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Tee It Forward — Use Combo Tees to Have More Fun


F


or years, I have been a fierce advocate for golfers


moving up and playing from a set of tees that best suits their games. This even means teeing it up from a set of “non-traditional” tees (i.e., men from the forward tees). Until now, I would say the


results of this advocacy have been mixed. They are strong in theory, but lukewarm in practice. It is rare these days to run across a course that hasn’t been rated for men from the forward tees. But sadly, it is also rare to see men utilizing these tees.


I think that is about to


change. An initiative known as


Tee it Forward is gaining serious traction with the promise of lower scores, faster rounds, and, above all, more fun. Perhaps you’ve seen the ads and announcements featuring Jack Nicklaus and several Tour players extolling the virtues of moving up a tee box or two. Tee it Forward is a joint


effort between The PGA of America and USGA that aims to match the distance you hit a driver with a rec- ommendation for the total length of tees you should play. It tries to emulate what Tour players experience, in terms of the clubs that they hit into greens. How often do you see a pro on television hitting a fairway wood into a par 4 or flat out being unable to reach a green in regula-


By JIM COWAN Director of Course Rating and Handicapping


Email: jcowan@ncga.org


tion? Why play from a set of tees where this is an every- round experience? The recommendations


break down as follows:


Distance 18-Hole Yardages Driver


275 250 225 200 175 150 125 100


Recommended 6,700 - 6,900


6,200 - 6,400 5,800 - 6,000 5,200 - 5,400 4,400 - 4,600 3,500 - 3,700 2,800 - 3,000 2,100 - 2,300


I hit a good drive around


250 yards these days. Ac- cording to the Tee it Forward chart, I should play a set of tees in the 6,200–6,400 yard range. Until recently, I’ve rarely played such short tees. But at some of our course rating visits this season, I’ve moved up to the shorter tees and am becoming a convert. It’s refreshing to have a


scoring club in my hand, and to go on the offense when approaching a par 4, instead of playing defense with a mid-iron. It’s a relief to leave my hybrids in the bag on a par 3. It’s nice putting for birdies instead of chipping for them. But don’t take my word


for it. Reports of nationwide golfers who participated in Tee it Forward in 2012 indicate: • 56% played faster • 56% are more likely to


play more often • 83% hit more lofted


clubs into greens • 85% had more fun! • 93% continue to Tee


it Forward


But what if none of the tees at your course align


68 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2013


themselves with the yardage ranges? No problem. Your course


certainly does not have to go to the trouble or expense of building additional tee boxes. All you have to do is mix and match some of your existing tees into what our depart- ment affectionately refers to as “combo tees.” Based on such a shuffling of tees, just about any desired overall yardage can be achieved. Better yet, the issuance


of a combo tee rating does NOT require a formal visit by one of our rating teams. Instead, all we require is an email from a club official (i.e., professional, handicap chairman, etc.) outlining which combination of tees will be employed (i.e., white


Course Rating and Handicapping


tee on Nos. 1 and 2; red tee on No. 3; white tee on No. 4, etc.). There is just one final piece of the puzzle to imple- ment for the Tee it Forward concept to reach its full potential. Many clubs do install


and promote shorter and/or combo tees for everyday play, only to reverse course when it comes to tournaments. Come tournament time, for reasons that escape me, they revert back to a single, longer set of tees, counterproductive and counterintuitive to ev- erything that Tee it Forward stands for. What fun is that? The Handicap System


is extremely flexible and can easily and equitably adjust for golfers competing against each other from different tees (including both genders squaring off ). This adjust- ment (Section 3-5) is the final step to shorter tee bliss. So what


are you wait- ing for? Get on the combo tee bandwagon, Tee it Forward, and start having more fun!


Your course does not have to go to the trouble or expense of building additional tee boxes—just mix and match some of your existing tees into combo tees.


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