USGA, PGA of America say 'Tee It Forward'

A USGA flag

A USGA flag

Force PGA Tour professionals to routinely play courses that stretch punishingly beyond 8,000 yards and a mass revolt certainly would erupt.

But, in effect, everyday golfers subject themselves to such an ordeal on a similar scale nearly every time they tee it up by selecting inappropriate set of tees, according to the U.S. Golf Association and the PGA of America.

With the goal of helping golfers enjoy the game more, the two organizations are launching a nationwide summer campaign from July 5-17 called “Tee It Forward,” which urges players to tackle a course at a length they can handle – determined by their average driving distance. (See chart below.)

The simple act of moving up a set of tees promises to yield a host of benefits – hasten play, lower scores, reduce lost balls – that would help counter complaints that the game is too time consuming and difficult to play. Industry leaders repeatedly have cited such criticism as key factors contributing to golf’s steady decline in participation.

“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,” said Allen Wronowski, president of the PGA of America.

Barney Adams, founder of Adams Golf, is credited with the concept that led to the development of the Tee It Forward initiative. His research determined that the 6,700-yard course length that many amateur golfers select is proportionately equivalent to a PGA Tour player competing on a course measuring 8,100 yards.

By choosing tees more in line with their respective abilities, amateur golfers would find themselves hitting approach shots with 6- and 7-irons rather than long irons or hybrids, officials said.

“We hope that Tee It Forward will be embraced by players and golf facilities across the country,” said Jim Hyler, USGA president.

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Editor’s note:

The chart below, provided by the USGA and PGA of America, is to be used as a guideline to help golfers potentially align their average driving distance with the length of a course that is best suited to their abilities.

Driver Distance – Recommended 18-Hole Yardages 

PGA Tour Professional – 7,600-7,900

300 – 7,150-7,400

275 – 6,700-6,900

250   – 6,200-6,400

225 – 5,800 -6,000

200 – 5,200-5,400

175 – 4,400-4,600

150 – 3,500-3,700

125 – 2,800-3,000

100 – 2,100-2,300

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