Golf column: Tee It Forward

Do you find yourself hitting long irons into most par fours? Do you struggle to keep pace with your group, or the group or groups in front of you?

Dan Sainio, assistant golf professional, Bunker Hills Golf Club
Dan Sainio, assistant golf professional, Bunker Hills Golf Club

In 2011, the USGA and the PGA of America worked together to start the Tee It Forward initiative. The idea behind this is to encourage golfers to play from the set of tees that best suits their driving distance and overall ability. The outcome of this is that golfers would have shorter second shots, and in most cases, play faster.

In 2012, the USGA surveyed Tee It Forward participants. Here is what they found:

• 56 percent played faster

• 56 percent were more likely to play more golf

• 83 percent hit lower irons or wedges into greens

• 85 percent had more fun

• 93 percent will Tee It Forward again

Looking at these numbers, it would be difficult not to give this a try.

From the golf course’s perspective, we watch countless golfers of various abilities playing the incorrect tee. In most cases, for us, this means longer rounds, higher scores and angry customers.

Now, I understand that you are most likely out there with your buddies and want to have long drive contests on every hole and need as much space as humanly possible to contain your “long drives.”

Playing the correct tee can actually make your side game more fun and competitive by getting you shorter second shots, and averaging more greens hit in regulation.

According to the R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews), the average amateur golfer (based on all abilities) hits their tee shot 208 yards. Based on that number, every hole would have to be less than 400 yards for the “average” golfer to get to the green in two. By playing the correct tees, this should always be attainable.

After reading this information, how do you feel about Tee It Forward? My guess is that you might be giving it a try sometime in the near future.

Whether you are able to get your whole group to move up, or if you are out for a leisurely round as a single, teeing it forward will allow you to play better, play faster, and have more fun.

Thank you for reading, and remember: Tee It Forward!

Dan Sainio is assistant golf professional at Bunker Hills Golf Club