In July of 2011, The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association partnered to launch a national initiative called Tee it Forward.
This initiative was aimed at matching a player’s average driving distance with the course yardages they were playing on a regular basis.
Here are the recommended matches (driver distance followed by recommended 18-hole yardages):
275 = 6,700-6,900
250 = 6,200-6,400
225 = 5,800-6,000
200 = 5,200-5,400
175 = 4,400-4,600
150 = 3,500-3,700
125 = 2,800-3,000
100 = 2,100-2,300
The idea behind the initiative was to increase the overall enjoyment and experience for the amateur golfer.
Too many times, golfers want to play the tips, or as far back as they can on a course, even though their ability does not match the distance.
Personally, when I am playing golf, it is for the enjoyment that the game brings. I agree that there are times when I want to play a course from the back and be challenged to the full extent that a course can offer. Most of the time though, I simply want to have fun and soak up the camaraderie of those I am golfing with.
At TPC Twin Cities, we have adopted the Tee it Forward initiative in a few different ways and have seen positive results from those that have participated.
Our starters talk to groups before they head to the first tee and provide the chart above as a reference as to where players should tee it up from.
We often hear that groups want to play from “where the pros play” and not from the forward tees.
In reality, playing from the forward tees aligns you with the same shots that the pros are hitting into our greens.
Realistically, the amateur golfer is not hitting a driver 280 yards down the fairway. So, when you play the back tees, you are left with a long iron or hybrid into the green, while the pros are hitting a mid- to short-iron on the same hole. Now you are making the course much more difficult than it needs to be and taking some of the enjoyment of the game away.
TPC Twin Cities also adopted the Tee it Forward initiative into our men’s club this year.
We have created the “80 Rule” for any of our participants who qualify and would like to take advantage of it during our events.
Basically, if your course handicap and age combine to be greater than 80, you are allowed to play the white tees instead of the club tees during a men’s club event. This is a difference of 350 yards over the course of 18 holes.
While going from 6,550 yards to 6,200 yards may not seem like a big difference, most of the time the golfer is hitting two to three clubs less into each green. Instead of hitting a hybrid, you may be able to hit a six iron. Instead of a six iron, you may be hitting a nine iron.
These changes allow the golfer to potentially score better and make your round more enjoyable and less of a grind. I encourage you to use the chart above and try the tees that best fit your game. I believe you will find it to be a refreshing and enjoyable experience.
Chris Weinhold is assistant golf professional at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.