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Tee It Forward campaign - Good? Bad? Ugly? (Other?)

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OK -- there have been several threads / discussions on pace of play .. and some strong opinions on the matter .. and there have been many suggestions put forward on possible methods on how to handle pace of play issues. 

 

But here, I'd like discuss the Tee It Forward idea.

 

Personally I practice it myself, and it is not directly related to pace of play (although that dovetails in) but more about....

* developing my game; 

* having more confidence with my tee shot; 

* working to hit more fairways.

 

As one example of _not_ teeing it forward .. and I'm pretty sure you've all witnessed examples of this .. are the players who go all the way back to the tournament / championship tees and then either... 1. barely make it past the forward tees, or 2. lose most of their drives off the fairway.

 

Yes, both those scenarios may have a negative impact on the pace of play for all groups behind, but -- HOW DOES THIS IMPACT HOW THESE PLAYERS ARE DEVELOPING THEIR GAME???

 

What say you?

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Nope, they convinced me that I should take 5 hours or more to play, tee it up from wherever, do whatever I want b/c other people don't matter besides me. I will drive 45 mph in the passing lane, give you the finger while texting and looking at Facebook, and laugh while doing it. There's only one important thing in this world and that my enjoyment.

 

Oh, and I forgot, my 18 mo old will be teeing it up from the blacks as well. Granted he can only hit it about 2 yards, but guarantee we will finish in about 5.5 hours.

 

 

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* I found this pretty interesting ... the following article originally appeared on GolfVacationInsider.com at…
http://www.golfvacationinsider.com/more-golf-vacations/little-leeming-15630

 

 

Little & Leeming: Golf's Two Biggest Names You've Never Heard Of

 

July 26, 2016

 

If you're reading this, chances are you're not a tour player.

 

So why the heck are you playing an effectively much longer golf course than those players?

 

That's the question being asked by Arthur Little and Jann Leeming, who might just be the most important figures in golf you've never heard of.

 

This husband and wife have the ear of some of the world's greatest golf resorts.

 

As a result, they're helping make sure your next round – on vacation or at home – will be even more fun than you could have imagined…no gimmicks required.

 

Why are these two so influential? Let me explain.

 

My dad is a 10-handicap, but he averages “only” about 200 to 220 yards off the tee.

 

Even when he plays from the 6,300-yard tees, he's forced to hit long irons, hybrids and fairway woods into almost every par three and par four.

 

Does that sound like fun to you?

 

Me, neither.

 

But that's the type of torturous golf experience that millions of amateur golfers put themselves through by playing the wrong tees.

 

Little and Leeming know all too well that golf is supposed to be fun – especially when you're on an awesome golf vacation (or just playing at home), rather than playing it for a living.

 

They have been key voices regarding one of the most important elements of some of the world's most famous golf courses: tee boxes, and why they might be the key to getting existing golfers to play more golf and getting new golfers into the game.

 

I had a chance to speak with Arthur Little a few weeks ago, and here's what I learned:

 

Bottom line: “Tee It Forward” is not just a slogan – it's a philosophy both golfers and golf courses need to adopt.

 

Yes, people have been criticizing the USGA lately over a couple rules-related controversies at this year's U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open.

 

But they were on the right track when they instituted the “Tee It Forward” campaign in 2011, encouraging golfers to move up a set of tees to shoot lower scores and make the game more fun and welcoming to new players.

 

But that responsibility does not lie with players alone.

 

Little believes golf facility operators and superintendents need to set their courses up in a way that makes the game more fun.

One of Little's guiding principles is that on too many golf courses – especially older ones – the front tee boxes are an afterthought.

 

For anyone who doesn't hit the ball very far (beginners, seniors, etc.) tees of 5,500 yards or longer are still just too long and difficult. And yet they've been commonplace. Until now.

Mike Keiser, owner of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, agrees.

 

After reading a paper that Little and Leeming published about proper tee positioning in 2007, Keiser applied their concepts to his Old Macdonald course during construction in 2010 (and to the resort's other courses, retroactively).

 

You won't find the traditional Black-Blue-White-Gold-Red tee marker color scheme at Bandon. Instead, the four main courses' markers are Black, Green, Gold, Orange and Royal Blue.

 

And at Bandon, all four courses' individual tee sets fall in a pretty tight range of yardages:

 

Black: 6,633 – 6,944 yards
Green: 6,124 – 6,320
Gold: 5,658 – 5,775
Orange: 4,985 – 5,100
Royal Blue: 3,827 – 4,040

 

Why the different color scheme?

 

According to Little, the association of “red tees” with “ladies' tees” is not a myth – it is actually stronger than most people think.

 

By doing away with the traditional tee marker color schemes at courses he's worked with, he and Leeming have noticed golfers putting aside arbitrary prejudices and moving to more suitable (i.e. shorter) tees, shooting lower scores, having fun and – perhaps most importantly of all – coming back more often to play. Juniors, ladies and men all enjoy the Royal Blue tees at Bandon.

 

And even though the Royal Blues are shorter, golfers still get the “full” experience of playing the Bandon courses.

 

Take the par-3 fifth hole at Pacific Dunes for example. It plays 181 yards from the Green tees and 115 yards from the Royal Blue set – an approximately 65% scale for the hole, which is mirrored in the course yardages throughout the Bandon Dunes courses and others where Little and Leeming have consulted.

 

Here's the view of Pacific Dunes #5 from the 181-yard back tee… (Wood Sabold)

…and from the 115-yard front. Two different but equally engaging looks at the same hole. (Wood Sabold)

 

That latter tee is set at an angle that allows shorter hitters, who don't generate as much backspin as stronger players, to run the ball up onto the green.

 

But, they still have to take care to avoid architect Tom Doak's cleverly placed bunkers. The hole may be shorter, but it is by no means a watered-down experience, as so many other front tees are at other courses.

 

Keiser was so impressed by the positive reception to the work at Bandon that he asked Little to consult on proper tee placement at his other properties.

 

The duo have also helped with tee arrangement at Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs, the vaunted Keiser-backed resort in Nova Scotia, making sure tee boxes are set at intervals that will be enjoyable by all visitors.

 

The same is true at Keiser's newest resort, Sand Valley in central Wisconsin. But rather than retrofit front tee boxes the way he did at Bandon, Little has assisted architects Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw from the outset in making sure the course will provide plenty of fun, as well as challenge, from day one. They are also assisting David McLay Kidd on tee placements for the second Sand Valley layout.

 

Mike Keiser's courses are by no means the only ones to benefit from Little and Leeming's expertise. They are just the latest in a project that began some 20 years ago.

 

Back in 1996, the couple became the owners of Province Lake Golf Course in southwestern Maine.

 

They noticed that despite the course's relatively modest length at 6,336 yards from the back tees, a lot of golfers seemed to struggle to get around the course, especially from the front sets of tees.

 

So in 2000, they repositioned and rebuilt 36 tee areas throughout the course, aggressively shortening some holes from the front tees. The new tee yardages rung in at 5,900, 4,900 and 4,169 yards, respectively.

 

The share of rounds played by women rose from about 15% to about 35%. Rounds by junior players rose from just a handful to about 7%, many of them new golfers.

 

Overall, the course's total annual rounds increased from about 8,000 to more than 20,000.

 

Little sold the course in 2005, but to this day it remains a successful public facility in an area of relatively low population density.

 

Just a couple weeks ago, Province Lake hosted its second annual Ladies of the Lakes golf tournament. 82 women golfers turned out.

 

The most tangible effect: now, pace of play is never a problem at Province Lake.

 

A number of buzzwords surrounding the concept of “growing the game” are thrown around constantly these days. But Arthur Little and Jann Leeming are among the few people in golf who have put a concrete plan into action and succeeded. As a result, they've been able to spread a great idea to many course operators and thousands of their fellow golfers.

 

But until Arthur Little and Jann Leeming visit your favorite course, here's what you can do to have more fun. (First, figure out your driver swing speed.)

 

The front-tee yardages that Arthur has helped courses settle on do not come out of thin air, but from a system he's developed over years of study of the average recreational golfer.

 

That system encourages golfers to choose what tees they play based not on how far they drive the ball, but their average swing speeds.

 

Now, before you protest, “But that's two versions of the same thing!”, consider that the vast majority of golfers vastly overestimate their true driving distance capabilities. Just because you may hit one glorious drive per round 250 yards doesn't mean your true average driving distance isn't closer to 220 yards.

 

Swing speed, on the other hand, can be measured much more easily and accurately, and it doesn't change from round to round.

 

A lot of avid male “core” golfers seem to have swing speeds of between 85 and 90 miles per hour, which means they should be playing a set of tees no longer than 6,000 to 6,200 yards, depending on turf and weather conditions.

 

For instance, Bandon Dunes' Green tee yardages push a little higher than this range, but given the firm turf found there, players tend to get some extra roll on their tee shots, making the courses play shorter than their yardages indicate.

 

Does your swing speed push toward or past 100 miles per hour? Feel free to move back a bit, but don't overdo it.

 

Do you struggle to get above 80 or 85 miles per hour? Tee it forward! And if you find yourself stuck between markers, err on the shorter side or make your own hybrid set of tees. You'll have more mid- and short-irons into greens, more par and birdie chances and more fun, while still experiencing all the challenge a round of golf throws at you. Who wouldn't want that?

 

After all, you're playing golf for fun, not a living. So why make it harder than it needs to be?

 

Do  you “tee it forward” on a regular basis? Does your home course need to rethink its forward tees? Can this movement/philosophy help attract and retain new golfers?

~~~~~

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I think this is a no brainer and always has been. People don't stop playing golf because it's not challenging they stop because it's too challenging, takes too long and/or is too expensive. Those are the top three reasons.

 

So tee it forward addresses two of those 3.

 

 

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"No brainier" for an experienced golfer .. and a learned man like yourself :)

 

But how does a course actually get people to do this...?

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"No brainier" for an experienced golfer .. and a learned man like yourself :)

But how does a course actually get people to do this...?

Easy! They bunch up all the tees together 10 yards apart. Now everyone is unhappy.

 

I play white so I can secretly give middle finger to those who can't play but want to act like one. There's no good reasons to play from the blue if you don't have the distance or consistency, it usually falls into one of three reasons from my experience:

 

First, no brainer, playing from “harder and longer” tee would make them look more like a player. Same concept as I can drive fast so I'm a better driver, kindergartens BS? Sure

 

Second, more bang for the bucks. They don't care what they shoot, they'd never put the correct numbers anyways. Golf is more fun when there are more shots to hit. All the power to you.

 

Third and this happens to most golfers, they just don't know any better. They just think that they can just choose the tee. They assume that red is for gals, white is for boys, and blues is for men. Plain and simple.

 

If I want more challenge off the tee I don't necessarily have to move up I just take out my woods, this would kill 2 birds with one stone. It get rids of the driver/wood crutches and improve your long approach game.

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I definitely agree this makes the game more fun and makes the round shorter as well.  I used to play with a guy that would always play back with me on the regular blue tees, although he was a very short hitter.  On par 5, it would take him 4 shots just to get to the green.  He would always get really frustrated playing.  After a while, he started playing up some and on those rounds, he had much more fun and he scores reflected that.  It drives me nuts seeing people playing from the tips that have absolutely no business being back there. 

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Personally I don't GARA what tee you play from. I play from a tee that most closely represents distances I know I can play effectively from. I'm also not worried about how your game may or may not develop. That's your business.

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Very interesting conversation.  I am heading to Pinehurst for our annual tournament with 19 buddies.  Tee selections are out, and we are playing from the 5500 - 5900 yards on every course throughout the tournament.  This has changed over the years, primarily because the tournament organizers have gotten older - most in their mid to late 60's, many retired military who have worn down their bodies, many replaced knees, hips, a few shoulders and assorted other parts...

 

While I am no spring chicken myself, many are 10 plus years older than me, and although retired from military service, I am still working and staying active- I walk (most ride), and I still enjoy the challenge and can manage the length of the 6200-6800 yard courses.  There are two things that I am taking away as I write this- first, I have to take advantage of this (in the past it has bothered me- I will explain momentarily why) and use the length advantage only when it makes tactical sense.  Second, get over the "play the whole course" attitude- which often creeps into my thoughts when playing these legendary courses... 

 

What frustrates me when we play forward is this often brings in hazards that would normally not be an issue.  For example, a set of bunkers that are 270 out from the back tees are now 230 out, which takes my driver out of play.  I need to embrace this and move forward, and see what comes of our little trip. 

 

Of course, last year was my first time on this particular trip, and that was my attitude then- I have grown, and learned much (thanks MGS)... so lets see what happens this year.

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[quote name="cksurfdude" post="342960" timestamp="1509551635"

 

As one example of _not_ teeing it forward .. and I'm pretty sure you've all witnessed examples of this .. are the players who go all the way back to the tournament / championship tees and then either... 1. barely make it past the forward tees, or 2. lose most of their drives off the fairway.

 

 

What say you?

 

I like following these players (who play from the back tees and shouldn't) because they generally load up on pro v1 in the clubhouse and then drive them into the water on the first hole or rough. I'm glad I bought the 16' version of my water retriever - between that and watching where they got their balls . - it keeps me from having to buy pro v1s.

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I've moved up to the white tees from the back about a decade ago.In a few years the senior tees will be the next move up.The decision to go forward was quite easy to make really.Once I noticed It took a solid hybrid or 3 wood to reach a par 4 in regulation after a good drive.Now I can comfortably reach all holes in regulation without the added length that I no longer have.

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Very interesting conversation. I am heading to Pinehurst for our annual tournament with 19 buddies. Tee selections are out, and we are playing from the 5500 - 5900 yards on every course throughout the tournament. This has changed over the years, primarily because the tournament organizers have gotten older - most in their mid to late 60's, many retired military who have worn down their bodies, many replaced knees, hips, a few shoulders and assorted other parts...

 

While I am no spring chicken myself, many are 10 plus years older than me, and although retired from military service, I am still working and staying active- I walk (most ride), and I still enjoy the challenge and can manage the length of the 6200-6800 yard courses. There are two things that I am taking away as I write this- first, I have to take advantage of this (in the past it has bothered me- I will explain momentarily why) and use the length advantage only when it makes tactical sense. Second, get over the "play the whole course" attitude- which often creeps into my thoughts when playing these legendary courses...

 

What frustrates me when we play forward is this often brings in hazards that would normally not be an issue. For example, a set of bunkers that are 270 out from the back tees are now 230 out, which takes my driver out of play. I need to embrace this and move forward, and see what comes of our little trip.

 

Of course, last year was my first time on this particular trip, and that was my attitude then- I have grown, and learned much (thanks MGS)... so lets see what happens this year.

 

enjoy Pinehurst, I am hoping to get back there again soon, maybe get another deal this season. Fingers crossed.

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I play the back tees at my home course, they're about 6600. I am a decently long hitter in my early 30s so most courses shorter than this play as a pitch and putt to me. Though now that is the off-season and cooling I will probably move up to the traditional whites till next spring.

 

Most of the time where I've seen guys playing too far back it's ego (which is usually a problem in pace of play too!!) Young guys that can hit it, but aren't golfers ie no control, just know how to swing hard. Or guys that were playing with a serious friend and don't want to play forward. You play twice a year! Don't shoot 120! More up! Enjoy it!

 

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Very interesting conversation.  I am heading to Pinehurst for our annual tournament with 19 buddies.  Tee selections are out, and we are playing from the 5500 - 5900 yards on every course throughout the tournament.  This has changed over the years, primarily because the tournament organizers have gotten older - most in their mid to late 60's, many retired military who have worn down their bodies, many replaced knees, hips, a few shoulders and assorted other parts...

 

While I am no spring chicken myself, many are 10 plus years older than me, and although retired from military service, I am still working and staying active- I walk (most ride), and I still enjoy the challenge and can manage the length of the 6200-6800 yard courses.  There are two things that I am taking away as I write this- first, I have to take advantage of this (in the past it has bothered me- I will explain momentarily why) and use the length advantage only when it makes tactical sense.  Second, get over the "play the whole course" attitude- which often creeps into my thoughts when playing these legendary courses... 

 

What frustrates me when we play forward is this often brings in hazards that would normally not be an issue.  For example, a set of bunkers that are 270 out from the back tees are now 230 out, which takes my driver out of play.  I need to embrace this and move forward, and see what comes of our little trip. 

 

Of course, last year was my first time on this particular trip, and that was my attitude then- I have grown, and learned much (thanks MGS)... so lets see what happens this year.

Love Pinehurst!!  With your game, if you can find the right club to be comfortable off the tee with, I suspect you will win enough money from that group to pay for your trip!! 

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I dont look at the tee color or even where it falls in the order. I like to play at 6500 yrds. A decent amount of challenge. The problem I face is when they artifically make the course long by offering a 200 yard par 3. Then all the 5s are 430

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Love Pinehurst!! With your game, if you can find the right club to be comfortable off the tee with, I suspect you will win enough money from that group to pay for your trip!!

Lots of sandbagging in that group!!

 

 

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I am a firm believer in Tee It forward, I have lost lots of yardage on my drives over the years.  And even though I am still under 60, I am going to play the tee's that don't leave me long hybrid or fairway wood 2nd shots on the all of the par 4's, one or 2 longer ones OK but, not every one.  Sorry, its just not fun.

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"No brainier" for an experienced golfer .. and a learned man like yourself :)

 

But how does a course actually get people to do this...?

That was my question. Love the idea and made for a cool read. I just started to move myself back a bit but only after making sure I could handle it. I don't want to be hitting 3w in par 3's

 

 

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I dont look at the tee color or even where it falls in the order. I like to play at 6500 yrds. A decent amount of challenge. The problem I face is when they artifically make the course long by offering a 200 yard par 3. Then all the 5s are 430

Right. I played a course this summer at 7000 to test myself. All 5 par 3's were 208-215. I hit the same club on 4 of the 5- one was really downhill. Not fun when they make it long just by over doing it with the 3s.

 

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Well my friends and myself are mid handicappers at best. One friend and I will occasionally play from the tips. But, only when the course is not busy. We like to see if are game gets worse with the extra yardage.

 

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      - It is an ego thing. I think I should be able to play from that distance and do it well.
       
      - Blue is a much more manly color than white.
       
      What I have realized though is that even though the blue tee boxes generally don't make the course too long for my game, I should probably spend more of my time teeing off from the white tee boxes (or the boxes one set behind the ladies tees if your course uses a different coloring system). Why is that? I score way better (and who doesn't have more fun when the score looks good!) Not sub par or low 70's better, but I can generally keep things in the low to mid 80's from there. I also don't have to hit as many shots with long irons or fairway woods to get home on holes, which limits the duffs and skulls and other nonsense I generally rack up throughout the round, which just makes the round more frustrating it needs to be. Golf is hard enough as it is! I also feel better about my pace of play. I don't feel like I am holding people up as much, searching for balls on wayward shots when my swing gets a little handsy, and when I hit a fat shot I am already closer than I was if I were playing from further away. I think the people playing behind me appreciate it more, as I know I get frustrated and out of rhythm when the group in front of me is clearly playing from the wrong tee box and slowing things down to a halt (I am looking at you banana ball slicer who only gets a FIR hitting the fairway of another hole but continues to tee it up from the back boxes).
       
      So now I most courses I find myself playing from a hybrid set of tee boxes throughout the round, mixing it up between the white boxes and blue boxes. If the hole is too short, I back up a set, but I am not too proud to enjoy the game like it is meant to be enjoyed. What about the rest of you out there. Do you think you honestly play the right set of tees most of the time, or are you playing from further back than you should be playing?
       
      Also, earlier I said this post was mostly for the gentlemen as I have yet to encounter a group of ladies teeing up from too far away for their game. In my experience, it appears those that can play from further back know it and do, and others tee it forward where they are comfortable playing from. But would love everyone to weigh in and give their opinions.
    • By golfinnut
      That guy ... you know the one that thinks he is better than he actually is. 
       
      He may do some of the following:
       
      line up every putt as if it's for the U.S. Open take as much time lining up the putt for an 8 that he does for a par get mad at someone because they "took the tee box from you" .... just because we are in the interest of slow play, we like to play "ready golf" ... especially when there is a storm clearly heading our direction! spend 10 minutes looking for the ball that was clearly hit OB just because you are the last group off in the league and there is no one behind you blame every missed shot on something other than what it actually is ... "Oh I pushed that one."  or "Damn this rough is brutal."   NO Pal ... you just suck and couldn't find the fairway if you fell out of the cart play the wrong set of tees because you think you hit the ball further than you actually do claim you got a 5 on the hole when you clearly hit it OB once & had to take an unplayable lie, so it was at least an 8.  Then get mad when I question it.  If you are going to play by the rules, you may want to learn them first. when taking a drop from a lateral stake in the rough, don't claim that the ball moved towards the green on each drop just so you get to place it.  (grant it the rough was about 4" high in places but still we all have to play the same course.) Take the game WAYYYYYY TOO serious!  It's league play .... I mean c'mon we are playing for a beer for Christs Sake!  
      Yes all of these occurred the other night in my league play.  It was brutal ... playing slow, having to teach the rules to someone, etc.  I even had to break out the actual Rule Book out of my bag for this guy!  (yes, I keep one just for days like this)
       
      So ... don't be "that guy!"  And if you happen to play with "that guy" ... I wish you well & good luck! 
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