brighton-based Thady White has been swinging golf clubs since he was one, after receiving a plastic set from his grandparents. His father, Leon, soon took him to the driving range and practice courses, to share his passion with his son. This passion would take him from winning his first local tournament to playing in international competitions in America.
He’s determined to be a professional one day. But for now at age 14 , he’s thrilled to be able to balance perfecting his golf skills with studying his favourite subjects – Maths and Chemistry – through online schooling.
Thady tells us how he joined King’s InterHigh in January 2022 for Year 10, and why attending King’s InterHigh is a “no-brainer” for anyone balancing study and talent. His mother Elly, meanwhile, explains how he’s been representing his school on the golf course.
Elly remembers when Thady got his first set of golf clubs. He was one, and they were a Christmas present from his grandparents. He soon started going to the driving range with his father, and that’s when the family discovered that he had a talent for golf.
He and his father would grow close as they practised together. Although they could “clash heads” from time to time, Elly reassures us that this was nothing more than a parent and child disagreeing with each other – even if Leon had good advice to share. But when you’re a child, who wants to listen to their parents!
Despite his young age, Thady had an independent mind – which became very apparent on the golf course. “My dad would tell me to aim at a certain point, even if I didn’t want to aim that way,” he says. “I didn’t want the constant guidance. I wanted to learn to play for myself!” When he was six, he won a Christmas Cup put on by his local club.
Thady has several more achievements to his name. When we asked him for his favourite so far, he answers with a big success from earlier this year in 2022. He played in a Faldo Series event – a junior tour organised by professional golfer Sir Nick Faldo. England team members took part, and Thady led the tournament during its first day. It’s safe to say that officials were impressed with his performance.
He’s also played in IMG World Championships and US Kids Golf Championships, jetting off to San Diago and Pinehurst, North Carolina to do so. Do they have time to be tourists while they’re in America, or are these trips all about golf? Elly says they try and make time for both. “Because it’s summer, we’ll try and go to Florida and visit Disney World,” she says. “We went to Newport Beach, too. We try and have a break from the golfing, and have fun if we can.”
Finding balance with online schooling
A talent like Thady’s requires lots of practice, and attending traditional school made finding time for this challenging. Practising in winter was particularly difficult, with the school day not ending until 4pm. By this time, it’s already dark outside, and the nearest floodlit driving range was a 40-minute drive away.
Things weren’t easier in summer. There may have been more daylight, and more time to practise, but he still had schoolwork to do, and he’d be expected to study during half terms and other breaks. Thady doesn’t shy away from hard work, but he and Elly knew he needed to split his time between golfing and studying. So, they turned to online schooling.
After several months of research, they discovered King’s InterHigh. They were initially hesitant to enrol. “It was like jumping into the unknown,” says Elly, not knowing how teaching would work. “But the interactions with teachers and the software in use are the best they can be.”
Online homeschooling also suits Thady’s learning style better. With lessons running for 30 minutes, traditional school classes sometimes felt like memory tests, which didn’t give him much time to process new information. That’s not a problem now. “At King’s InterHigh, I like that I can go back and rewatch lessons,” he explains. “It’s great. And I can access all the resources.”
Since joining, he has more choice over when he practises golf. He can do this in the morning and study in the afternoon, or vice versa. But he enjoys attending live lessons as much as possible.
Something else which impressed Elly was King’s InterHigh’s sense of community, and she mentions the opportunities to go abroad, join clubs and take part in sporting events. “Having those chances to make connections is really good,” she says.
How has Thady’s and his parents’ relationship changed since he started online schooling? Whilst it’s a new experience they’re all getting used to, he says they’ve been spending more time together at home.
Sometimes Elly will sit in with him on lessons. “It’s good to see what he’s learning and doing.” What skills has he learned? “I was quite impressed with his Maths!” Teachers started giving him extra projects to work on, which pleased her. His English is coming along nicely, too.
“I can see myself improving, and I think my teachers can see that too,” he says. “I used to not get my points across clearly with essays. That’s changing.”
Maths and Chemistry are his favourite lessons. “I like figuring stuff out, and challenging my brain,” he says. So, we can expect to see him in the lab, rather than the library.
Representing King’s InterHigh on the golf course
Thady says joining King’s InterHigh is a no-brainer for anyone trying to balance their talent with studying, and is a big advocate for the school amongst his fellow golf stars. He has several friends that find going to school and playing golf challenging.
When his friends ask how school is, Thady says great. He sees them take interest when he explains how he can balance golf alongside his education, and be very flexible with recorded lessons. They should consider coming to King’s InterHigh because “Mum and dad have always said you can do anything you want to do if you’re determined enough.”
Elly agrees. She says King’s InterHigh is the best option for his studies, and for becoming the person he wants to be.
And who is that person? He answers that easily: “I want to be a professional golfer!” The pathway he will take along the way to achieve his dreams and become one is still open for exploration. He and Elly have considered going to university in America, and spending more time in golf tournaments there. He’s also thinking about studying Maths at university.
Right now, Thady is happy to be with King’s InterHigh. Elly is pleased that he’s an Ambassador and what this has meant: receiving a golfing uniform to represent his school on the field. “Even though he’s not part of a traditional school, he can show he’s part of a community,” she says. “It’s nice that his talent is being recognised and he can represent his school. It’s an honour to be asked to do that.”