Groups encourge golfers to 'Tee It Forward'

Groups encourge golfers to 'Tee It Forward'

June 29th, 2011 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Golf

Kathy Antti tees off on Bear Trace at Harrison Bay's Hole 15 on Tuesday morning. The National golf association is encouraging golfers to play one or two tee boxes closer to the hole than one typically tees off from to increase the enjoyment of the game and possibly score better.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

The PGA of America and United States Golf Association are asking amateur golfers to put their egos aside the next couple of weeks.

The two golf organizations are co-sponsoring an initiative to help golfers shoot better scores, play faster and lose fewer balls during the "Tee It Forward" campaign that runs July 5-17 at golf courses in the Chattanooga area and throughout the country.

The initiative is to align course distance with the average drive of a golfer, because an amateur playing a 6,700-yard course is the equivalent of Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson playing an 8,100-yard course.

"If the average golfer comes out here and plays from the blue tees, it's going to be a difficult day for them," said Bear Trace at Harrison Bay head pro Robin Boyer. "We recommend the whites because it's shorter, it's going to be a better experience.

"But guys are macho and want to play as far back as they can, especially if the other guys in the group want to play way back."

The campaign was spearheaded by Barney Adams, founder of Adams Golf, and has the full support of legendary golfers Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

"The PGA and the USGA have come together to develop ways to make the game more attractive and more enjoyable," Nicklaus said in a release. "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 proper tees and maximize the golf experience."

The basis for the campaign is just that - more fun for golfers. For most, it's much more enjoyable to pull a 7-iron from the fairway than a 4-iron from the rough.

The end result usually is better, especially on a 6,600-yard course that is too much for golfers who shoot 90-plus.

"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 Tennessee PGA president Neil Collins.

The program has little impact on the set-up of golf courses, most of which already have at least four sets of tees.

But it should result in better scores, shorter rounds and fewer shouts of "Fore" for those who choose to participate.

"I know that if I go bowling and roll a really good score, I can't wait to go bowling again," Moccasin Bend Golf Course head pro Devere Keller said. "If you play golf and have a good score, you'll want to get back out there again."