After puzzling over the Tee it Forward program, and particularly trying to figure out why my initial reaction was cautious to negative, I’ve decided the following:
First, I reacted as I did because I immediately react negatively when someone tells me “This is how you’ll have more fun.” It sounds condescending, and is a bit too much like “You’ll thank me for this later.” I’m trying hard to get past that reaction.
Second, I almost never experience the 5 and 6 hour rounds this is supposed to correct, so maybe I’m not the best judge. The few times I have been involved in a debacle like that, moving the tees forward wouldn’t have helped. The snail’s pace was caused by players taking forever pacing off yardages, reading putts, shooting the breeze instead of playing, not letting faster players play through, sharing clubs, etc. The slow players seemed to be having a fine time, so increasing their enjoyment wasn’t an issue.
Third, I’ve had my enjoyment ruined more often by overzealous, brain-dead marshals and marine drill sergeant style starters than by slow players. I’ve had too many marshals tail my group when we’re well under the suggested pace of play or tell our foursome to catch up to a twosome ahead of us when we were already ahead of pace. The marshal saw an open hole and knee-jerk reacted with a “pick it up” rather than paying attention to the situation. I solve that problem by not patronizing those courses again.
Fourth, too many golfers do play from the wrong tees, so there is a problem to be addressed. I see players who have no business there playing from the back tees and tips. They usually spray the ball all over the course, and would probably do that from the forward tees too. Maybe moving up would help. Maybe not. They’d probably tell you they hit it 300 yards anyway. I have seen some golfers, especially seniors, get back in the game and enjoy it more by moving up to the forward tees. But these guys were long-time golfers who were honest about their games. They would honestly and accurately tell you they hit a drive 175 yards at best.
Finally, I figured out my average driving distance by looking at my home course scorecard and doing the math based on my usual second shot distances. I came out with a 250-260 yard average drive, which matches correctly to the recommended length of the course from the tees I play. (Regular tees at my course – 6273 yards. Recommended course length from tee it forward – 6200-6400.) I play to an 8 handicap from those tees and my rounds with a four or fivesome average 4 hours or less. So, the tee it forward guidelines fit me. I also compared another courses tee guidelines based on handicap to that courses length and the tee it forward guidelines, and they matched.
So I’ll stay agnostic on this one. The numbers seem to work, but I wonder about the application. We’ll see how it goes.