TEE IT FORWARD: Adams knows how to make golf more enjoyable

Barney Adams
Getty Images
Barney Adams, founder of the incredibly successful Adams Golf, is the spokesperson for a new initiative called, "TEE IT FORWARD."
T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer

Series: PGA Feature

Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 10:22 a.m.

As if the game of golf isn't difficult enough, it can be downright daunting when you go to a new course for the first time and check out the yardage on the scorecard before you tee off.

Depending on the tees you play, the course could stretch to well over 7,000 yards. That's just fine for a Tour-caliber player, but what fun is it for the person who loves to play, but can't possibly enjoy hitting nothing but fairway woods all day?


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.


To return to our TEE IT FORWARD page, click here.

The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association (USGA) have joined forces to support, "TEE IT FORWARD," a new national initiative to be proposed for golf facilities nationwide from July 5-17. The goal of the initiative is to help golfers have more fun on the course and enhance their overall performance by playing from a set of tees best suited to their abilities.

"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 and is at Congressional Country Club for this week's U.S. Open to promote it. 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.

From his original Adams Tight Lies fairway woods, right on up to this new idea, Adams has always been an advocate of making the game easier for the masses. This particular idea, as well-intentioned as it is, was born more out of frustration than anything else.

"I played a round of golf and I guess it lodged in my memory," Adams explained. "I was working late at my computer one night and reflecting on that round. It dawned on me that I didn't have a good time, which was crazy. I played in perfect conditions on a great course. Why would my thought process be that I didn't have a good time? I analyzed it less emotionally and more research-based. I went on the internet to learn my people leave the game. It took little to no time to find the answer to that question: it takes too long and it wasn't any fun."

Ever the researcher, Adams dug up more information and about 3-4 months ago, he discovered that the number of golfers nationally in 2009 was the same as in 1990. That was alarming considering how the popularity of the game had supposedly grown. How then, were more people not playing? Subsequent to that, Adams said that further research and updated data showed that there are a million people less playing now than in 1990.

What the heck happened?

"Let's call a spade a spade -- the stewards of the game were stubborn and not making it fun with longer courses and tee locations that most of us have no business playing from," Adams said. "There's a lot of people who feel like me. They quit. I've been playing for 50 years and I wasn't going to quit. I was frustrated. A third of the holes, I couldn't get home in regulation. That's not how golf is supposed to be played."

From there, Adams once again ran some studies and quickly came to the conclusion that the average Tour player very conservatively hits the ball 90 yards further per hole -- 70 yards off the tee and 20 yards with the irons -- than the average amateur.

"Using that logic, we teed it up at what the equivalent would be for the Tour player," Adams said. "For the average amateur, that's 6,100-6,200 yards, or, about 1,000 yards shorter than from where most men with the male ego tee it up from. It creates a more level playing field. It's not an advantage. When you're up there, you still have to hit good second shots, but at least you'll have a shot. The more I got into it, it's like a huge neon sign over my head flashed called, 'Dumb,' and that was me."

Adams wrote a story about his findings. It ran in PGA Magazine and was so well received that the PGA of America and USGA got together and wanted to support it. TEE IT FORWARD is no longer an idea, but the start of a movement.

Adams admits that in order for the movement to succeed, it's going to be a long, arduous process. After all, how do you shake the mindset of so many amateur golfers who believe the only way -- what they perceive as the, 'right,' way -- to play a course is from the way back tees? Or, more appropriately, why is it that so many amateurs think they're supposed to play those back tees?

"If I could figure that out, I could make a lot of money in the psychology business," Adams joked. "I had that same stupid mindset until I stopped and thought about it. When we ran an experiment and played the right tees, I felt guilty and I didn't even shoot a good score. But why? It opens up a whole new world. You play faster and it's more fun -- what do you know? Weren't those the original complaints as to why more people aren't playing? It's relatively easy to administer, but it'll be very difficult to change the mindset. The plan I have is the first year is an educational cycle. Get the word out and then get more proactive and design a set of tee markers. It's not about running up to the red and white tees, it's about setting up the course the way it's supposed to be. If I hit a bad shot with an 8-iron, it's going to be much easier to find than a bad shot with a hybrid or a fairway wood."

Adams also insisted it's not about adding several more sets of tees -- it simply involves golf courses setting tees where they should be set. It doesn't make the game easier, Adams said, it makes it more enjoyable. And, unlike other suggestions to make the game more fun -- a larger cup size, using illegal equipment, wider fairways, shorter rough, etc. -- TEE IT FORWARD doesn't compromise the integrity or the purity of the game.

TEE IT FORWARD coincides in July with The PGA of America's Family Golf Month, which has approximately 2,200 facilities already registered for that national initiative. During Family Golf Month, golf courses will offer a series of programs for people to learn and play golf as a family -- a perfect complement to TEE IT FORWARD as far as Adams is concerned.

"I started working at a course when I was 12-13 years old," Adams said. "From a family standpoint, I don't think there's a better place for a family to spend time together. I want them to enjoy themselves. I'm not doing anything to give them a better advantage. All I'm saying is, let's play a game the way the big guys do." 



Determining which tees to hit from is not a simle thing. If I am 67 and hit the ball 250 I should play from the whites while my buddies play from the Gold tees? There really is no fair way to decide but I think it should be a combination of age and handicap. If you can play to a 10 or less handicap from the blues you should play from the blues. Gold tees should be for golfers 70 or older. The Champions tour begins at 50 and it is much shorter than the regular tour. Based on this if you are over 50 you should be able to play from the white tees no matter what your handicap. We have in the group I play in what we call hackers rules. 1 mulligan a side, Inside the leather is good if you are putting for a doule or more and inside the the putter (standarad length) is good if you are putting for a triple. Makes the game a lot more fun and speeds up play.


tee it " FORWARD " Jesus. What Obama Zombie suggested forward.

I have a suggestion for a new solgan

Tee It Forward with Obama cause America Needs To Be Burnt To The Ground and Romney Sucks


You guys don't get it. The "tee it forward" is only necessary because golf courses continue to try to cram as many players into as small a timeframe as possible. Instead of us having to race through a round, why not spread players out a little more? Maybe 10-12 minutes between tee-times instead of 6-8 minutes? It's ridiculous, and apparently you've been able to dupe everyone into thinking this has anything to do with making the game 'enjoyable'.

Also, read what Dustin Lyon says below. Golf is NOT about how far you can hit the ball. I can outplay many of my fellow competitors and consistently hit it 30-40 yards shorter off the tee than they do (I hit around 240). Yet, I play with someone who can hit it 280, but NOT straight -- so you're saying that guy should be playing from tees further back? Give me a break.

You guys are TOTALLY missing the boat on this one. Tell golf courses to STOP squeezing us into tee times like sardines, and tell people to play tees that are appropriate to their HANDICAP, not their driving distance.

Sad I even have to explain this. So enough with this nonsense already -- the "Tee it Forward" initiative is ill-conceived. (And I agree with whoever said "Play It Faster" should be the concept instead).


People are making this way too complicated by worrying about the color of the tee marker. Courses don't need to come up with another set of tees, just do away with the gold meaning senior and red meaning ladies. Make them a neutral color and then everyone would have a tee to play.

With all of that said, what's the real reason for "tee it forwar"? IMO its at least half to speed up play. If it is then its all wrong. Your tee box should have no bearing on your pace. Yea, it may take less shots to get to the green if your playing the up tees but if you lolly gag around on your 3 shots then you haven't sped up your pace. This I see take place every weekend....guys not ready to hit when it's their turn, guys afraid to get out of their cart to walk 25 yards to their ball when their partner pulls up to his or her ball, lining up every putt like its the us open. These things slow the pace down tremendously. If courses would encourage faster play and enforce the rules on it then the round would be so much more enjoyable. But courses are scared to death to piss off one group even though that one group is ruining 10 other groups good time.

This is the problem with golf today, not the tee selection. If "tee it forward" we're called "play it faster" I would be all in. The way it stands, yea, the program may make things more enjoyable for the hacks or short knockers but it doesn't speed them up. So it's really an exercise in futility.


I think that this Tee it Forward program might just keep me playing golf. I just started 5 years ago at the age of 52. And it's been a frustrating 5 years to say the least. I do still consider myself very much a beginner .....

I've taken lessons from 3 different teaching pros, one of whom video taped my swing from 5 different angles and played it back for me to see, I've joined 2 different clubs, played as often as 4 times a week during warm weather, bought new equipment twice and practiced every week religiously, both on the range and out of sand traps and around the chipping greens. I've purchased just about every golf training aid, gimmick, and this week's newest trick that has come out. And I've used GPS and the distance measuring scopes as well. The only thing I'm halfway decent at is my putting and chippng . I'll put it up against any of the guys I regularly play with.

I've been a pretty darn good athlete and a "natural" all of my life in both individual and team sports. I've actually excelled at several individual sports to world class level and traveled the world competing and winning. And I've seen sports that grew fast initially, leveled off, and then rapidly went into decline when the cost of participation got so high or the sport neglected it's beginners or novice players.

But now I've taken up the game of golf. And it has kicked my butt........partially because I now have back and joint problems from previous sports, and I don't have the flexibility to make a great golf swing. And partially because course designers have made the courses too long and hard for novices.

A great drive for me is in the 175 to 190 yard range. Usually, I'm much shorter than that unless the rollout is down hill. I can hit the ball straight off the tee (most of the time) and seldom slice or hook it out of bounds. My biggest problem is my second and/or third shots. I find it difficult to hit off the short grass or the occassional 2nd cut. Especially if the ball is above or below my feet which it often is. Seldom do I make a GIR on Par 4's or 5's. My only pars come when I've chipped in from off the green (LUCK) or on Par 3's. I usually score between 98 and 116 playing from the white tees.

Distance is my BIGGEST problem. The most "fun" I've had in this sport is when I've played in the many "charity" tournaments each year. These have usually been best ball scrambles and I've benefited from my teammates long drives, getting a feel for what it's like to have approach shots like you good golfers have.

A few weeks ago, a friend let me borrow an older set of Ping irons he had and I had a great first round with them (for me), breaking 90 for the first time in my life (88) from the whites. I was excited again !!! Next time out, shot a 93. And yesterday, with the same irons, a 102. So the 88 was just a fluke....... I was so frustrated that I was ready to quit entirely.

The club I belong to right now is one of the easiest courses in my area, wide open, no water hazards, just a few sand traps and not many trees. In the winter time here in NE Georgia, they keep the rough cut fairly short and I can generally play several rounds without losing a single ball. But in the summer time, the fairways are cut rather narrow, and even if you hit it in the short grass, your ball is likely to roll into the 2nd or 3rd cut and "disappear" resulting in a lost ball and the subsequent penalty strokes.

Often, it takes me at least 4 strokes to arrive at a Par 4, and 5 strokes on the Par 5's. Because of the "rolling" terrain of our course, many of the longer holes you finish with up-hill shots to the greens and you don't really know for sure if you're on until you get there......

I think that I would rather play from forward tee boxes, the lengths of which are designed for my ability (or lack thereof), than to have my buddies "give" me strokes to even out our play. I'm tired of buying the beers at the end of the round and listening to the bragging. And yes, I like to play fast and get just as frustrated by slow play as anyone else. It stands to reason that a shorter course will play faster simply because it will require less strokes. Really slow players should be speeded up by a marshall or his or her fellow players.

For the last two years, I had joined the Georgia State Golf Association in order to establish a handicap and to track my stats. Turned out I was pretty consistently in the 23 to 26 index. But because few of the 8 or 10 other guys I play with regularly ever joined, I dropped the membership because it was of no value to me since they never took it into consideration when we play. GSGA has been begging me to come back but I just don't see the benefit as the only tournaments I play in are charity benefits.

We've got one 71 year young guy (who's been playing all of his life) that we play with regularly. He's one of our best golfers and he consistently shoots in the high 70's to low 80's at this course playing from the white tees (5916 yards). He refuses to go to the Senior tees because he outdrives all of us by 40 to 80 yards or more from the whites. And this, to me, seems the proper tee box for him. But I'm too young to move up to the so called Senior tees and I would catch endless ribbing if I did.

I would also like to see a different designation of the tee boxes based on distance of your game as opposed to "age" or "gender" descrimination.....

Personally, I hope that the "Tee It Forward" promotion takes off and that in the future, it will be accepted by everyone, even those of you in the "cro-magnon" class !!!

If it does, I might just keep playing this game. If not, well, anyone want to buy some golf equipment? I'll just go back to flying hang gliders and look down on golf courses as a good place to land on cross country flights or in an emergency when I get low....... :^)


Definitely a great idea.. especially for the non-serious golfers. Tee it Forward (TIF) would speed up play, and allow people to enjoy the sport more. With TIF..we might be able to crub some of the mulligans, gimmie putts, and other forms of "soicallly accepted cheating" that goes on..But for TIF to work, a club needs to be "all in" The TIF charts must be on every scorecard and every hole marker. Driving ranges should have specific areas where golfers can accurately measure their true tee shot distances...(what..you dont hit 250 every time...shocking...) even some holes should have distance markers from the tee boxes so golfers know where they should be hitting from. Craig also had a great point..no more red, white and blue colored tee markers..That would help remove some of the social stigma attached with those colors in relation to tees. I hope glof clubs would adopt TIF...and even better, make TIF a "local rule"...

Kevin Cowell
Naples, FL


Most folks that golf off the Blue or pro tee will shame their buddy into doing the same even though anyone here knows being on your third mulligan on the second hole is never a happy feeling . It makes sense but how do you overcome folks embarrassing dilemma of using the Senior / handicap/beginner tee even though it will make for a better game ( by better I mean not weeping or kicking 9- irons ) At first I thought this would be silly but it's an idea that's worth following even as you tweak the eventual unforeseen. My hat is off to you ( no, really the wind took it on the last hole but Mr.maniac Driver here ...) Next we can teach folks about 90 degrees and how it don't mean make 4 passes across the fairway.


I just really started learning to play golf about 7 months ago.
Ive been doing really well and can control the ball for the most part, but where Im sorely lacking is distance.
I read a similar article to this one a few weeks ago and two days ago I just moved up from the white tees to the next ones up and wow.....I couldnt believe the difference. I managed to get 2 birdies, first since I started last summer, and scored a 93 which was my best to date on a full sized course.

I cant carry a driver because frankly about 30% of the time it leaves me out into the trees or lake, and I can hit my 3 wood really good and have close to the distance I get with a driver anyway.

So my drives with my 3 wood are 200ish or just under most of the time, which really leaves me short a lot of times.
Now, Ive parred 550yard par 5's, so its not impossible, but its more those long par 4's that take advantage of my distance shortage.

The guys I play with are hardnosed about this tee it forward thing. They dont think youre a man if you play short tees and dont have a extra stiff flex 8* driver in your bag.

Me...I'll carry a pink golf bag carrying ladies clubs with pink golf balls dragging a poodle with a bow on its head if it means I can score half decent, and teeing it forward makes that possible for me.

My home course is about 5300 yards when playing the short tees and it seems just about perfect for my game.

I really wish the stigma of hitting off the short tees wasnt so abundant.
Im not less of a man because I am an amateur and dont carry the big guns.


I applaud both the PGA & USGA for this initiative. I've come to believe you are missing one key part in getting this embraced by a large number of golfers. Currently tee boxes are labeled with names like Championship, Tour, Men's, Senior's, Lady's. You need to change the names to tie to driving distance. For instance 250+, 225, 200, 175. Courses could use your table as a guide. If someone has tees that play 6700 yards, they could be names 275. The 6300-yard course could be 250, etc.
Tom Kelly


Great idea. I have moved up a tee box in the past few weeks and have enjoyed playing the game much more. I am more comfortable off the tee and find that I don't have to hit my driver everywhere now. That makes for a greater variety of shots available to me. To those "purests" that have a problem with the program, I say play and enjoy the game you have been playing, but let me enjoy it also.


I really like this idea, and I don't like this idea. Here are my issues...
I'm not positive that you should pick a tee box only going by length of your drive. I follow the Tournaments closely, and check up on all the players stats. Corey Pavin(US Open Champion) has a driving average of 257 yards. So if Corey Pavin comes to your club, you're going to want him to move it forward. I don't think so. There are a couple of other very notable players that have won majors and other tournaments that don't average 275 off the tee. So I believe that is not the major problem causing slow play, or lack of fun.
I live in Los Angeles. I have no wife and no kids, so I have a lot of free time on my hands. I LOVE to golf. But it has gotten to the point where I can't even go to the LA Municipals anymore due to slow play. I have played 6 hour and 15 minute rounds before. It gets very frustrating at times. I notice that people just don't understand the game of golf at all. They think it's a casual day in the park, and every now and then, they smack a ball. I think that more golf education is needed.
I do agree with the ego point though. I play as a single a lot, get added to a 3 some of random people, and see a lot of things. Most men do believe that they can hit the ball 300 yards, when they are no where close.(I average 265, FYI.) It doesn't matter what tee they are playing from. They wait until the group ahead of us is almost at the green before they tee of. Then like I said, come no where close to hitting up on them. Then they casual stroll to there ball, take 9 practice swings, and worm burn the ball 50 yards to the right. I have had to wait 2 or 3 shots from the other guy before i get to hit my second. Not like Im a pro or anything, but I know when to cut my losses if necessary. I have also watched people mark a 1 foot putt, but that's another story all together.
I am a 7 handicap, and was taught to play ready golf, which I think needs to be strongly taught these days. When I play with my dad and his friends at his club, we sometimes get the 1st tee time of the day. We play with his friends, ranging from 4 handicaps to 18 handicaps. We average 18 holes in 2 hours and 45 minutes. Most people these days take their sweet time to do nothing. For Example...
I was at an LA Muni last weekend. I was a walk on single added to a group of 3 guys. They played so slow it made me very angry. They would tee of after the other group was at the green. Then they would drive up to their balls, with the green open, and just sit in their carts staring at the open green. Many times i out drove them, so I would have to wait more than normal to hit my second shot. At about the 6th whole, the group behind us was on our tails. They weren't playing very fast, the guys I was with were playing slow. Then one of the guys I was playing with starting complaining about how he was feeling rushed. I actually almost laughed out loud. I tried to calmly explain to him that they were playing slow, and he just wasn't having that at all.
So like I said, and all around golf education is needed, not just people shorting their courses by moving up. I am sorry for venting, but I just love this game so much that I want to play a 4 hour round and have fun doing it. I think the PGA of America is a great thing, and all the work you have done is great as well. I just know that we can make it better for everyone.
Thanks for listening.

Dustin Lyon


Tee it forward is a great idea. I have only been playing golf for the last two years and at 47 years old I can't compete with the young guys from work with whom I play. Also another reason why more people don't play golf is that is so bleeping expensive. If my employer didn't kick in a deal on the fees I couldn't afford to play regularly, and the cost of the "good" clubs and balls is also very prohibitive!


Thank you Mr. Adams for Tee It Forward. I'd like you to know that my friends and I have been doing this for years. We map the tees to a course before we play so that the total course distance falls between 6400 and 6700 yards. Usually we need to adjust only the par fours. As a group we average between 220 to 240 yards carry with a driver, which I have discovered aligns closely to proposed chart. However, we may also factor in sogginess, wind, cold, and severity of elevation changes on particular holes. The result is always an enjoyable, challenging, and competitive match.


I do not think "Tee it Forward" addresses the real issue for many weekend golfers. I and most of the golfers I play with (even my 13-year-old son) can hit the greens in regulation with decently struck golf shots on all the holes at our favorite courses, and even with the existing tee boxes. We are not afraid of testing ourselves against tees that an expert amateur or professional golfer would play, and in fact it gives us a keener appreciation for how good those better players really are.

The crux of the problem in my mind are matters of course layout and course maintenance. At most courses, you cannot play a round of golf by the rules of golf, and still play in a reasonable amount of time. The major issue is time spent looking for your ball, and then dealing with what to do when your ball is lost outside a water hazard and within bounds. In a professional tournament, if a golfer hits a shot into trees between or beside fairways or into some tall grass or even a bit off line into the second cut of rough, there are forecaddies, marshalls, TV crews, and/or spectators all over the place helping them immediately locate their ball, or at least telling them before they leave the tee that they are in trouble and should hit a provisional. When I play a weekend round, I will likely lose my ball in those situations, and then what am I supposed to do? By the rules I would have to spend 5 minutes searching and then walk 280 yards back to the tee and hit another shot (which might end up in trouble also), treating my group and the groups behind me to quite a long wait. When is the last time you saw a professional in a PGA tournament have to walk back to the tee and hit another? It happens, but seldom. In weekend golf played by mid-handicappers on most courses, it would happen so often in a given foursome that rounds played by the rules would be long and tedious for everyone.

I understand that you can wave the next group through if you have to go back and reload, but do this more than once or twice in a round, and your playing partners will become most irate. I understand the provisional ball rules. But provisionals take time to hit and then find and retrieve afterwards, and if I were to play one every time I was not 100% sure where my ball has finished, I would be playing a lot of them. And yet every time I decide not to play one when I should have, I am faced with the same dilemma again. And there reasons we often decide not to hit a provisional: (i) Sometimes especially on an unfamiliar course, my playing partners get annoyed because I am wasting their time frequently hitting and retrieving provisionals. (ii) Oftentimes it would not occur to me to hit a provisional because I have hit what should have been a perfectly decent shot, but when I get to where it should have been, it is nowhere to be found due to the length of the rough or course features that couldn't be seen from the tee. Walk back to the tee and reload a few times in one round (letting the following group play through in the process), and you're looking at 5 hours or more for the loop, for you AND your group.

So what is our practical solution to keep the pace of play reasonable for the sake of the golfers in our own group as well as other golfers on the course? We play lost balls through the green essentially as if they were lost in a hazard whether they are or not, and take a drop in whatever spot seems fair or convenient. This is cheating. Once you have done this, even if you assess yourself a penalty stroke, you no longer have an honest true score in that round (you should have lost stroke and distance, and still have the penal uncertainty of not knowing where your next stroke will end up when you reload and hit from the tee again). Handicap indices made up of these scores are meaningless. Scores when played that way are certainly biased low.

These are the things that take the enjoyment out of the game for me and my playing partners. Again, the problem, and its solution, have to do with course design and course maintenance. The ability for golfers to play within the rules, but still with a decent pace of play could be maintained by following a few simple principles: 1. The course should be set up and maintained so that any golf ball, errantly struck or not, should be easily found anywhere through the green unless it has gone out of bounds or into a marked hazard; 2. By corollary any area where a ball CAN be lost should either be marked out of bounds or as a hazard. 3. All out of bounds areas (and in some cases hazards) should be visibly marked so that they can be clearly seen from any vantage point, especially from the tee.

There are a number of practical measures a course would have to take to follow these principles (and could do so in such a way that the course would still be difficult and penalize errant shots). You can still have treed areas, lots of them if you want, but keep them closely mowed like Augusta, so the penal thing about it is that now you have to hit your next shot with trees in your line, or off of pine straw or something. Eliminate these damn areas of foot-tall ball-eating grass that many courses, especially higher end courses, like to put all over the place to make their course look like a PGA tour stop – or if you must have these areas, mark them either as hazards or out of bounds. I am not complaining about losing golf balls - make as many ball eating features as you want, but make sure they are ALL marked as hazards, or clearly marked from every vantage point as out of bounds. The objective here is to keep golfers from wasting everybody's time slashing around in the cabbage looking for a ball. Try not to design courses with blind shots - you should be able to see your ball land and roll after every shot so that you can either find it easily, or clearly see from the tee that it has possibly gone out of bounds or into a hazard. Above all, keep the damn rough long enough to be penal, but short enough so that it cannot hide golf balls. Make sure ball eating temporary loose impediments like piles of leaves in the falltime are collected promptly and frequently, and enact and clearly post local rules that any time a ball that is likely lost in those types of situations, the player may take a free drop as near as possible to the place at which it is likely to be lost.

Golf can be fun again, if the courses were not a stressful chore to play while still staying within rules of golf.


The PGA creates a specific stigma on players who move to forward tees. I play the white tees at my club instead of the blue tees. When I play a tournament event at my club, 2 strokes are automatically subtracted from my established white tee handicap when I compete. I fully understand that this has to do with the fact that our course is "rated" as a 70 handicap from the whites and 72 from the blues. However that rating is based on the fact that we have two par 5's of "just 500 yards" and at 65 years of age they expect guys like me to hit those greens in two strokes (fat chance). The other thing is that our course computer shows my handicap as 16 from the blues and 15 from the whites, so if I play the tournament from the blues, I play at 16, but if I play from the whites my tournamnet handicap is 13. I have written several letters to the PGA, and they don't even bother to respond. Pretty much it is evident that the PGA feels that this is a game for young studs, and if you "tee it forward" you will be made to feel inferior. It would be better to rate the course at 72 from the whites for us senior golfers and do away with all the screwy rounding up or rounding down in the calculations so that we do not have to be "embarassed" at tournament time.


The first thing that needs to be done is do away with the red tee markers.
Removing the red may be enough. We may have to change the color of the other tee markers as well. Strange minds we have. Promote the yardage not to color of the tees. Make it easy to understand. Most golfer do not have handicaps. Say if you hit a five iron 150 yards you should play this set of tees.

I also play in the Lord Calvert Invitational. We play a two man scramble. Start at the whites birdie move back ..bogey move forward. It really evens it out and makes it much more enjoyable.

To promote golf we need more driving ranges close to where people live. Going to a golf course can be intimidating for many people. If you have gone to your neighborhood range, we would have a much better chance of an individual catching the golf bug. PGA please ...Try it and see if it works if not close it down.

I have the first $50 to start the ball rolling. Let me know where to send the check.

Craig Hazelett
USGA Member


Congratulations to the PGA and the USGA on working together on this very noble cause. I turned 62 about two weeks ago and I have been playing on regulation golf courses since I was 14 and on “pitch and putts” since I was 12 years old. I play on the golf team in high school and in college, and my handicap has been a low as 3.5, so I know and love the game. By the way (for Barney Adams) this evening I just bought a 25 degree Adams hybrid which will complement my 22 degree Adams and 19 degree Cleveland hybrid, this means my 6 iron goes into retirement and my 5 iron stays.

One of the most telling stats that Mr. Adams brought up was the number of golfers in 2009 was the same as the number in 1990. According to the US Census the US population has grown by 60 million people in the last 20 years (1990 v 2010). This means about 7% fewer people are playing golf. I remember when Tiger first “hit” the PGA Tour, the talk was golf will be “cool” again, he will appeal to the younger crowd, as well as minorities.

There are a number of things reasons why this didn’t happen and it not Tiger’s, or the USGA, or PGA’s fault. There are number of things that have hurt the game, a few are:
• Both parents are working long hours
• Video games / DVD’s / New Media are “babysitters”
• Kids don’t play un-organized sports the way we used to
• The economy / increase in unemployment (% has almost doubled in the past 3 years)

Things related directly to golf:
• Takes 4.5 to 5 hours to play 18
• It is not an easy game to learn
• Pitch & Putt courses are almost non-existent

I think “The Play It Forward” idea is a good one, to make it a great idea you should include the slope into the mix also. Ask people to breakdown their rounds for 1 month and see where they are "losing" the most strokes my guess is the last 80 to 100 yards.

The other things to make golf better are:
1) Use Social Media to get input from younger people on why they play or don’t play golf. It is easy to do online questionnaires
2) Also ask them how would they make it better
3) Get input from younger golfers (high school, college, and pros like Ricky Fowler on what they would do to appeal to more younger people
4) Ask seasoned golfers to “Pay it Forward” and participate in things like the First Tee, and PGA Tour Events in your community. Excitement is contagious!
5) ON COURSE Improvements – this can start tomorrow:
b. One Practice Swing ONLY
c. If you have a 4-some and 2 people are low handicappers and 2 are high handicappers it is OK to Play DIFFERENT Tees
d. Take your kids to play after work


In my opinion this is one of then best things that could happen to the game and as mentioned in the article maintain the integrity of the game.

I have been saying for 5 years that we should play tees that allow us to hit the same club into the green that the pros would hit...exactly what Tee It Forward is all about.

My index is in the 7 to 8 range, I only hit my drives in the 220 range but straight down the middle every time, if I play the member tees at my clubs they are in the 6,700 yard range, there are 2 or 3 par 4's that i can not reach in two at each course....does not make for an enjoyable round.

Last year I started playing from the senior tees, about 6200 yards, I get a lot of grief from other members for doing that, even get penalized 2 strokes when playing in the weekend pot games but I really don't care, I love hitting greens in regulation, I love breaking 80 and I love the opportunity on a good day to be close to shooting par....can not do that from the tees that I'm "supposed" to play.

I was playing by myself last weekend late in the day following another single, he was playing from the member tees and on at least 4 or 5 holes he did not even get to the fairway off the tee....why play the game, it is not the way it should be played.

In events I am required to play from the member tees, this year I've decided not to play in many of them, it is no fun for me.

As good an idea as this is in my opinion the egos of most golfers will never allow this to happen, most guys believe they hit their driver way farther than they do...if they actually knew how far they really hit their
drives they would never admit it.

Regardless I'm going to keep playing from the tees I'm comfortable with and I'm going to enjoy the game I love and who cares what other people do or say.

Regardless I will continue


Forward Tees are a great idea. I have been successful in getting several courses to install forward Orange Tees with a total yardage of about 4,250 yards.
While men normally have the option of moving forward from the Blue Tees to the White Tees to the Gold Tees (or whatever color) but most courses offer Ladies a choice of the Red, or the Red or the Red Tees. These Orange Tees give them another option. They are designed for a golfer with a 150 yard drive or less.
Any USGA rated course can easily determine a temporary rating for the Forward Tees using USGA Handicapping Rule 5-2g. It takes only a few minutes and should be valid until the USGA makes a formal rating for the Forward Tees.
We winter in Surprise, AZ and I have observed the drives of hundreds of Senior Ladies. While a few still hit their drive more than 150 yards, the vast majority hit 130 to 150 yards. The Orange Tees are nicely suited for them.
Keep up the good work. If you are interested in the Ideal Yardage for each hole from Orange Tees let me know.


My 10 yr old son and I "tee it forward" most of the time. Per the guidelines, with my 275 yard drive I should play courses 6700 to 6900 yards. My son drives it 175 to 185 which per the chart is somewhere around 5000 yards. So today we played Dove Canyon in Orange County California (one of Beau Hossler's home courses). I played a set of tees in the 6750 range and length wasn't my problem (accuracy was). My son played the forward tees (green) that measured 5200 yards. he is straighter than me, shot 77 and beat me by several strokes (I'm a 6 and he's in the low teens). Still, he had to hit 3 wood to a couple of par 4s and I think the longest club I had was 7 iron, except 18 where Jack forces you to lay up off the tee to stay short of the water. Jack always wants you to hit a long iron, preferably over water, on the 18th hole.

Here is my problem. The forward Tees aren't handicapped for men. I can't post his score on the computer in the proshop after the round. So I have to come home, look up a formula, do a conversion, and post his score from home. Can you please, as part of your "Tee it Forward" program, ask the SCGA and others to handicap the forward tees so kids and others who "Tee it Forward" can post their scores.

Jerry Stephenson