May 27, 2011
The blue tees at Shawnee Country Club stretch out to just under 6,400 yards for the par-70 18 hole course.
You won’t find me there.
I once thought it would be a good idea to take turns playing the course from the two main men’s tees—one round from the blues, and the next round from the whites, which test Shawnee golfers at just under 6,000 yards.
I believe the correct technical term for this strategy is the word “mistake”.
In large part, that’s because on my good driving days, the best ones only go about 225 yards. For several of the long holes from the blue tees, therefore, I was faced with hitting a fairway wood or a hybrid for my second shots, with no guarantee that the ball would finish on the green. More often than not, the added pressure to make a good second shot with a long club led to a duff or squiff. That meant my third shot to the green would be a full wedge, or something longer.
Par was nearly always out of the question, and bogey was no guarantee, either.
I’m still a bogey golfer from the white tees, but not having as many long second shots makes my rounds a lot more fun.
The United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America have noticed the same thing about millions of other golfers. Thanks to some intriguing statistical analysis comparing the professional game to us mere amateurs, the two organizations announced this week a new initiative to improve scores and fun for the nation’s golfers.
The Tee It Forward program encourages golfers to play their favorite courses at the length best suited to their particular talents, by reference to their average driving distance. Inspired by Barney Adams, the founder of Adams Golf, the idea is to give amateurs as many chances to use their 6- or 7-irons for their approach shots as the touring professionals often do in their competitions.
The organizations believe that moving up to the right tee boxes will also speed up the pace of play, a nagging problem especially for public play golf courses.
The statistical analysis supporting the move-up is a bit startling. For example, many golfers on par-72 layouts think they should play tee boxes that take up 6,500 to 6,700 yards. For PGA Tour players, that is proportionally equivalent to an 8,100 challenge, hundreds of yards longer than what they face during most tournaments.
The PGA and USGA will be promoting this new initiative during the upcoming Senior PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and the U.S. Women’s Open. In addition, the organizers propose that local golf courses ask their players to Tee It Forward from July 5 through 17, which coincides with the PGA of America’s Family Golf Month.
Accompanying this column is a chart from the Tee It Forward folks, showing the recommended total yardages based on average driving distance. Take a look at these guidelines, and see if your game could be enhanced by switching to a slightly shorter golf course.
Recommended 18-hole Yardages
PGA Tour Pro
7,600 – 7,900
7,150 – 7,400
6,700 – 6,900
6,200 – 6,400
5,800 – 6,000
5,200 – 5,400
3,500 – 3,700
2,800 – 3,000
Local Club Tournament Results
The Kings Creek Country Club Ladies 18 hole group played a low net game May 19. Cory Warther took first place in the first flight, followed by Bernie Reid.
In the second flight, Terry Derville finished first, with Christine Sullivan taking second. Bernie Reid won closest to the hole on the eighth hole with a four-foot, nine-inch result.
On May 23, the Kings Creek Ladies 9-hole group competed in a Low Net Number 2 round. Evelyn Diggs took first place, followed by Evelyn Vanderloo in second and Sally Horvath in third. Diggs and Vanderloo also won first and second respectively in the overall low net category, with Susan Spence taking third.