How do you actually convince golfers to 'Tee it Forward'? You could charge by the tee box
The PGA of America and USGA through Play Golf America have partnered up to promote the new “Tee it Forward” campaign. Aimed at speeding up the game and making it a little easier, it pleads golfers to play from the right tee box by using their average driving distance.
I’m all for speeding up pace of play and making golf a happy place, but I don’t think any PR campaign is going to change the minds of the common golfer, who generally need the assistance of a shovel to the head in order to alter any habits. We are, generally speaking, a masochistic bunch who take sick pleasure in the odd O.B. and failed carry over water. A couple weeks ago at Kingsbarns Golf Links, I watched an old man I was paired up with chop away at a ball in an awful pot bunker on the 14th hole about 25 times before finally giving up. And as he climbed out of the trap, he was chuckling, shaking his head. It certainly didn’t ruin his day.
If you teed it up at Whistling Straits or the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, would you rather shoot 100, but birdie a 600-yard par 5 – or shoot 90 with a birdie on a 500-yard par 5? That’s why each course, both tough as nails, allow the option to play at a stupid-tough length even during daily resort play. The Ocean Course in particular will set up their course Aug. 1-7 to PGA Championship specs, making it in all likelihood the toughest play on the planet during that week.
I was reminded in Scotland earlier this month that if you don’t set up a back tee box, nobody will play it. Very few of the traditional clubs here set up a layout longer than about 6,500 yards for daily play. Plunked down 140 pounds to play the Old Course in St. Andrews and think you can play the British Open tees? Think again. You’re playing off the member tees like everyone else. As a result, most people I meet who play the Old brag about how well they shot. It’s really not that tough from 6,400 yards.
But in the United States, most courses offer the chance to play a course about as long as possible every day of the week. And on tournament golf courses, most golfers would rather taste what the pros play rather than score well from an inferior set.
So then, why not charge by the tee box? If you don’t have a handicap certificate and can’t prove you’re good enough to play off the 7,000-yard tips or the 6,600-yard blues, courses could make you pay extra to play them. So the tips are 10 percent longer than the whites? Charge 10 percent more.
Or, you could even offer a discount to play the red tees. Sometimes when I’m on a golf marathon and a little tired heading into my P.M. round, I’ll play the reds and it’s a lot of fun. And it’s a quick round.
Setting a different price per tee box just might help convince a few golfers to play a box up and thus “tee it forward.”
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Moving up essentially leaves the long irons in the bag most of the time, or parks the driver in the bag.
For the past year, I have been attempting to get our own golf board here at Palm Aire CC in Pompano Beach. Fl to fully understand the rationale of the PGA/USGA's Tee it Forward campaign.
I'm fairly certain they get it, but much more needs to be done with other golf clubs and tournament directors.
Just a few recent cases will explain why there is much more to be done to "sell" the T It Forward concept:
In the past several months, I have played in three charity golf tournaments where everyone was required to hit from the white tees (back tees) where so many of us have moved away from for the same reasons illustrated in the T it Forward campaign.
Why would one want to go back to the back tees after teeing it forward for the past several years? He or she is truly unable to participate to the degree that they did from teeing it forward. It also does not permit one to use his or her t shots unless the long hitters on his/her team is out of bounds, etc.
Lastly, I can understand the problem in these charity events when it comes to specialty holes where one can win a car for a hole in one , or win an expensive vacation in some exotic island, etc.. Perhaps, on those "specialty"holes, those who normally hit from the senior (forward) tees, could be made to hit a little further back, but that should be the only concession I would consider making.
I commend those who are promoting the Tee if Forward campaign; however, much more needs to be done to "sell" the concept to clubs across the country, including adopting it in their various tournaments , golf outings and member-guest tournaments.
Sanford C. (Sandy) Milwit , Board Member Palm Aire Men's Golf Association (PAMGA) Pompano Beach , Fl