Having championed the idea for many years, especially as I grew older, I definitely agree that more golfers would enjoy the game of golf if they moved up a set of tees. Barney Adams, the founder of Adams Golf, has been rallying support for the idea, too, urging men to move up 500 yards and women 1,000 yads. It’s nice to see the PGA of America and the United States Golf Association get on the bandwagon with “Tee It Forward.”
The program designed for golf facilities during the July 5-17 time period will encourage golfers to play the course from a length that is aligned to their average driving distances, allowing them better chances to reach the greens in regulation with a variety of irons rather than hybrids or fairway woods that sometimes might not even reach the greens.
It just seems too many golfers, because of egos and/or urgings from playing partners or because tournament organizers ask them to do so, just bite off more course than they can handle.
While I have started playing more from the 6,000 level, I was asked to go back to almost 6,800 yards in a recent tournament at Innisbrook Resort. There were four of the longer par 4s where I could not even get home even with a 3-wood. The par 5s were the only holes where I had short irons to the greens. It really was not fun.
No new sets of tees will be needed for “Tee It Forward” as most facilities already have multiple tee options. Golfers who play 6,500 to 6,700 yards will just move up to 6,000 to 6,200 and those already at those tees will move up to 5,700 to 5,800. It would be nice to see a second set of forward—notice I did not say women’s—tees that would allow higher handicap women to even play from around 4,500.
“We believe that by moving up another set of tees, golfers will experience an exciting new approach to the game that will produce more enjoyment and elevate their desires to come back and play even more golf,” said PGA President Alan Wronowski.
USGA President Jim Hyler echoed his feelings: “This is an innovation that we will think will appeal to golfers of all skill levels because it gives them a new challenge that better aligns with their abilities.”
In addition to being more enjoyable for golfers, moving up a set of tees will help another problem area by speeding up play.
Shortening the playing fields just might be the answer for the game to grow.
TEE IT FORWARD
Driver distance Recommended tees
PGA Tour 7,600 to 7,900
300 7,150 to 7,400
275 6,700 to 6,900
250 6,200 to 6,400
225 5,800 to 6,000
200 5,200 to 5,400
175 4,400 to 4,600
150 3,500 to 3,700
125 2,800 to 3,000