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Tee It Forward

March 30, 2015

Why Picking The Right Tees is Better for Everybody

Let’s face it: golf is a tough game to master. When you play better, you feel better and enjoy your time on Picking The Right Teesthe course more. Becoming a better player usually means an investment in the latest equipment, an appointment with a Section Professional for a lesson, and plenty of practice time on the range and putting green. But what if there was a way to instantly improve your experience? Maybe it’s time to tee it

Tee It Forward

The PGA of America and the USGA introduced the TEE IT FORWARD campaign in 2011 to encourage players to select the set of tees best suited to their driving distance, with a goal of improving pace of play and making the game more enjoyable for all players. Recent Congressional Gold Medal award-winner Jack Nicklaus was recruited to promote the initiative in a video and a chart was created to help people find a course yardage to choose the right tees:

Guidelines for Selecting Tees
Driver Distance Recommended18-Hole Yardages
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 2,100-2,300

The National Golf Course Owners Association has a page about the initiative, with several promotional tools that courses can use to help educate golfers about the program. What’s in it for the golf facility? Speedier play results in more rounds and happier golfers who come back and play more often.

Course Guidelines

Many courses recommend tees based on handicaps. For example, Willingers Golf Club in Northfield recommends the following:

  • Tournament tees (6809 yards):       0-5 handicap
  • Championship tees (6233 yards):   6-14 handicap
  • Regular tees (5859 yards):               15-28 handicap
  • Forward tees (5166 yards)               12+ handicap (women)

Their tees are also colored black, blue, white and red, which tends to create problems with “traditional” golf notions, including “ladies tees,” and psychological yardage barriers. Course architects can help pace of play by being aware of these issues when designing (or redesigning) courses, while superintendents can help with daily placements of tees and pins. ASGCA architect Bill Amick wrote a great post about this very topic.

Pride can make it difficult for some golfers to move up, but this is a change the industry needs to embrace to make the experience better for everyone (and grow the game).

Do you help your players find the right tee?

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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