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How do I convince my golf buddies it's time to change tee boxes?


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I'm the coordinator of a golf group that plays once a week.  We have 18 guys in the group.  Most, including me, are retired and 65+.  Week play a local course three weeks in a row, then take field trip to other courses in the area on the fourth week.  

At our home course, there are three tee boxes - blue (6565 yards), white (6026 yards), and red (5286 yards). We play the white tees.  You know what's coming...  Some of the guys can hit drives in the 230 - 245 range (I'm fortunate to still being that group).  Some struggle to get 200 yards on their drives - let's call them limited hitters.  Golf can be frustrating, but it's especially hard when you have no chance of getting a green in regulation.  It also leads higher scores and to slower play.

Last winter, I broached the subject of changing tee boxes to make the game more enjoyable.  That conversation didn't get very far.  One week, on a windy day when the fairways were damp and soft, I said, "Let's play the red tees today."  So we did.  At the end of the round, the torches and pitchforks came out.  Some thought it was OK to play the red tees when the weather was bad, especially hitting into the wind on a long par 3, but several made it clear that they were not happy, including some of the limited hitters.  Over time, I kept chipping away at the issue and was able to convince the group that, at least, we should shorten two holes - a 402 yard par 4 and a 541 yard par 5.  So, now we play the red tees on those two holes. No complaints! So, I suggested playing a modified red/white tee box combo, but they said that would too confusing to keep track of on the course. 

So, here's my analysis - male ego.  The red tees are the "ladies tees".  So, do I continue on the quest to make golf fun again, or close my eyes when I see a 192 yard drive on a 395 yard par 4.  I have a few ideas to try, but maybe some of you have better suggestions.  

 

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You should try to get the shortest hitters to play from the red tees exclusively and the longer hitters (230+) from the whites exclusively. Everyone will have more fun and your pace of play will be vastly improved. Everyone wins. 

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Stcymbol 

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13 minutes ago, vandyland said:

This is a topic I feel passionately about. I was listening the to the "No Putts Given" podcast with Lou Stagner (data analyst at Arccos among other titles) and at the 31:00 mark he mentions a very simple formula for what courses to play:

Your 5 iron carry * 33 or 34 is the total course distance. 

I love this idea. Mostly because I bet many people (mainly men) are playing courses longer than that. For me, I carry a 5 iron about 180 yds. So that is 180 * 33 = 5940 yds. I carry a driver 260 yds. I have no problem playing sub 6,000 yds. It is more fun and, guess what, I still don't shoot below par very often. 

I would say if the majority of your golfing group is breaking 80 from the whites then they should stay there. If not, what are they afraid of? They might make more birdies? They might have more fun? The average second shot distance for a middle of the pack PGA tour player (distance-wise) is 140 yds on a par 4. That's probably a PW or soft 9 iron. If that is how we challenge a TOUR PRO then why should weekly golfers be subjecting themselves to stiffer test than that? Pride?

As a rule of thumb, consistent with what you posted, I figure a second shot on a par 4 should be 150 yards or less given a "normal" drive for the golfer in question.

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Would the course consider adding in senior tees?  

My club has 4 sets,

Blue 6763, White 6254, Gold 5331, and Red 5265

But even though you are shortening up by 900 yards going from white to gold, the elevation changes still challenge you as well as where they place the tee boxes. On many holes you are still playing position golf. Meaning from the white you hit driver and from the gold you hit a 3 or 5 wood because you have to be in position on a dog leg to go for the green. Your second shot can sometimes be the same distance to the green.  On a few other holes the distance is exactly the same from the tee box, but the angle is different as the tee boxes are on different sides of the fairway so to speak. 

I can understand the reluctancy from some members of your group hitting from the reds. A set of gold tees would make them feel better.  

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You said the group has 18 members.  One of those gents is going to reach the point where he says "to hell with it" and either moves up or simply quits.  THAT is when the change in policy, if it's to take place, will happen.

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I kept telling my guys that you shouldn't be playing driver, then three wood on every par 4. Is it really that much fun playing every hole as a par 5? One of my more outgoing (read louder) golf buddies moved up this year and has had a much easier time scoring. He tries to get the shorter guys to move up frequently. Just get a couple up there and have them team up on the rest? Lastly, you could just move up there until they join you. Then move back quietly or when they complain that you are hitting it too far to play the reds.

I deal with this all the time but we have quite a few forward tee'ers in my group. A couple of guys know they should move up but it is the principal of giving up I guess.

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Hate yourself, not the game...

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11 minutes ago, Muckinfiddle said:

I kept telling my guys that you shouldn't be playing driver, then three wood on every par 4. Is it really that much fun playing every hole as a par 5? One of my more outgoing (read louder) golf buddies moved up this year and has had a much easier time scoring. He tries to get the shorter guys to move up frequently. Just get a couple up there and have them team up on the rest? Lastly, you could just move up there until they join you. Then move back quietly or when they complain that you are hitting it too far to play the reds.

I deal with this all the time but we have quite a few forward tee'ers in my group. A couple of guys know they should move up but it is the principal of giving up I guess.

I never looked at it as "giving up" given that I didn't start by playing the tips...  I looked at is as "making a needed adjustment" which made it a lot easier once I reached my point of frustration.

I don't ask for a senior discount but when the pro shop asks if I'm a senior I thank them for being so perceptive...

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16 minutes ago, Bobbers said:

I never looked at it as "giving up" given that I didn't start by playing the tips... 

I don't think of it that way but there is a stigma for some of the guys at my club who have ridiculed other players for playing the forward tees. I am not sure if it is pride or stubborness.

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Hate yourself, not the game...

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Age old question - and every suggestion above is a good one.  You can also just lead by example and say "this is where I'm playing from, you play from where you want to..."  eventually they may join you.  Thats the whole point of the handicap system - you can compete playing from different tees.  And maybe they'll wise up.  

I think its hysterical that Landmand's tees are Red (slope of 74.7) White (72.8) Green (71.3) Yellow (69.4) and Black (66.9)

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2 minutes ago, Muckinfiddle said:

I don't think of it that way but there is a stigma for some of the guys at my club who have ridiculed other players for playing the forward tees. I am not sure if it is pride or stubborness.

That's unfortunate.  I've always found there can be more than enough "self loathing" in a given round of golf that I don't typically feel the need for any help in that area from other people...

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2 minutes ago, Muckinfiddle said:

Old guard was tough.

I've been paired up with "old guard", typically not for more than one round.

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3 hours ago, Muckinfiddle said:

I don't think of it that way but there is a stigma for some of the guys at my club who have ridiculed other players for playing the forward tees. I am not sure if it is pride or stubborness.

I started playing one of my local county courses around 25 years ago from about 6400 (gold tees) yards. 2 of the 4 par 5’s were reachable in 2 and the others were usually a short pitch or chip to get there in 3. A few years ago, we decided that moving up to the whites (about 6000) was a good idea. It was because the fairway bunkers were reachable again and a good drive was rewarded with a 130-150 yard approach to the green. Prior to the switch, my handicap increased from 14 to a robust 25. Not fun hovering around the century mark on an average day and praying for some bogey golf 90 rounds. This mostly put a lot of pressure on my putting to save a score, often unsuccessfully. Any wonder I had the yips putting? That’s receding now that the white tees are the choice. The handicap’s back to 20 and hopefully lower this winter. When I snowbird now, I’ll be playing 5800-6000 in Florida. 

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Stcymbol 

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Have you considered talking to the head pro or GM of your home course and seeing if they would put together a combo tee setup for you?  If they make it official it can be rated and actually added to the scorecard.  If the combo setup is "official" you might get less push back from the other players.

Here is a link to my home course.  We have 4 tee's (green longest, silver shortest), then the pro put together a black/silver combo setup and added it to the scorecard.  It's been slope rated so you can enter scores towards an official handicap from that setup.

https://www.golfthelinks.com/course/scorecard/

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Like it or not... guys need a place to move up to that is not the forward tees.  Every course should have a teeing ground between the Regular Men's tees and the Forward tees, or a mixed set of tees where players move up on the longer holes.  We do have a couple of groups of older guys at my club that play from our red (Forward) tees exclusively.

For 7 years I played from the Blue tees (6100y) at my new course; last year I played a few rounds at the White (senior) tees (5400y) at my course and I always shot the same scores at either tee (low 80's).  The difference was from the Blues I hit a lot of FW/Hybrids for 2nd and 3rd shots, and from the Whites I hit more iron shots.  This spring on my birthday when I turned 75, I told my wife that I was moving up to the Whites.  Overall, my index hasn't changed much, but I'm a much better iron player than I was, and I regularly score in the 70's instead of an occasional round in the 70's that happened only if I saved a lot of pars with my short game.  It's more fun playing iron shots!!  The people I play with have gotten used to me playing up at the Whites; I just tell them that I'm old.  My wife keeps complaining that the Ladies don't have a tee to move up to; her Ladies group has players from age 40-80.

Funny... maybe sad story...8 years ago I used to play at a 9-hole exec course; one par 5, six par 4's, two par 3's totaling just under 5200y from the back  Blue tees.  There were also White, Gold and Red tees.  Our gangsome always played from the Blues.  When I left, the oldest player had turned 70 and was the shortest hitter... moved up to the whites.  I saw him a year later, and he told me that everyone moved up to the Whites!!  Some of them could drive the par 4's!  When he turned 75, he moved up to the Gold tees, and shortly after that they all moved up to the Golds... even guys in their 40's!!  He was really frustrated because he moved up to compete better with the younger guys, and everyone followed him.  

 

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I feel your pain.

Our course has 5 boxes, Black, Blue, Combo, Silver and Green.  I play with guys who insist on playing blue tees when they should be playing silver at best and some should stick with green. This became a huge problem in money games as some guys egos got in the way.  We agreed to resolve this issue using the following option which we do annually and stick to for the year.  

 GHIN.  Our course is par 71.
  At the beginning of the year we all play round 1 from Green 5054 slope 120.  If you can’t play to within +4 of your course handicap from those tees, you don’t move back until you do. You must move back once you score within Course Handicap +4 or better.  Round 2 is from Silver 5554 slope 128 for those who were GHIN +4 or better from Green.  Round 3 is Combo 5981 slope 133 for those who were +4 or better from Silver.  Round 4 is Blue 6330 slope 137 using same criteria.  You don’t move back until you play to course Handicap +4 for the tees you started on that round.  We play Black 6718 slope 140 once a quarter to prove we still can.  
 

My index is 8.8 right now and My current course handicap ranges from 5 for Green and 13 for Black.  So I have to shoot 80 or better from Green to move back to Silver, etc. Our course isn’t long but is very tight, tricky small and very fast greens.  

It’s not all about how far you can hit it, but about how you can score from the box you are playing from.  This alternative takes a lot of the moaning and groaning out of the mix, especially when a guy can’t get off the forward tees for a few rounds.  One of my weekend partners has decided he is only playing silver as he has more fun from there, so we adjust everything based on the course handicap for the tee boxes he plays vs. the rest of us playing either Combo or Blue.

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Where I am the clubs senior league plays the red tees. Many of us don’t want to play from the ladies tees, so on our own we play gold tees. Fortunately my home course has white/gold hybrid tees and gold/red hybrid tees on the card and in GHIN, so everyone gets to play what they want. My Monday group (typically 16) includes some who play gold, and others who choose gold/red, and the foursomes are chosen to keep each together - seems to make everyone happy. Try that?

You could also develop your own hybrid tees, it’s easy to manually calculate GHIN ratings and slopes. There’s a local course we play that we’ve developed our own hybrids (we play reds on the 8 hardest holes, and whites all others) because whites are just too long and reds are just too short.

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