Long Equals Better? (Part 2)

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.

A drill instructor addressing United States Ma...

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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.

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2 Responses to Long Equals Better? (Part 2)

  1. Scott says:

    I also wonder about the application of the program…I agree that the numbers work and I understand that high handicappers (like me) need to be playing from shorter tees. The regular tees at my course are only 5900 and the majority of the golfers play them. But, it bugs me that the program seems to suggest that high handicappers are what slows down play. My regular group is actually known for playing quickly, even though we’re all shooting around 90. We play in less than 4 hours walking. What slows down the pace is the groups screwing around and hitting multiple balls, not knowing or caring about the basic rules of etiquette.

    Whenever I do play longer courses, I try to move up a tee. This apparently embarrasses some golfers, as though they were less manly for playing forward a bit. Whatever. I feel pretty good when I hit a 230 yard drive. (Good thing my short game is solid, because length is not my strength!)

    • ckprokop says:

      I agree, as do you, that there is a problem with players using tees that are too long for their game. I also agree with you that focussing on average length of drive may not be the best way to get at the speed of play problem. As you suggested, most slow play I see is due to players either messing around instead of playing or acting like a green jacket hangs in the balance on every shot.

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