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Gym Work and Golf

GolfGym.com

GolfGym.com

Is lifting weights compatible with golf?  I think it depends on the goals you set for your workouts and the results you’re looking for.

During The Open Championship this past week, Dan Hicks asked Johnny Miller what he thought might be going on with Rory McIlroy.  Miller, in his usual semi-acerbic tone replied, “I think he overdid the weight room, I don’t (think) that helped him at all. Same thing with Tiger Woods. You just get carried away with wearing the tight shirts and showing off their muscles.”  Miller might be just a bit jealous about how they look because they both look great, but he may have hit onto something about overdoing it in the weight room.

Tiger bulked up quite a bit during his last few years of playing and I think it may have affected his swing.  He got noticeably bigger in his chest and arms, that had to change things.  As he embarked on his last comeback try, you could see some of that bulk had “melted off.”  I’m not sure he didn’t grow to think the same thing and slimmed back down, or it was just coincidental.

Rory, on the other hand, is sporting quite a chiseled physique these days.  He may like to “show off his muscles” with tight fitting shirts like Johnny suggests, but I see nothing wrong with that and I am sure Nike loves it.  I don’t think he displays the kind of bulk that Tiger acquired however.  In fact, golfgym.com says, “Golf Fitness Ain’t Bodybuilding.”  (You can read their blog post about Rory at this link if you like: http://golfgym.com/Blog/golf-fitness-aint-body-building/) I agree, golf fitness is exactly that, getting and staying fit to play better golf.  As I suggested at the start, it all depends on what you want.  It seems Rory is doing it with the right purpose, let’s hope he doesn’t cross a line that affects his game.  Now, if it isn’t weights, then what else could be going on with Rory’s game – if anything?

2012 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

I watched with interest the World Golf Hall of Fame presentations Monday night (May 7, 2012).  There, Hollis Stacy, Sandy Lyle, Dan Jenkins, Phil Mickelson, Peter Alliss, and were inducted – each had a unique perspective and story.

  • Hollis Stacy – An 18-time winner on the LPGA which includes 4 majors as well as 3 consecutive U.S. Girls titles.
  • Sandy Lyle – A Scotsman and 29-time winner world-wide with a British Open, a Masters (first British player to win), and a Players Championship included in that number.
  • Dan Jenkins – He is only the third writer to be inducted and the first still living.  From Fort Worth, TX, Jenkins is a revered and celebrated writer winning recognition for his golf coverage and his books.  A best-selling author, Jenkins has written arguably the “best ever golf book” – “The Dogged Victims of Inexorable Fate.” 
  • Peter Alliss – A professional player in his early career, Alliss was inducted as a broadcaster.  The distinctive British announcer was inducted as a result of his lifetime achievement for excellence in broadcasting.
  • Phil Mickelson – He has 48 world-wide victories, with three Masters and one PGA included. 

Hollis Stacy is still active in promoting women’s and girls’ golf.  A product of a large family of ten children (fourth) she attributed her competitiveness and spirited nature and ultimately her success to her family.  She did not really talk about her car wreck in 1988, but some attribute that event to effectively ending her career.

Through his words, Sandy Lyle provided insight into his personality that I would otherwise never had known.  Not unlike Billy Casper was overshadowed  by the big three in his time (even though his numbers should have made him the number two to three of that cohort), Sandy Lyle was overshadowed in his time by names such as Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, and Ian Woosnam. 

I loved listening to Dan Jenkins.  I knew of him for years and hadn’t read much of his stuff.  I recently bought the book referred to previously and it is not cheap!  It is out of print (or whatever the right term is) and so there are only so many out there.  I found one with Dave Marr and Al Geiberger autographs in it (lucky find) and am halfway into it.  I have already found quips and quotes that have made me laugh out loud. 

Peter Alliss is quite a character.  A little self-deprecating, but knowing of his status, he played the crowd beautifully.  He did acknowledge that he was “quite beautiful” when he was young.  He finished his speech with a bow to his parents above in Heaven and “the finger” to a grade school teacher (if she were watching from wherever) who wrote in his report that though he has a brain, he was loathe to use it and she was afraid for his future.   

PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem provided some commentary prior to Phil Mickelson’s introduction.  In his words he essentially called Phil a great role-model and ambassador for the PGA Tour.  He lauded Phil’s conduct and comportment on and off the course and implied all should take his example.  I second that assertion.

Phil mentioned briefly in his commentary and more directly in pre-event interviews that perhaps 40 was too young an age threshold for consideration.  Like Ernie Els last year, he said he still has a lot to do and a lot of game left.  In fact, he said that he may be entering the best part of his career.  When asked in an interview pre-Players recently, Tiger agreed with Phil’s questioning the age threshold, but came to no specific conclusion with what the right age should be.

Phil made another interesting comment in a pre-induction interview at the World Golf Hall of Fame.  He was asked about the state of the game and its future.  He took a different view than many.  Essentially, instead of creating strategies to “hurry along” the game (referring to tee it forward, fewer holes, etc…), let’s find a way to make the golf course a place people want to be.  Make it more “family friendly.”  He said part of what he loves about golf is not only playing the game, but “the hang” at the club with friends and family after a round.  I think there are some valuable nuggets there…

The Promise of the New Year – 2012

New Year 2012

It’s been a month or so since I posted.  Christmas is past us, we are in the new year…football is coming to and end, March madness is around the corner, and spring is coming soon!  It’s been a little frustrating watching the tour in Hawaii and California.  I just made a trip out west to Miramar, CA just north of Torrey Pines and was about 5 minutes from the Air Station golf course, but alas, I could only find time to visit the pro shop. 

Third Week of the Golfing Year

This week brings the 2012 debut of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, but in different tournaments.  Phil will play in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (with Rickie and Bubba and Bill Haas and Keegan).  Also in the mix is JB Holmes!  This is his return to tournament golf since his brain surgery late last year.  He says he’s ready, I’ll cheer for his success with all the vigor I cheer for his (and my) favorite college basketball team – the UK Wildcats.  Tiger begins his season in Abu Dhabi, UAE at the HSBC Championship (with Luke, Lee, and Rory).  Some estimate that Tiger will receive $3 million just for showing up!  Let’s hope Tiger’s game of old also shows up and that his win late last year wasn’t an anomoly born from a short field and tired players.

Promise for the Rest of the Year

Ahhhh… so it begins with great wins in Hawaii and California for Steve Stricker, Johnson Wagner, and Mark Wilson.  Will Rickie finally win one at home?  There better be some wins this year for Watosh (me)!

Why is Stewart Cinking?

I was perusing the World Golf Rankings list (http://www.officialworldgolfranking.com/rankings/default.sps?region=world&PageCount=3) a few moments ago and it struck me, what’s going on with Stewart Cink? He is 134th in the world. As of December 4th he is 101st on the PGA Tour money list (http://www.pgatour.com/r/stats/info/?109). Well inside the top 125, but not where I would have expected to see him as a non-watcher of the money list. Is he having issues or is he just “comfortable?”

Since his win at the Open Championship at Turnberry, bittersweet to most golf fans because he won over the resurgent 59 year old Tom Watson, Cink has been on a “Bear market trend” in world ranking points and earnings (that is not a good thing). For the remainder of 2009 (after his win), he had one top 10 finish. In 2010 he had three top 10 and twelve top 25 finishes on the PGA Tour. And this year he managed only one top 10 and six top 25 finishes. This is a precipitous drop in performance for the 38 year old golfer since his British Open win.

Stewart Cink turned pro in 1995, playing and winning on the Nike Tour then graduating to the PGA Tour in 1997 where he won the Canon Greater Hartford Open that year. He has six career PGA Tour wins and eighty-eight top 10 finishes. A dozen years or so he has been “in the mix,” but win a major and all of a sudden you never hear about him.

I came across a story on PGA.com that may provide some light. As reported in March 2011, he dropped his longtime swing coach Butch Harmon for his putting coach Pat O’Brien who will advise him on all aspects of play. According to the story he did so because of “scheduling conflicts.” Harmon Is based in Las Vegas and Cink lives in Atlanta and Cink decided family time was more important than travelling time to get to Harmon. Understandable, but I wonder if Cink hasn’t lost “the fire” since his win -acquiescing to do the more comfortable thing rather than that which makes him most competitive.

I like what I see in Stewart Cink’s talent and demeanor – a great golfer and seemingly a genuinely nice guy. I was sorry for him that his British Open win came with the pallor of Tom Watson’s loss. I think he has more majors in him. As a fan, I’d like to see him turn this around, but the indications are that he is “surfing.” Did I piss you off Stewart? I hope so! Get your ass in gear!

Faith and Golf

Crane Wins on Faith

Ben Crane won the McGladrey Classic this week in a playoff and who knew he was a devout Christian? As I watched the interview while he awaited the finish of his fellow competitors he offered thanks to God for his performance this week and especially that day citing a passage from the Bible. I don’t recall the Bible passage because the reference came out too quickly to catch. He shot a 7-under 63 Sunday coming from 5 shots back to tie the leaders. One of the competitors he was waiting for was Web Simpson, another devout Christian who had won twice already this year and is currently the leading PGA money winner. He also professed profound thanks to God for his success each time he has won. On this day he was tied both with Crane and Michael Thompson at 15 under par coming down the stretch. As it turns out, it was these two Christians, Crane and Simpson, who ended up competing in a playoff to determine the winner of the McGladrey Classic. Thompson bogeyed on the 72nd hole to take him out of the tie and playoff. On the second hole of the playoff, Simpson missed a short putt for par to lose to Crane who by the way was also to become a father again today, the day after the tournament.

A New Breed?

I have a view of past players and champions, those of the very early years, as being less than saintly hell raisers. Like the cowboys of the old west, the early professionals of this sport were individuals not tethered to a professional standard of conduct. There are legendary stories of partying and womanizing amongst this group of pioneering golfers who by any standard were nomads continuously operating on a thin shoestring of income. Some were married, but even some of those were extra-marital in their play time when out on the tour. Tiger demonstrated this kind of life-style until recently, partaking of the “benefits” of stardom through sexual conquests around the country. But, now since his outing, he professes to be a changed man. Is he the last of the “un-holy?” Has the talent pool and the need to be ready for the competition superseded the temptations to hell-raise in the off hours?

Tom Lehman, a major winner, has been on tour many, many years and he is a devout Christian. He’s now dominating on the Champions Tour (50 and older). There are others, but he particularly stands out because of his openness in referencing his beliefs and giving credit to God for his achievements. But I thought him to be in a great minority on the tour. Have I been wrong? Is there something to the clean living and discipline of devout Christian life that is particularly good for playing golf at that level? I think the answer may be yes. In a sport where belief in one’s abilities is paramount, would it not be helpful to be able to unload personal transgressions, failures, and fears onto a benevolent God? If you believe with all your heart in your God, doesn’t that make it easier to also believe in yourself? Perhaps that is part of Tiger’s problem as he tries to come back from his fall, perhaps he still believes in only himself. Who does he unload on?

Faith is a powerful thing. In chapter 10 of one of my favorite books, “The Book of Virtues,” the author describes faith:

“Faith is a source of discipline and power and meaning in the lives of the faithful of any major religious creed. It is a potent force in human experience (emphasis added). A shared faith binds people together in ways that cannot be duplicated by other means…Faith contributes to the form and the content of the ideals that guide the aspirations we harbor for our own lives, and it affects the way we regard and behave with respect to others.”

Perhaps faith in something larger than ourselves allows us to put into context the worldly things that occur day to day. Perhaps those who follow a life of faith in God have a firmer foundation from which to work, the rest of us living out the reality of chaos theory by comparison. Ben Crane has entertained us with his silly videos, showing a side of a professional golfer many of us never thought we’d see. Far from being the stoic, slow, self-absorbed golfer he might appear to be on the course, he is showing us another side now. Not so in your face and out there as the videos, but in action and accomplishment.

J.B. Holmes

What was Going On with J.B. Holmes?

Had you wondered what was going on with J.B. Holmes? I had. As most of us know by now, he withdrew from The Barclays on the Monday, 22 August prior to the tournament to deal with his diagnosed brain malformations (Chiari) and the pending surgery. The condition creates vertigo-like symptoms which he has been working through since May of this year. Once wonders how long the balance issues have really been affecting him.

 J.B. Holmes a Proud Kentuckian

J.B. Holmes is a Kentucky boy, a product of the University of Kentucky and a hometown hero in his native Campbellsville, KY. Near the center of Kentucky, close to Lexington and just south of Bardstown (The Bourbon Capitol of the World), Campbellsville is a small community with big aspirations (now home of a Amazon.com distribution center) and home of a big hitter.

J.B. Holmes is a Winner

J.B. Holmes is a two time winner on the PGA Tour. Considered a “long ball hitter” he is also a very talented player with skills in every aspect of the game a la John Daly. J.B. Holmes distinguished himself during the 2008 (37th) Ryder Cup. Playing at Valhalla Country Club near Louisville, Kentucky, he joined fellow Kentuckian Kenny Perry in leading the U.S. to victory against the Europeans.

J.B. Holmes Will be Back

J.B. Holmes underwent successful brain surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Thursday, 1 September to relieve pressure on the cerebellum and brain stem that was caused by the Chiari malformations. Holmes will be recuperating for the next three months staying away from competitive golf, but he will begin light practicing within the month.  Let’s all continue to pray for a successful recovery…all that I have read tells me that he is doing well and wondering why we are all making such a fuss.  Best of luck J.B. Holmes.

The 93rd PGA Championship

The PGA Championship

I suppose the deal with the devil never really took place, or so it seems since Tiger missed the cut badly this week at the year’s final major – The 93rd PGA Championship.  But it was a terrific tournament nonetheless.  Who needs “big names” when the play is as spectacular as it was coming down the stretch of the tournament and in the ensuing playoff?  The PGA tour has obviously become very deep with talent over the course of the last few years.  In fact the last 10 majors have been won by first time major winners.  And…thank goodness an American won this last major…we can put that European uber alles issue to bed at least.  Although, I am sure there are those out there working the Irish lineage angle on Bradley as we speak…since the previous two majors were won by Irishmen.

What a Finish to the PGA

What a finish to the 93rd PGA Championship!  Keegan Bradley winning in a three hole aggregate playoff against Jason Dufner.  Keegan tied the event going birdie, birdie, and par after a seemingly disastrous triple bogey on the 15th par three.  With four holes to go and having witnessed Bradley’s triple from the tee box, Dufner hit the water on the par three 15th as well but managed a bogey to go to the 16th with a four shot lead.  He then proceeded to bogey the next two holes and par the 18th to remain tied at 8 under with Bradley.  Keegan, on his way in from the  triple on 15 knocked in a nine footer for birdie on the 16th then a thirty-five footer on the par three 17th to climb back up to 8 under par for the tournament. 

The PGA Championship Playoff

In the playoff, the two hit identical drives to the ones they played in regulation on the 16th.  Dufner, the shorter of the two hit first from the fairway and stuffed a 5 iron short of the hole rolling it just past the pin leaving about a twelve-footer.  Keegan shot next stuffing his 8 iron in to about six feet below the hole.  Keegan made his putt but Justin did not.  On the par three 17th Dufner once again three putted while Bradley made par extending his lead in the playoff to two strokes.  They both hit quality shots into the 18th hole with nearly identical putts to finish.  First to putt and with great style Jason Dufner rolled his in for a birdie forcing Bradley to two putt to win – which, of course, he did. 

The quality of the play in the playoff was spectacular with both competitors playing as if they were grizzled veterans of majors.  In fact, this was Bradley’s first ever major. 

It must be in the DNA for Keegan to deal with the pressure.  His aunt is Hall of Fame LPGA-er Pat Bradley.  His father is a PGA professional as well, not a touring pro, but a club pro in Colorado. 

The PGA Championship was a quality tournament with quality play and a terrific finish. 

Tiger at the Crossroads

Tiger in a Dream

I had a vision this morning in that dreamy state you can get into sometimes when the alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button.  My vision included Tiger making a deal with the devil…kind of like the blues guitar player at the “crossroads” or even “Damn Yankees” (the musical).  Think about it, Tiger as a boy approached by this seemingly kindly old gentleman about a deal.  Yes, Tiger had already shown some talent, but man! Oh to be as good as Jack…and even break his records! 

A Musical for Tiger

In the musical “Damn Yankees,” an aging real estate agent named Joe Boyd is lamenting about those Damned Yankees always beating his team, the Washington Senators.  If only…Joe wishes for a slugger for the Senators under his breath…then Mr. Applegate arrives (or Beelzebub, Satan, Old Horn and Hoof, the Devil) and he offers him a deal.  Long and short of it, Joe Boyd is transformed into Joe Hardy and is a batting and fielding phenom for the Senators.  Tempted by Lola (“What Lola wants, Lola gets…”) and then forlorn for his wife and home, he returns to become Joe Boyd again but only after he tricks Applegate to get his soul back. 

Tiger Makes a Deal

Now fade in to Tiger.  Imagine Tiger sitting forlornly as a young wannabe with promise…Damn Jack…if only…poof!  Here’s the devil.  Deal done, 71 tournaments and 14 majors later all is going to plan.  But while he is winning…“What the waitress wants, the waitress gets…” and another and another and another…and the Devil warns him.  “Hey Tiger!  Don’t take this thing too far…I have a plan for you.”  “No worries Devil, I got it under control.”  BAM!  We know what happens next…

Then the Devil punishes Tiger. “You’ll get it back son, but not for a little while, you’re going to feel lots of pain when you play.  More than before, this time it’ll be too much to deal with.”

Now fade in to Tiger again a couple of weeks ago.  The Devil says, “OK Tiger, I think you’ve learned your lesson.  You can play now. But first you gotta lose the caddy, he knows too much.”    

Tiger Back on Track 

Tiger wins at Bridgestone!  Waaaaaa!  How’d he do it! 

Tiger wins the PGA!  Waaaaaa!  How’d he do it? 

Tiger wins the FedEx Cup!  Waaaaaa!  How’d he do it?

Tiger is comeback player of the year!  Tiger is player of the year! 

Oh my, things are back on track. 

Ahem, but it was just a dream, wasn’t it Tiger?

Caddies – The Woods / Williams Saga

Caddies in Print

I recently bought a couple of books from Amazon.com about PGA caddies.  I am in the middle of “Piddler” Martin’s Caddie Confidential: Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour.  Next I will read Rick Reilly’s Who’s Your Caddie? – great title.  The first thing that strikes me is that I can really identify with some of these characters.  Martin has introduced me to some caddies that could be pilots in the Marine Corps…a la Great Santini…callsigns (nicknames) and all.  “Piddler?”  What does that mean…or do I want to know?  “Junkman,” “Crispy,” “Reptile,” the Growler” (Ok, I think I know where this may have come from so I am glad the book doesn’t have an associated scratch and sniff!), “Cadillac,” etc…there are lots more.

I bought these books because my wife asked me a question about confidentiality clauses with caddies…do they have them?  I really didn’t know, and still don’t…yet.  I would guess that it depends on the player and the deals players and caddies strike.  In “Piddler’s” book, the work for most caddies seems so adhoc that I couldn’t imagine any kind of written agreement ever gets done except for maybe the really long term associations.  There also seems to be a kind of apparent camaraderie or esprit de corps amongst caddies.  At least that’s the feel I get from reading the stories to date.  It might be that the “caddie corps” used to have unwritten rules and professional standards of conduct where “tell-alls” are concerned, but Martin’s book is copyrighted in 2009, so since that’s the case it is likely to still be true.  Obviously, I still have a lot of questions.

Caddies and Tiger

Tiger hasn’t had many caddies.  Steve Williams has been with him since 1999 when Butch Harmon introduced them after Tiger fired “Fluff” Cowan.  I wonder what kind of agreement they had?  A lot of people are wondering.  Willams has a history of getting personally involved with his player.  He caddied for Greg Norman for several years until Norman fired him in 1989, but they remain friends.  Williams would later say he “got too close personally” with Norman – whatever that means – which resulted in the firing.  Williams and Woods were the best man at each other’s weddings.  Williams has been very protective of Tiger through the years and stood by him during Tiger’s personal debacle that has since been a major reason (aside from injury) for his fall from the list of top players in the world.

Caddies are People Too

Williams is no wall flower.  He speaks his mind and is not afraid to talk publically, especially in his native New Zealand, when asked about things.  He spoke disparagingly about Phil Mickelson in 2008 openly admitting an apparent mutual dislike between them.  He has most recently spoken openly about his recent firing by Tiger at the recent AT&T National.  Tiger apparently fired him because he was “disloyal.”  Williams, one of the world’s top caddies, had gained permission from Woods to caddy for Australian Adam Scott at the U.S. Open.  Later he caddied for Scott again, supposedly without permission, at the AT&T which apparently caused Tiger to take offense and ultimately let him go.

I am not sure how loyal a person has to be to keep Tiger’s affection and loyalty.  Stevie stayed beside him throughout his personal tribulations, has only worked for him through it all until the Adam Scott thing, which means not much in terms of tournament play.  Williams confessed that the timing of the firing coupled with the “disloyal” comments are what has thrown him – not necessarily the firing itself.  He “wasted the last two years…”  Apparently, for Tiger, it was time to add to his list of changes.  Change his personal conduct, change his perspective with his kids, change his conduct on course (not very successfully), change his swing coach, change his swing, change the way he deals with injury, and now change his caddy.  What’s next?

Bring in the Caddies

Who’s next?  How about “the Growler?”  Or perhaps “the Servant?”  Or maybe “the Ass Kisser?”  Word of advice caddies… keep it strictly professional.

Tee It Forward

Tee It Forward Initiative

I first heard of this initiative on the Sirius/XM PGA Tour Network shows Fairways of Life with Matt Adams and Teed Off with Brian Katrek.  In their respective shows, Matt and Brian each invited callers to comment on the concept – Tee It Forward.  Then, a couple of days ago I stumbled on a GolfWorld.com article addressing the initiative as well and thought I would put some brain cells on it myself.

Essentially, the concept is that the majority of golfers out there should move forward one set of tee markers to “boost fun and speed up play” during 5-17 July 2011 (Golfworld.com/The Game July 4 2011).

I think the desired effect is to bring awareness to leisure golfers that golf courses designed for championship play are not necessarily suited (from the back tees) for the games of the average golfer.  As reported by GolfWorld.com, an article in Golf Digest attributes the idea to Barney Adams (Adams Golf).  Mr. Adams calculates “that the amateur who drives the ball 200 to 230 yards should be playing courses measuring about 6000 yards.”  Essentially, this is an effort to encourage average golfers to play the course from a tee that best suits their game.  In theory, this will make the game more fun for them and speed up play.  I think it is a great idea, but how to implement it and see that it has lasting effects?

Tee It Forward –Implementation

Golf is a game that has been in a bit of a down swing (so to speak), with the economy such as it is and the expense of playing (golf is generally not a cheap sport), the rising tide of new joins to the game from the “Tiger Era” has been ebbing.  The following link will take you to an interview of Brian Katrek regarding Tiger pre-Masters, but what is important in the interview by Fox Business News is the commentary by Brian on the current state of golf – http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4627876/brian-katrek-tigers-not-ready-to-retire-/.  This is excellent commentary and clear and understandable reasoning – thanks Brian.

Jack Nicklaus and others think that perhaps 18 holes is too many for the masses and that there should be an intermediate number available – say 12 that one could purchase to play – not too much and not too little for those who don’t have 4.5 to 5.5 hours to burn.  I have heard discussion on the PGA Tour Network regarding the need to get more women involved in the sport, make the sport more “female friendly.”  Now, Tee It Forward comes to the fore as an initiative to make golf “more fun” for the masses (and potentially provide for more through-put on the courses positively affecting revenue?)

How does one get traction on an initiative like this so that its positive effects last?  GolfWorld posits three areas of refinement to the existing plan (which seems somewhat voluntary and without a lot of marketing):

  1. Somehow change mistaken mindsets that shifting to forward tees for players within a group takes more time and slows play.  As they put it, gain “permission to play shorter tees.”
  2. Create and “include a chart correlating 10 driver distances to a similar number of recommended 18 hole yardages.”  That is, I suppose, if you hit a driver 200 yards you should play an 18 hole length of 6000 yards, 220 yards is 6300 yards, etc…Perhaps even a “professional assessment” provided by a course pro with a range of clubs.
  3. Finally, charge differently by tee marker…the shorter, the less you pay.  (This has the most promise in my view.)

Tee It Forward – More Ideas

We already have a handicapping system.  Why can’t courses check handicaps?  Limit play on select back tees to certain handicap levels – always, sometimes, whatever….  If you don’t have a handicap, it is likely an indication that you aren’t necessarily a serious golfer and that perhaps you should be on one of the forward tees.  The course at Camp LeJeune, NC has two 18 hole tracks – the scarlet and the gold.  The gold is the championship course and the scarlet is a bit shorter, but both are equally playable and enjoyable.  The rule there used to be anyway that during certain hours on Saturday and Sunday, you (and your group) must have established handicaps to make a tee time on the gold.  Everyone else plays the scarlet.  Now, I realize that there aren’t many courses out there with multiple tracks, but the idea can be implemented as part of the tee it forward program.  Rather than restricting the golf course, restrict the tees so that non-handicap holders play to the forward tees during the busiest weekend hours.

Also, maybe we should standardize tee colors as well.  I venture that a lot of players see white tees and use them.  White is somewhat universal for ‘average player tees,’ but the difficulty is not all courses use the same colors.   I think it somewhat universal that ladies tees are red, senior tees gold, forward men’s tees white, and then you have one or two sets back beyond that – normally blue next, then black championship tees.  What’s wrong with establishing a standard in the industry?  Even if you have something cute as tee markers – cannons or rocks or garden gnomes – they can have the standard color motif can’t they?

Finally, change where you set the tees.  Move the ‘standard’ white ones up permanently from where they have been historically if the yardage at the old place was too long by Mr. Adam’s standard.  It may cost a little to recalculate slope and rating and publish the new yardage on the score sheets, but If it achieves the desired result, it would be well worth it.

Tee It Forward – Bottom Line

There are probably a myriad of ways to implement, but there will still be those who want to play the full course no matter their skill level.  In the end the customer is right, right?  Well, maybe on a municipal course or even a resort course, but I venture a country club can do what it wants provided the constituency allows.

I think the effort has merit, but it will require a multi-faceted approach.  First, standardize tee colors to eliminate confusion – I mean establish an industry standard.  Next, just move a set forward of where they are now (white ones) to better fit the 6000-6300 yard model.  Then, communicate with your customers.  Illustrate why it makes sense with charts that show with common sense language why it will be more fun to change – it has to be direct, simple and to the point.  And finally, there must be monetary incentive to change.  If you simply charge more for each tee back from the white, then you punish good players.  Perhaps you can charge more unless you have an established handicap that is below a certain threshold that allows you to pay the same as those on the white. People who do not belong on the back tees should pay more… I think that is the point.  But, make no mistake, managing price by tee will create the quickest change.