by Steve Yates,
Head Golf Professional
By now you've heard of the "Tee it Forward" program and its intention to increase enjoyment and give people more exposure to the game by setting guidelines for what distance golfers should play which simulates the sensation a tour player would have while playing and also benefit everyone by increasing the pace of play. If we take what the "Tee it Forward" guidelines are and translate it for our membership, most of club should be playing somewhere short of the green tees. I don't think any of us needs to feel like a tour player, but wouldn't it be fun to hit more greens in regulation and use your irons instead of fairway woods to do it. My hope is to use this program to remove any stereotypes associated with specific tees. The concept is simple. Lets increase your enjoyment by allowing you to play from where you want and adjust the strokes you will receive accordingly. The elephant in the room has always been the RED tees and I've asked myself "How do I get some guys to try them and some of my ladies off of them"? Some men have moved past the RED to the GREEN because they didn't want to "Put on a skirt" and play from where the ladies do, but are perfectly happy to play from tees dramatically shorter. Others moved to the GREEN because they assumed they weren't allowed to play from the RED. Some women have always played the RED because they thought the GREEN were only for senior men. Somewhere roughly 10 years ago when redesigning the scorecards one of the things I did was take away the wording "Ladies Tees" and its association with the RED tees. It's taken a long time but recently we've had a breakthrough and a few people have tried different tees and the response has been good. Men are trying out the RED and some of the women are playing from the GREEN. The NHWGA is letting their players decide if they would prefer the RED or the GREEN. In a recent MGA event everyone played from the RED tees. In Proshop BUDDY events you can choose which tees you prefer by noting it on the signup sheet. I feel we're getting close to the point where everyone can play from where they want without the fear of being made fun of. Please understand we are not trying to force you to do anything, we just want you aware that the option is there for you if you wish. I've had suggestions to help accomplish this. "Change all the tee colors" or "Give the tees names, not colors". Both are good suggestions and not out of the question down the road, but why not start with just understanding that by playing from where you want all your doing is playing a different golf course. In my next column I'll explain how tees are rated to establish a course rating and slope for each set of tee and how your handicap is adjusted to even the playing field. If you have any questions or want more information please come by or drop me an email.