A lot of golfers today, play the game from the wrong tee box! And then we all wonder why the game seems to hang up with slow play.
For years the tee boxes at golf clubs were designated not by position or color, but by the title: “ladies tees,” “men’s tees,” “pro tees” or some such variation. As a result it was considered unusual or at least unexpected for a woman to play from the men’s tee box or unheard of for a guy to set up his shot from the “ladies tee” box. Result? It didn’t matter how long or short you drove your ball, you were stuck in a tee box that might not be appropriate for your game. Guys, especially those just beginning the game or seniors who could no longer hit those long drives were forced to play from tee boxes that were too far from the green to ever get on in regulation. And a woman who hit a long ball had to adjust her drive and shorten up on the stick.
No longer! Get your head around it. The PGA and USGA have teamed up to support TEE IT FORWARD!
TEE IT FORWARD encourages all golfers to play the course at a length that is aligned with their average driving distance. Golfers can speed up play by utilizing tees that provide the greatest playability and enjoyment.
“Simply put, TEE IT FORWARD can make golf much more fun for millions of people,” said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. “We believe that by moving up to another set of tees, golfers will experience an exciting, new approach to the game that will produce more enjoyment and elevate their desire to come back and play even more golf.”
Practically speaking, what does this mean? Forget the old designations for tee boxes! Think of them now as FORWARD TEES, MIDDLE TEES, BACK TEES. You play the game from the tee box that is appropriate for your average driving distance. Here’s a chart from the PGA.com website you can use as a reference.
|Driver Distance||Recommended 18-Hole Yardage|
|275||6,700 – 6,900|
|250||6,200 – 6,400|
|225||5,800 – 6,000|
|200||5,200 – 5,400|
|175||4,400 – 4,600|
|150||3,500 – 3,700|
|125||2,800 – 3,000|
|100||2,100 – 2,30|
Here’s an example of how this works: Let’s say you are about to play 18 holes at a course that is a total of 5,200 yards if played from the Blue or Back Tees and only 4,400 yards if played from the Red or Forward Tees. Your average drive goes 175 yards. From which tee box should you play?
If your club is following the new TEE IT FORWARD program, you should be playing from the Forward Tees. Not only are you giving yourself a chance for a better score, but you will be hitting fewer shots, lose fewer balls and have an overall better experience. However, if your average driving distance is closer to 200 yards, you should step back and play from the Back Tees.
As far as adjusting your handicap to the new system, you simply input the appropriate tee box information when you post your scores. The computer does the rest.
If you still need encouragement, here is a quote from Jack Nicklaus who is a proponent of the new system: (from the PGA website) Jack shares the record with Walter Hagen for most PGA Championship titles with five and also shares the U.S. Open record with four victories, is a proponent of TEE IT FORWARD.
“I love the game of golf but I will be the first to tell you that there are things about our game we need to improve,” Nicklaus said. “Now The PGA of America and the USGA have come together to develop ways to that can make the game more attractive and more enjoyable. Tee It Forward is the first of many initiatives we have discussed together, and I think families around the country will enjoy alternate formats like this to make the game more fun.
“All of us deeply involved in the game constantly encourage golfers of all skill levels to play the proper tees, but too often golfers want to bite off as much of the golf course as they can. What ends up suffering is their scorecard and their overall enjoyment. This program should help stimulate people to play the proper tees and maximize the golf experience.”
What do you think? Is it time to change the mindset and the system? Pick up the pace of golf? If more golf clubs adopted this new program I believe the game would be that much more enjoyable for everyone.
What do you think?