Friday, May 27, 2011

Are You Man Enough To Step Forward?

   You know the type:

   Guys (no offense ladies but this seems to be a male ego issue) who insist on playing the back tees whenever and wherever they play golf. It doesn't matter that their handicap and shoe size match, they're taking it to the tips because that's what they think real golfers do.

   It's a macho thing, like 8.5-degree drivers for guys who should be hitting 10.5 drivers.

   I understand if it's a one-time thing, like trying to play Quail Hollow from the tournament tees or Carmel Country Club's newly redesigned South Course from its full 7,500 yards just once for the experience. But Rees Jones, who redesigned the South Course, said he stretched Carmel to 7,500 yards to allow flexibility in setting tees from one day to the next, not so the course would actually play that long.

   Jones pointed out that Congressional Country Club, host of the U.S. Open next month, measures more than 7,400 yards but will play closer to 7,200 for the Open.

   But back to the point of this. The USGA and the PGA of America recently announced an initiative called 'Tee It Forward' designed to get more golfers to play from shorter tees, not longer tees. The idea is to make the maddening game more enjoyable for everyone, even those of us who are too stubborn to move up one set of markers.

   The big push is July 5-17 but the organizations are rolling out the campaign details now.

   "The idea is to make golf more fun," Allen Wronowski, president of the PGA of America, said.

   If that's the goal, then maybe he can fix my short game.

   By moving up a set of tees, Wronowski and others in the golf establishment are saying, players will have more fun. Hitting a 7-iron into a green is more fun than hitting a hybrid, at least in theory anyway.

   Jack Nicklaus is on board. He thinks golfers should play shorter tees. He also thinks the golf ball should be rolled back so it doesn't go so far, which he's absolutely right about but which will probably never happen.

   Barney Adams, the clubmaker, has been pushing the idea of playing shorter tees for a while and he's on to something. Whether it catches on is a different question.

   Most of us don't hit it as far as we think we do unless there's a cart path involved. We see a 6,700-yard golf course and think that's fair enough. According to research by people who are better with computers than me, a 6,700-yard course for most of us is like an 8,100-yard course for the pros.

   I'll save you the trouble -- the pros don't play anything within a long-par 5 of 8,100 yards, if you could even find one.

  If you drive it 300 on average (come on now, you know you don't), it's fine to play from 7,150 yards to 7,400 yards.

   If you hit it 250 off the tee (don't make me do a Bushnell test to find out if you're telling the truth) you should play from 6,200 yards to 6,400 yards. Bet you play longer courses than that. I do.

   If you average 225, you need to be playing from up front at 5,800 yards, maybe 6,000. That's not me saying it, it's the guys who've studied it. I'm just saying...but they might be onto something.

   And, if you average 150 off the tee, you need to be playing tennis.

  These are only guidelines. In golf, you can pick your poison, most places anyway. In Scotland, they tell you which tees to play, based on your handicap. Not a bad idea. Plus, they can play 18 holes before we've reached the 14th tee over here.

    A quick round of golf. That's fun.



Anonymous said...

concur on all, except some of the super seniors & ladies hit it about 150 off the tee, play 9 in < 2 hrs, and stay healthy / happy, so more power to em

Julian Costella said...

Hey - this sounds like a great idea. If I can just keep my ego out of the way!!! Can't wait! Thanks for the tip!