The 1999 Open champion, pictured, delivered the message as he joined fellow major winner Catriona Matthew on a Scottish Golf Webinar.
One of the questions posed to Lawrie was about his suggestions for modernising the game due to “some people seeming determined to live in the past”.
In replying, the two-time Ryder Cup player, who has run a junior foundation in the north-east since 2001, said: “The biggest thing we get from kids who play in the foundation is that sometimes we don’t see them for a long time. We always ask them why and they say, ‘well, I don’t want to change my clothes to play golf.
“We want to grow the game and if they say they want to play in their sweat pants, then why can’t they play in their sweat pants?
“There’s just certain things that golf needs to get better at and we certainly need to relax a lot of rules as far as dress code, clubhouses and (stop) older members having a go at the juniors when we should be trying to encourage them.
“I know it is difficult, but we are trying to get kids into the game and people shouting at them, telling them not to do this and not to do that is not going to make me, if I was a kid, want to come back. I think we all need to get a little bit better at that.”
Matthew, the 2009 Women’s British Open champion, delivered advice to parents in reply to being asked why they should encourage kids to take up golf.
“I am trying obviously to get my two daughters into it,” she said, “and one of the benefits are that it is one of the few sports you can do all through your life.
“It is one of these sports that, if you can get into it at a young age, even if you don’t play it for ten years, it is much easier to pick up and you are not perhaps as intimidated to take it up again in your 30s. Just to get them introduced to it and know the basics, I think they’ve got a far better chance to take it up later in life.”