I got into a discussion with a couple of buddies recently in regards to the TEE IT FORWARD initiative set forth by the United States Golf Association and the PGA of America. The basic idea of the initiative is to encourage golfers to play for tees that are better suited to their playing abilities. The concept actually makes great sense, but the feeling I get from a lot of the guys I play with is they are “too macho” to play from one or two tee boxes closer.
I am a 10.6 handicap and post all my scores after each round on the website for Silverhorn Golf Club, which is the course I used to have a monthly range membership. Along with monthly membership, I get an established USGA Handicap Index. Looking at my last ten scores, they go like this: 86, 88, 87, 84, 86, 84, 81, 82, 84, 83. These scores are all played from one tee box up from the tips and were played on four different courses around San Antonio; The Palmer Course (3), Silverhorn Golf Club (4), Fair Oaks Golf Club (1) and Canyon Springs (2). I like to think of myself as a competitive golfer and someone who works on my game a couple times a week. On average, I would feel comfortable in saying my average drive distance is between 265-270. On the courses I play around San Antonio, that leaves me with a second shot of less than 150 yards on just about every par-4.
According to the TEE IT FORWARD initiative, most amateur golfers hit their approach shots on a par-4 from between 185 to 205 yards. Also, according to the USGA, most bogey golfers hit accurate approach shots within 170 yards. They contend, if you TEE IT FORWARD, you will be hitting your approach shots from 145-165 yards which in return will allow you to hit more lofted irons and possibly hit more greens. In return, you will play faster and more importantly have more fun.
If you look at all the numbers provided by the USGA, I think the most dramatic number that stands out the most is the fact most amateurs play from a golf course about 6,700 yards. This is proportionally equivalent to a PGA Tour professional playing on a golf course that is 8,100 yards. Think about that. Just because you think you are too macho to play from the forward tees, you are effectively playing a course equivalent to 700 yards longer than the average PGA Tour course plays. PGA Tour pros don’t even play a golf course that long!
So getting back to my personal playing numbers from earlier in the article. In my opinion, the state of my golf game would warrant me to probably continue to play the tees I always play. If I backed up to the tips, I would effectively be moving into the area the USGA says the average amateur starts to lose accuracy because I would be outside of 170 yards. If I moved up one set of tees closer, I would be probably hitting a lot more sand wedges and lob wedges into most greens on my approach shots on the par-4’s. Now I am not saying I am a stud golfer, I know my place on the golfer food chain. But I do think I am better than a bogey golfer and but I am not quite a single digit handicapper. On top of that, I am far off from becoming a scratch golfer which is my goal one day eventually.
Think about this also for one minute before you think you are too good to play from one tee box closer. If you have ever dreamed about going over to Ireland or Europe to play one of the famous courses across the pond, you will actually have to prove what your established handicap is before they let you play. A lot of them say you have to be at least a 22 handicap to play because of the difficulty of the courses.
These same three buddies I had this conversation with at Canyon Springs two weeks ago all shot above 93 from the black tees; which is 6,677 yards. I think they all would have easily shot in the high mid-to-high 80’s if we would have played from gold tees which are 500 yards closer. I shot 83 and probably would have broke 80 playing from the gold tees.
But you know what, I am more pissed that I had two three putts and two lost balls in the woods or I would have broken 80 from the gold tees. Oh well, the game is coming along. But if you have a chance next time, play from one tee box closer and I think we can all speed up play just a little bit and have just a little more fun!
What do you think? Tell me below or let the world know on Twitter @Front9Back9.