Lee Trevino Critiques Modern Course Design, Tee It Foward
By mustang6560 on 4/27/12
In an interview with GolfChannel.com, Lee Trevino offers the following critique of modern golf course design and subsequently the "Tee It Forward" initiative.
Mike Bailey. What is the state of the game right now?

Lee Trevino: I think it's in trouble. I know that it's very exciting on tour, but it's not exciting to for a lot of people to have to play these courses that they're building for the tour players. They build these hard golf courses, and now they're talking about playing the forward tees (Tee it Forward). They should have never built those back tees in the first place. Why do you want a golf course that's 7,400 yards long? I mean the majority of your members are elderly, and they can't hit it anywhere.

Bailey: So you're not a big fan of the Tee it Forward program?

Trevino: Guys feel like they're going to the ladies tees when you push them up forward. They don't like that. Golfers want to be macho, play it from the tips. Why they're building these golf courses longer than 6,900 yards is beyond me.
The "Tee It Forward" initiative, which is co-sponsored by several organizations including the USGA and PGA of America, is designed to make golf more fun by encouraging golfers to play the forward tees, which will hopefully speed up the pace of play and hopefully help golfers shoot lower scores. It's too soon to say whether or not the initiative is working (or will work), but I agree with Lee. No male golfer wants to be seen playing the "Ladies" tees (no offense ladies). It's egotistical and irrational (because most male golfers need to be playing up), however, it's the reality of the situation.

If I owned a golf course, I would rename the tee boxes and change the colors. Red (and/or pink) would no longer be associated with the Ladies' tee box and I would assign a men's and women's rating/slope for each set of tee boxes to give the appearance of gender neutrality. My feeling is you should have to break 90 on a particular set of tees before you are allowed to move back.

The entire interview with Lee is worth the read. The six-time major champion is as much entertaining as he is interesting.

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Image via Flickr, Keith Allison


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[ comments ]
GBogey says:
Agree with your last suggestion. One of my pet peeves is groups slowing down play by playing from the wrong tees. What I think needs to be done is to have courses recommend tees by handicap (0-8, 5-10, 8-24, etc.) and then standardize the tee colors by handicap groupings so that there is uniformity across courses. I saw one resort course where the scorecard recommended which tee to play by handicap and can't understand why more courses don't do this.
4/27/12
 
Werepuppie says:
I actually do something similar.I play the most forward tee that has a mens rating.(Sometimes it is also the ladies tee)If I break 100,I move back a tee etc..
4/27/12
 
jrbizzle says:
One of the premier courses nearby my house, the ranger looks you dead in the eye and asks what you shoot and then escorts you to the appropriate tee choices and watches your tee shots. Sure you can lie, and luck out on a nice shot, but it's a good deterrent vs. the ranger just looking at your receipt and saying "have fun".
4/27/12
 
cvargo says:
I've always played the whites, this year I graduated to the blues.
4/27/12
 
Duke of Hazards says:
all the courses around where I live have mid (white) and back (blue). everyone knows that they're both for men, but invariably, most of the hackers are playing blues. i walked 18 the other day solo and hit from the whites. i'm a high handicap, but am decent off the tee. it's a fairly short course and i was hitting short irons and wedges into almost all of the greens (what happens after my approach shots is another story), and was having a blast. when I got to the 18th, a couple of guys behind me had caught up and they were playing the blues. they recommended we all tee off together from the blues. i hit first and found the fairway about 155 out, then the younger of the two hit, hooked it to about 200 out, and the old man, probably in his 60's, 5 foot tall and 130 lbs, pushed his tee shot into a tree about 100 yards away. come on guys, there's no shame in playing whites and you're out there to have fun and score right? i so wish they had jrbizzle's starter at the courses here.
4/27/12
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@GBogey: the problem is that most players do not have a handicap and assume they are "about an X". Of course their estimate is woefully too low and they struggle. For a course that is tipping out around 7,000 yards, the back tee should be set at around 6,500-6,700 yards. Anyone wanting to play the real tips would need to ask the course's permission and show them a single digit handicap.

If I owned the course, I would have a ranger follow the player and give him/her the boot if they couldn't break 45 for the first 9.
4/27/12
 
Duke of Hazards says:
I think a lot of it has to do with value, too... guys that are shelling out $100-$150 a round at a nice resort course 'want their money's worth', so they play tees beyond their skill level... maybe a tiered green fee scheme, although I can see that being hard to enforce.
4/27/12
 
hp says:
In general, to determine what tee boxes you should play for your enjoyment AND everyone else's, you should really look at course rating and slope, not necessarily the yardage. If you are a bogey golfer you should look at the slope. My feeling is if you are over a 17 handicap, play slope of 120 or less.

I admire that some guys at my local course play the red tees because the slope rating is still 116 for the men. They recognize they aren't good golfers, and they truly enjoy the round. Why pay money and waste a nice day just to take a beating?
4/27/12
 
joe jones says:
In our Friday group a 3 handicap plays from the mens tees, I play a composite course of white and yellow tees about 6,000 yards our third man plays yellows and his wife plays from the newly installed green markers. Everyone has fun and respects each others decision. That is what golf is all about. As too paying a lot and getting your moneys worth. Shooting 20 strokes worse because you don't want to move forward doesn't sound like fun to me. Everyone should tee it up where they are comfortable.
4/28/12
 
homermania says:
I wonder if Sir Nick Faldo would agree.
4/28/12
 
glenrich says:
I think it would be cool if each course had a individual course rating system that allowed player to 'graduate' from one tee to the next.
Kind of like what cvargo hinted that he does for himself but formally required by the golf course.
Example:
Every player new to the course must play from the forward tees. Once they can show that they have scored a minimum score from that tee, they can then be allowed to play from the next higher set of tees and so on.
This will solve the problem in a way that introduces a desire to really improve, and be a source of earned pride and bragging rights (I am qualified for blue tees at this course, white and this one, etc).
Since the rules apply to everyone at the course, the self diagnosing handicap issue is taken care of, etc. There will be no folks playing from the back tees unless they have really earned it and there would be no shame in playing the forward tees since everyone who played the course had to be there in the beginning.
4/28/12
 
DougE says:
I am not the best golfer, but I am not bad. I practice and play a lot. I have no more than average distance off the tee. A good drive is 235 for me. I play the whites 90% of the time. From there, I can reach most greens in regulation. My home course is slope-rated at 131 from the whites, 6325 yds. That's plenty. The blues are rated 133. Yet, I see so many younger guys, in their 20s-40s, who insist on playing from the blues, who haven't got half the game I have. I don't get it. I have an ego too, but the game is hard enough without making it harder than it has to be. If you play bogey golf or worse, you just make yourself look stupid, playing from tees that are above your ability. That's not good for the ego either. I played with 2 young hot shots yesterday. They weren't bad and SHOULD have played the blues. But at the end of the day, I was still playing with the same ball I started with. They were probably on their 2nd dozen between them. If you can't keep it playable, with a realistic chance at GIR, move up.
4/29/12
 
joe jones says:
I played with two gentleman from Scotland at Vistancia Club, Peoria, Az a few years ago. They insisted on playing from the blue tees. While both of them were single digit players They must have lost a dozen balls in the native fescue that boarders every hole about twenty yards off the fairway. My playing partner and I played a composite that played to 6100 yards and we didn't lose a ball. When I asked them why they didn't move up they said they wanted to get their money's worth I bet they both shot over 110. I hope they enjoyed themselves.
4/29/12
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Everybody above is spot-on. An extra 1,000 points for GBogey, who noted the courses that assign you a tee based on your USGA handicap / shot index. I have a couple of other thoughts:

(1) I have talked a few, specific people from several state and provincial golf associations who told me that their standard practice lately has been to rate all tees (including the forward tees) for men, not for women only. I hope this continues; this is where the idea from @glenrich (above) could conceivably be implemented.

(2) It absolutely p!$$*$ me off when I see courses refer to their "ladies' tees." A co-worker of my financial adviser played D-1 college golf at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; she could very probably compete against most guys from the middle tees - in straight-up medal play - and wax them like a pair of skis.
4/29/12
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
(3) More and more courses are starting to "get it" and have slope-and-ratings done for women for more than just the forward tee-boxes. A number of them are also doing away with red-colored tee-markers and replacing them with gold and green. I even saw where one course has the *back* tees colored red. Good for them!
4/29/12
 
Jbeck says:
Heck I play the whites on most courses, I'm a single digit handicap but I sure would get my butt kicked backing up to over 7,000 yards. Only hit the driver 240, I don't want to play a round where I can't reach par 4's unless I stripe a 3 wood.

I did post a 9 hole score that was 3 under at a local course here, and the only response I got from a member of OOB was play the blues and see how you do. This kind of thinking isn't good for the game. JMO
4/30/12
 
Kurt the Knife says:
My instructor advised me early on to play the forward box until i can score less than 100. I've had no problem playing from that postition even when grouped with cats playing the tips. Has been an interesting social experiment to see who has had a problem with that.
4/30/12
 
trey99ek says:
I play different tees based on the yardage. I am comfortable shooting low/mid 80's from 6300-6700 and typically play from there. This is usually the blues however some courses it is the whites and others it is the black. Now I typically drive the ball on average 270 so most of the distance is not a problem. What does bother me is when I get paired up with another group and they insist on playing what I play, then proceed to miss the fairway short.
4/30/12
 
wrhall02 says:
I also don't understand why so many golfers insist on playing the tips, then shoot 100+ and slow the entire course down. I have enough length, just not the game to play from the tips.

@KtK...yes...interesting sociology. I have received interesting comments when I join a group and am the only golfer insisting on playing from the correct tees.
4/30/12
 
DoubleDingo says:
I am a 20 handicap and play 3.5 hours a round from the whites or the blues. I stay away from the black tees, and almost always play the whites. But I score better from the blues. Go figure. Certain people just play slow. I don't believe it has to do with where they hit from, they are just douche-bags that take too long. We had a tee time recently, and the announcer called us up. There was a guy getting ready to tee off, so we asked him to join us. It took almost 3 hours to play 9 holes and we let two groups play through. On hole 9 it took almost 10 minutes on the green. I could hear the the couple behind us at the 100 yard marker making comments. I was embarrassed to be around that guy, and he played horribly, so grinding over each shot didn't help, it just meant more grinding because he sucked and hit more shots. My partner went home, and I had to duck out after hole 12. It took an hour to play holes 10, 11, & 12. People like him need to be banned from golf or forced to speed it up.
4/30/12
 
DoubleDingo says:
Oh yeah, we were a twosome, with the guy that joined us made it three...FYI... He was a nice guy though, just shouldn't be out there playing golf. Luckily we haven't seen him again, because I would have to decline playing a round of golf with him, and would actually ask to tee off before him.
4/30/12
 
DoubleDingo says:
I don't know about you guys, but slow golf to me is very exhausting, and extremely frustrating.
4/30/12
 
larrynjr says:
One of the courses I play, the white tees play shorter than the reds at my regular course. And I still can't break 90 there!
4/30/12
 
hp says:
I think Oobgolf should proclaim a "play it forward" day. All Oob members that play on that one day need to play the forward most tees that still have a proper rating and slope. It'll be a live leaderboard full of red and gold tees and low differentials! I'd do it.
5/3/12
 
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