PGA and USGA step to new sets of tees in 'Tee It Forward' initiative
To help golfers have more fun on the course and enhance their overall experience by playing from a set of tees best suited to their abilities, The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association have partnered to support “TEE IT FORWARD,” a new national initiative to be proposed for golf facilities nationwide from July 5-17.
TEE IT FORWARD encourages all golfers to play the course at a length that is aligned with their average driving distance. Golfers can speed up play by utilizing tees that provide the greatest playability and enjoyment. The program will be promoted this week, at the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, and at both the U.S. Open Championship in June and the U.S. Women's Open Championship in July.
“Simply put, TEE IT FORWARD can make golf much more fun for millions of people,” said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. “We believe that by moving up to another set of tees, golfers will experience an exciting, new approach to the game that will produce more enjoyment and elevate their desire to come back and play even more golf."
Barney Adams, the founder of Adams Golf, provided the concept that led to TEE IT FORWARD. By playing from forward tees, amateur golfers have the chance to play the course at the same relative distance as a touring professional would over 18 holes. The playing field is leveled by giving golfers the opportunity to play from distances that are properly aligned with their abilities.
With many more golfers hitting approach shots with 6- and 7-irons instead of hybrids and long irons, their chances for enjoyment increase. Also, playing from forward tees should result in fewer overall shots, shorter distance traveled on each hole, and potentially, fewer lost balls.
“The passion that golfers have for our game has the potential to be enhanced by the TEE IT FORWARD initiative," said Jim Hyler, president of the United States Golf Association. "This is an innovation that we think will appeal to golfers of all skill levels because it gives them a new challenge that better aligns with their abilities. We hope that TEE IT FORWARD will be embraced by players and golf facilities across the country."
TEE IT FORWARD is not necessarily about creating a new set of tees -- many facilities already have multiple tees in use every day. It is about changing the mindset of golfers in a positive way -- encouraging people to consider setting aside playing from 6,500-6,700 yards and moving up to a length of 6,000-6,200 yards or moving from 6,000-6,200 yards to 5,700-5,800 yards.
The 6,700-yard course that many amateur golfers play today is proportionally equivalent to a PGA Tour player competing on a course measuring 8,100 yards -- 700 yards or more longer than a typical PGA Tour layout.
Jack Nicklaus, who shares the record with Walter Hagen for most PGA Championship titles with five and also shares the U.S. Open record with four victories, is a proponent of TEE IT FORWARD.
"I love the game of golf but I will be the first to tell you that there are things about our game we need to improve," Nicklaus said. "Now The PGA of America and the USGA have come together to develop ways to that can make the game more attractive and more enjoyable. Tee It Forward is the first of many initiatives we have discussed together, and I think families around the country will enjoy alternate formats like this to make the game more fun.
"All of us deeply involved in the game constantly encourage golfers of all skill levels to play the proper tees, but too often golfers want to bite off as much of the golf course as they can. What ends up suffering is their scorecard and their overall enjoyment. This program should help stimulate people to play the proper tees and maximize the golf experience."
TEE IT FORWARD also coincides in July with The PGA of America’s Family Golf Month, which has approximately 2,200 facilities already registered for that national initiative.
About the USGA
The USGA annually conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and 10 national amateur championships. It also conducts two state team championships and helps conduct the Walker Cup Match, Curtis Cup Match and World Amateur Team Championships. Each year, more than 35,000 players representing more than 80 countries submit entries to play in USGA championships. The USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries. The USGA writes and administers the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, and, since 1920, has been a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history, and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program. For more information about the USGA, visit //www.usga.org/.
About The PGA of America
Celebrating its 95th year, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission of its founders: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in a multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf.