PGA and USGA step to new sets of tees in 'Tee It Forward' initiative

tee it forward
The PGA of America / USGA
With TEE IT FORWARD, golfers can speed up play and have more fun by using tees that provide the greatest playability and enjoyment.
The PGA of America


Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | 3:25 p.m.

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.


This chart is a guideline to help golfers align their average driving distance with the course length best suited to their abilities.

Driver Distance

Recommended 18-Hole Yardages


















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

“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 //

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.



I read about this looking for something else last week. I am 67, walk 9 holes 3 times a week, walk 18 holes twice and Saturday is cart day. So I decided to be a Lady and play the front tees. After 18, I evaluated my round; I then realized the program was written about me. I then understood why my game had been stuck at 88-91 forever, because I was +7 before I hit off #1. Because of the 2 streams crisscrossing all the par 5s and my 160-165 (GPS) drives down the middle I was lucky to be on the greens in 5. Hit, lay-up, hit, lay-up and tray to get on 5. My friend is younger, he hits from the middle tees and he finds it more fun because we are somewhat on an equal plane now. We both except we are crummy golfers and will never be seen on TV Sunday afternoon. We don’t play in any of the groups because we are new member (CC) and are not accepted in the Ol’ Boys cliques but we have more fun, even if we use a “foot wedge” on occasions. lol Personally my competition is each hole, not Troy or anyone else. The standing joke “if it is pasted the Ladies tee it’s a good shot” is no longer my standard. If truth be told, I cannot think of any other sport/game that ego and dishonesty has such a controlling impact. Just saying !

My friend loves this concept and I am the pita guy who insist on from playing from the whites. This is my second year, I'm 43 and I'm hitting 100 to 110 score and drive 200 to 220, not always on the fairway but very playable more often than not. Here's the thing ... I know I suck so I hustle. When I golf 2 or 3 of us usually will finish a round 3 to 3 1/2 hours when the course is empty so I'm rarely if ever slowing down this game. You could argue I would have more fun getting girs and such but I'm having plenty of fun coming in with my 4 hybrid. I feel that if in 4 or 5 years I still need a long hybrid or wood to get to the green I would be more open to moving up but right now I'm enjoying the practice with my long clubs. :) all that said its hard to teach an old dog new tricks, the courses should move the tees closer so I can continue being a manly man and playing from the whites!


I like it, but would agree with another posted that it should be based on handicap as well ... There is a site I fould called isukgolf that has ideas that would help pace of play for recreational golf. I like thier concepts and would be a good start as many have voiced to relax some rules just a bit for non-competative play.


@John Mitscha You're lack of understanding the core concept of this idea is almost comical. While you were whining about "making the hole bigger" and "making school easier" I was just laughing at you're failed logic. You see allowing beginners to move forward, has no negative affect on the rest of golf. In fact it will speed up play at most courses and allow those of us that have the ability to play from the tips, to do so at a reasonable pace. No more waiting while a foursome all hit their second shots from the front tees.
@Pam O'Malley You are not the only one here missing the point. Mr. Mitscha has the same view. The reason they don't fill in all the sand traps, and remove the water hazards and trees is because that would change the game for everyone. This idea is unique in that it allows even the least skilled beginners to enjoy the game without ruining golf for everyone.


I think this program is a great concept. I like to consider myself an average golfer. Consistently and accurately I drive the ball about 180 to 200, depends on the contact. Trying to get above that calls for more power which leads to bad slices. Most average golfers are like this whether they admit it or not. Point is once I read about "tee it forward" I understood what the concept behind it was. Yesterday I played 9 holes with a friend of mine from the gold tees. How old I am is irrelevant, but I would not be considered old enough to play from the golds. Moving forward from the whites allowed me to play within my capabilities. My friend and I had a great time making GIR's and keeping our ball on the fairway. Normally I would shoot 9 holes in the mid 50s. This time I shot a 47. So, guys, get over the egos. Be true to yourself and know your capabilities. You are not professional tour players, or you wouldnt be working whatever job you have now. Give it a shot and see how it feels to hit a par 5 green in three rather than four or make bogie before even getting to the green.


I think this program is a great concept. I like to consider myself an average golfer. Consistently and accurately I drive the ball about 180 to 200, depends on the contact. Trying to get above that calls for more power which leads to bad slices. Most average golfers are like this whether they admit it or not. Point is once I read about "tee it forward" I understood what the concept behind it was. Yesterday I played 9 holes with a friend of mine from the gold tees. How old I am is irrelevant, but I would not be considered old enough to play from the golds. Moving forward from the whites allowed me to play within my capabilities. My friend and I had a great time making GIR's and keeping our ball on the fairway. Normally I would shoot 9 holes in the mid 50s. This time I shot a 47. So, guys, get over the egos. Be true to yourself and know your capabilities. You are not professional tour players, or you wouldnt be working whatever job you have now. Give it a shot and see how it feels to hit a par 5 green in three rather than four or make bogie before even getting to the green.


I live in and adult community with an Arther Hills course which as I get older becomes more an more difficult to play with enjoyment. Being a 19 handicap and having to play the white tees (5923) with a driving distance under 200 yards I have asked the golf committee to allow people who have reached their 75th year to be able to move up one tee to the green tees (5323) they are not in favor of this move. The USGA Play it forward gives me great ammunition to go to our board with. THANK YOU!


This is a great concept but I agree that courteous enforcement of pace of play would be even more effective in moving the game along. A reminder from the starter or pro shop cashier at the start of each round and note on the scorecard could help golfers keep pace of play in mind. Reminders posted in carts and/or at tee boxes too. Waiting for putzing players hole after hole can take the fun out of any round. Even the golfer with the highest handicap can be ready to play their shot and manage a cart efficiently.

Ranging has become a rare concept on many courses these days but a friendly individual roaming the course in a cart politely reminding folks to keep things moving makes a huge difference. Pacing the starts would help too. Tee times are taken for a reason so don't just send group after group to the first tee and think things won't clog up in a hurry.

Also - it is not unmanly for slower guys to let women play through if they are playing a faster game. Many men happily allow this but so often they pretend they can't even see the women behind them even if the ladies are sitting in a cart waiting for the gents to tee off hole after hole.

Golf is a wonderful game whatever your age or skill level. There is no need to rush play. The trick is to know how your game fits in and act accordingly. You might have to give up looking for that lost ball or even pick up and move to the green but the key to an enjoyable afternoon for all is to keep moving!


There shouldn't be a chart advising people where to play from. If they want to be macho and struggle around the course then that's their right. What should be enforced is pace of play. Play from the dang parking lot on every tee shot if you want but get in your cart and go hit your next shot. The slow golfers are ruining it for everyone and it has nothing to do with which tee you play. It's people not watching their ball, telling jokes when they should be hitting and lining up every putt like its the us open. You'll never convince some of these ego maniacs that they need to play the up tees so why even try? But you could start a program that encourages fast play.

Just a couple weeks ago in Florida me and my father in law catch up to another does this happen? It shouldn't happen, no matter what your handicapp is. If you watch your ball and get to your ball and be ready to hit when it's your turn then your pace will be good. There's just too many golfers that have no golf etiquette...that's the problem. They feel like they paid their money and they can take as long as they want. It's a crappy attitude but sadly I see every weekend. The courses need to stress pace of play and enforce the rules. And guess what would eventually happen? Guys would start scooting up a tee. Problem solved.


The worse offenders are men 25-35, I wish I had a buck for every time I've watched a group like this hit their second shots from the reds. The easiest way to make this happen is for courses to move the tees forward. I run a senior league and we play from the whites on modest length holes and the gold/reds on the long 4's and 5's and it works very well. There are valid arguments for using either handicaps or length of drive to determine tee boxes for open play however, for league play handicaps are better because they are the most valid consistent measurement. Also figuring out an average driving distance is very difficult. On any given day or hole I can hit one 270+ or dribble one 20 yards. My advise to course management don't put out the blues or blacks unless you are having a tournament where you have a high caliber level of competition. Golf is in a slump because after the Tiger boom lots of courses were built as if they were hosting the US Open every week and new players flocked to them and then quit because of the difficulty, tee it forward is a great concept because it puts people at an enjoyable comfort level but as I said earlier the easiest way for courses to enforce this is to not put out the back tee blocks.


Regarding the use of handicap instead of driving distance: My handicap has been 6 or less for the last 10 years, and I would prefer to play from shorter tees. I like being able to fire at pins with mid irons instead of hitting a wood or hybrid and hoping that I get a good bounce. Losing strength and flexibility is an inevitable part of aging; you can slow down the loss with good nutrition and exercise, but you can't stop it. I like to compete based on accuracy, consistency, and course management rather than on brute strength.

Regarding "dumbing down the game": Getting better at golf is not about how far you can hit it. Skill is certainly a component of distance, but youth, flexibility, and genetically-determined density of fast-twitch muscles play a huge role.

Playing a course that is the right length lets your score reflect your skill. When the course is too long, you are always fighting a losing battle. The approach angles are wrong, the ball is coming in too low to hold, you have to "thread the needle" instead of dropping an aerial bomb. You can't reliably do good "leaves" because the margin of error with a long club is too big. You can hit your best shots and never be rewarded with a birdie putt.


Tried this on Sunday to try and open the discussion with the normal group. Three of us playing the blue tees at approx. 6,400 yds. I tracked greens in regulation for the three of us. Fifty four holes played and the number of GIR was 7. Final scores were 88, 90, and 92. Suggest others do the same and decide whether it makes sense to just about always having a wood, hybrid, or long iron into each green. I'm the shortest hitter and shot the 88. Not sure what all this tells us, but I have been trying to get others to move up to no avail. It isn't worth alienating friends. I do believe it is more fun being inside the 150 for your second shot. We are all either near or over 60 yrs. old.

Michael Aldrich

Tee it forward is a great idea. It is amazing how much more fun golf can be if you hit 6-W into most of your par 4's. That is what the tour players hit! Find the tees that get you INSIDE of 150 yards on the average par 4 and you are guaranteed to have more fun!


I like the concept of this. My home course just added 3 sets of forward tees to accommodate a wide range of players. They also re-colored the back tees (I think to help the macho attitude) from the traditional red,white, and blue to other colors. Also, they put a sign up at the starter shack indicating what tees to use based on driving distance. I've already seen several guys moving up to what used to be the "ladies" tees along with fewer people playing from the tips. I believe this whole concept is a step in the right direction for speeding up play and making the game more enjoyable for more people.


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 play in a men's club group which allows 65 and older to play the gold tees which are 5783 yds long. I am 63 years old and my driving distance off the tee has gone down to 190 yds I have to play the white tees which are 6267 yds long. Most pars 4's I can't reach in two. How can tee it forward be implemented and when will club pros go along with a proposal like this? Golf is getting less enjoyable!


This is probably a great idea. If you can get the courses to go along with it to remove the "ego" stigma attached to playing the forward tees. I have sadly watched high handicap golfers playing way above their level from the long tees. Conversely, going out as a single and finding myself with three others who are all capable of hitting from the blacks is equally frustrating. I agree with the comments that suggest renaming and even recoloring the tee boxes.
This will probably take a while to implement, I see it as a good thing that will eventually speed up the pace of play. However a significant part of the game is the challenge that a course presents, if the courses are shortened too much you might as well play a par three.


Yes, but can we get past our male ego's. Get really tired of waiting on guys playing par 4's at 400 yds. and not making it to the 150. I play at around 6000 and people constantly ask why I play those tee's, I just tell them because I play golf and get no extra strokes for playing the other tee's. But it doesn't help when most tournaments play around 6400 to 6700 for handicaps above 15. Does not make sense. We guys constantly comment on women who usually play the correct tee's for their length when most slow play is caused by us.


what ever plan you come up, I would hope that it is promoted at all of the golf courses with placards, flyers, etc. We winter in Arizona so the area is all "seniors" during the winter months. Most of them all THINK they are long ball hitters and insist on hitting from the white tees and then get mad when they lose balls in the rough and flowers. The 3 guys I golf with have all moved forward to the red tees. They range in age from 68 to 75 and are enjoying the game so much more since they have moved forward. They no longer feel the need to try and kill the ball. The only drawback is that I no longer have an advantage over them, since I also use the red tees, but based on some of the above comments, I could move forward of the tee box to tee it up.
Whatever plan you recommend it has to be promoted at the golf course level, in magazines and online so that the individual golfer sees it and understands it. Of course, getting past the male ego will be another challenge.


“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. Jim, you know that's not true...

Golfers who have a passion for the game have it because it is a challenge that gives them an opportunity to feel the excitement and pride of improving their own skill level. The casual golfer doesn't have a passion, partially, because they don't see a path to improvement, after shooting 100 year after year... Again, strong emphasis should be on helping golfers SEE IMPROVEMENT so they have a reason to continue playing with positive expectation. It's a long way to shooting par and under--this keeps people in the game for a lifetime, but they must have a belief that improvement is POSSIBLE, or they'll drop out, it's not worth it. The industry loses too many people each year because of this.


I appreciate that the PGA and USGA are trying to expand the game. However, it saddens and disappoints me that "making it easier" is the method to promote golf. It's easy enough to put tees at a still-regulation length of 6,000 yards (for men) as the shortest tees, without going overboard (5800, 5300, etc.). Making it easier to score takes away the personal pride of actually improving skill in the game. Why not just make the hole bigger?! This will result in more putts made and "more fun," right? Lowering standards isn't a good idea--an example is with our school system that "makes it easier" to pass from grade to grade, leaving the student with a false impression of ability, eventually knowing they don't have it, causing self-image problems and lower performance among peers. This "dumbing down" process has proven to not help the participants. I suggest focusing on teaching golfers how to play better, and score lower, which builds confidence that they can improve, and makes for more fun. Once players see their own improvement, many become rabid golfers, staying in the game and supporting the industry for a lifetime.


Tee It Forward is a great idea. Using the driving distance is a pretty good way of determining the length of course a person should play. It may not be perfect, but I can't think of a better one. The golf courses need to establish more tees in some instances and the suggestions to change the names of the tees are all good ones. The golf courses must get USGA handicap ratings for all the tees for both men and women. I have recentlly moved forward myself, but I can no longer maintain a handicap because many courses forward tees are rated only for women.

Many "forward" tees make the course too short for me so I make adjustments. I can't get a "handicap" for what I do, but it keeps the course manageable and the game fun. I should play a course (based on driving length) of about 5400 yards. To get a course of about that length if the forward tees are 4800 and the next shortest are 6100 just look at the length of each hole before you start and determine holes that you will play from the forward tees and which from the 6100 yard tees and make up a course that approximates the 5400 yards, or whatever yardage you are looking for. There are some courses, although very few, that use "mixed" tees to make more course lengths available and have them on the card and rated.


Feel compelled to comment. Although I agree with the intent of the "Tee it Forward" program you guys totally missed the mark in implimenting it. Selecting tees and tee distances based on how far someone "thinks they hit a drive" without considering handicap or course slope and rate is rediculous. Regarding drive distance every free swing bubba who thinks he hits an occasional drive 275 will be moving to the back tees, even if he can't hit a barn with a bat. Tee distances not considering slope and rate neglect to see differences in courses, layouts and difficulty. For example my home course, Chestatee in north Ga. is a mountain course. The black or back tees are just 6679 and the blues are 6294 and whites are 5914. By your standards guys in the 250 range should be blue or black tees. Welcome to a lot of broken windows, lost balls, and 6 hour rounds. Realy need to re-think this.


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.


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.


This is an outside the box suggestion to speed up play. Instead of a fixed field of play and variable scores, go to fixed scores and variable field of play. Before play each player will be assigned a score based on his or her skill level. The player will then play that number of shots and then pick up. The level of success will be determined by how far the player got on the course. This should result in a significant reduction of the number of players actually playing the latter holes.


I may be the only one here who is missing the point. If the goal is to make the game more enjoyable, fun and faster, why not just take out the sand traps and make the holes bigger? If the courses are too "tough", play the par 3.


Any program like this which improves enjoyment and pace of play is a GREAT idea. I like Dan's comments about even considering new course layouts, but in this economy that could be difficult. Until then and moving forward, I commend the PGA for this initiative and compliment Barney Adams who inspired it.


This doesn't completely address the problem; too many golfers let their egos get in the way of their game. Too many don't want to admit their true playing ability (handicap) and thus fudge their scores and handicaps. These folks won't admit that their drives are shorter than claimed, even though everybody who plays with them recognizes what game they have. I think different levels of rules also need to be put forward, such as "A" rules (strict current USGA); "B" rules, which lots of folks already play (OK to drop when a ball is OB or lost, preferred lies); "C" rules for novices or occasional players (lift out of bunkers, fixed number of "Mulligans per round); "D" rules for rank beginners (lift out of rough and bunkers, tee the ball up through the green).


A really great idea, my buddies and I are enjoying the game much more now that we "Tee It Forward"
I think in order to get more people to do so, the tee boxes need to be renamed. As long as the reds are called ladies and the golds are called seniors a lot of guys will not change.
Perhaps if the reds were called "forward" and the gold "intermediate" or something else not relative to gender or age more guys would "Tee It Forward"


Sounds good in theory. However, this is precision without accuracy. If the average "good" drive by an average golfer is 210 yards and the typical drive is less these numbers need to be adjusted down. In addition, weather conditions and slope need to be considered.


Most of the guys I play with don't want to face up to how far they really hit the drive these days. I'm a 65 year old life long golfer with an index that has climbed from 1.8 to 9.5 since age 52, much of that deterioration distance related. Complete disclosure, I'm a huge Barney Adams fan. He is absolutely right conceptually. Sure, there are certain quibbles with implementation, but he is addressing the absolute crisis that is the net decline in the number of golfers nationwide. The game is time consuming and frustrating for the adult beginner and has never been a game where newcomers are made to feel welcomed by the self appointed cognoscenti. There are many under utilized daily fee courses on the financial brink which could readily adapt to these yardages and give it a try. Making the tees gender and color neutral is also a good suggestion.
Now if I could just get my pals to admit their driver only flies 215 in the air....when it's nutted!


I think y'all are missing the boat here, basing tee position on length of drive. I think handicap would be a more accurate yardstick. I know a lot of single digit handicappers who can't hit a drive over 250. I know a lot of big hitters whose short game is so bad they can't break 100. I used to play a course in the Houston area, Bear Creek, where you had to show your handicap card-and be 6 or less- before you could set foot on the Black Tees.


No one's mention slope rating in all of this either? We have 3 - 9's
Depending on which 9's you play the slope rating is anywhere from 150 t0 144 from the "men's" tees playing from 6037 to 7205. My index is 17.3 at my club where I play mostly. When I go somewhere else I shoot at least 5 - 8 strokes better - get the "sandbagger" comment constantly. A lot of ways to judge. I am hitting the ball longer than I have and my scoring still isn't consistent one way or the other. And it's weird I still shoot between 88 - 98 no matter which tee box I play off of? While I agree playing a shorter course helps out it's more on the par 3's where I get to hit a pitching wedge or 9 iron into a green instead of a 5/6 iron or hybrid into one.


I agree with this concept. Many golfers are actually playing tees suited for their game. However many could benefit from moving forward. Some already want to move forward, but to where?
Almost every course should have a set of what I call Forward Tees, frequently the Orange Tees. Here is the Ideal Yardage for those tees. These are well suited for golfers whose drives go 125 yards to 160 yards.
Par 3 holes 85 95 120 125 yards.
Par 4 holes 205 215 220 225 235 240 245 260 265 275 yards.
Par 5 holes 335 355 380 405 yards.
Total yardage is 4,285 yards.
Some courses might want to shorten the 2 longest Par 4 holes and the longest Par 5 hole by 10 or 15 yards.
A golfer with a typical drive of 125 yards can reach 14 holes in regulation. A golfer with a typical drive of 140 yards can reach each green in regulation. A golfer with a typical drive of 160 yards can comfortably reach all greens in regulation and have the opportunity to dominate the shorter hitters as usual.
Since many of us have GPS systems it does not take long to go to your course and see where the Forward Tees should best be located. Since many of us have access to Excel or other spreadsheets it does not take long to make up a scorecard for the Forward Tees. I have done it for several courses we play and it works just fine. Go down the fairway to the designated distance and Tee it up. With the help of the USGA Handicapping Manual, Rule 5-2g we calculate the Slope/Rating for the Forward Tees and post our scores. Eventually the course owner/manager will see fit to recognize and improve the Forward Tees. Then we will have somewhere to go when we want to move forward.
Also we must eliminate the common perception that some tees are only for Seniors or only for Ladies. All tees must be rated for both men and ladies. While you are at it change the colors.
For this concept to work most golf courses must make some changes. It is up to us golfers to insist that they make those changes. I am not suggesting that anyone must move forward, but when we want to make the move we need somewhere it is socially acceptable to go.


I'm a pretty terrible golfer. USGA Hcp index = 27. Max drive when I put it all together 175-180 yards. Ergo according the latest PGA recommendations I should be playing a course of about 4,500 yards. Where do I find such a layout?

The blue tees at my course have a length of 6,300 yds. The white tees have a length of 6,000 yds. The red tees have a length of 5,700 yds.

I usually tee off from the reds from where I usually play in the high 90's. The problem is that many of my friends (who are no better than I am) refuse to play from the red tees.

We need to stop putting labels (other than color) on the various tee grounds. The term "ladies tee" needs to be abolished.


I agree with the concept but I respectfully believe they blew this one. They should have driven this off of handicap rather than average distance. A handicap is something that although it is calculation, it is concrete and relative to other golfers and courses. Handicap is also rarely subject to debate. Average distance on the other hand is contrary to the golfer's ego. The reason people are playing tees that are not equal to their skils is because of the golfer's ego and the belief they are better than they are or because of the pressure of playing shorter tees than the peers in their group. Simple answer, handicap 1-10, blue tees (6400-6800?), handicap 11-20 white tees (6000-6400). I thought I read that was a general guideline in golf magazine. Good luck overcoming egos while people try to figure out their average driving distance.


I think this is a great idea and can see this benefiting many golfers if they don't let their manliness get in the way. The only way I can see this succeeding is if they completely revamp the tee boxes. If they keep anything resembling the Red, White, Blue, Gold system, people will not change. People are so accustom to playing white or blues regardless of yardage, that if these new sets of tees have those colors in play, these changes won't matter. Not sure if it is even possible, but a good setup would just have general information for the tees, IE 150yd drivers hit here, 200 yd Drivers hit here etc. They need to almost spell it out for the players. I guess time will only tell.


I would add that in all of southwest Florida there are very few forward tees less than 4,900 yards which discounts a lot of players. Yesterday I played a golf course whose forward tees were nearly 5,300 yards. Who was that course build for. Even the USGA says the average bogey lady golfer (really a 22-24 handicap) hits their average drive 150 yards. So the average female bogey golfer should really have a golf course, according to themselves, of 3,500-3,700 yards in length. I've never seen that length but for an executive style golf course. For too long courses have been designed with only above average abilities in mind. I'd contend that upwards to 85% of golfers don't fit that description. So where are the courses for the 85% to ENJOY the game? Or is it, in Mr. Adam's words "managed frustration?"


This is not going to work unless you convince all golfers to play from a common tee that makes sense for the community. Calling the forward tee's "Senior" or anything else indicative of a tee made for one who can't score less than 100 is not going to happen. I hit the ball on the average below 200 yards but it varies from 220 to 175. It depends on the roll, the weather, my mind etc. I would find it uncomfortable to be playing with a group of guys (4 foursomes) where I would have to move to the "non standard" tees to comply with this. It's not going to happen. I can shoot from 83 to 101 and play in less than 4 hours! Usually I can GIR all the par 3's and any par 4 less than 400. I can also shoot a birdie or two in one round. So wake up PGA, what you need to do is find those that take minutes to putt and those that take 4 practice shots and push them to the forward tees or off the course! Handicaps take care of equalizing the differences between long hitters and others. I have played with many who can hit them long and loose a ball on every hole either in the palmettos or the water. That slows down play, not the length of his drive. Needless to say that I am short in stature and quite old and I enjoy playing skins with a 250 yard drive hitter that can't hit the fairway or make a putt! I enjoy golf the way it is!


Looonnnngggg overdue. Happy the USGA is on board as well. Now, what do we do with all these courses that have been built on steroids for the last 25 years. Mr. Nicklaus, care to chime in. Can we build courses that all these "lesser" players can actually enjoy?