USGA, PGA Join Gangsome On Short Tees
All right, this is serious stuff now. The USGA has already told us that brown is the new green. Now they’re telling us that short is the new long.
And you know what? I’m buying into both viewpoints.
As anyone who knows me is aware, I’ve been championing shorter golf courses for short hitters for years. I am officially on record as having said that I’ve never played a golf course that was too short.
Admittedly I am not a brute on the tee. I do not mash a golf ball when I hit it. You might even say, compared with the young mashers of today, that I caress the tee ball. I certainly don’t bruise any dimples.
But, honestly, this is not all about me. I’m in my mid-70s now, and most of the guys I play with are right there in that neighborhood. Yeah, most of them still hit the ball out there pretty good sometimes but, one by one, they’ve succumbed to the pleasures of hitting mid-irons instead of fairway metals for their approach shots and they’re a happier lot for it.
The wisdom of playing from shorter tees because of age or from the lack of ability to hit long tee shots has kept the Gates Four Gangsome together and happy for years now.
The Gangsome members are not bleeding hearts. Take my word for it; nobody gets away with anything in this bunch. But there is a sense of fairness and a desire to keep everyone competitive as long as possible.
When the Gangsome was formed, everyone played from the regulation blue tees. When a player reached 65, he was allowed to move forward to the senior white tees. At 70 he is encouraged to move to the super senior silver tees.
To make things fair, a couple of players with physical problems were allowed to keep moving up to the next tees, and are now playing from the reds.
Officials at our course, Gates Four Golf & Country Club in Fayetteville, have gone along with this policy and observe it when they hold tournaments or club events. It’s working well for all concerned, and it makes us older guys feel we can be competitive against the young limberbacks.
We usually aren’t, of course, but it makes us feel that way.
Now the USGA and the PGA of America have joined the Gates Four Gangsome and are promoting their Tee it Forward program.
Yep, in a release issued this week to committee members, USGA President Jim Hyler, of Raleigh, said in the following paraphrased statement, “Tee it Forward encourages golfers to play the course at a length that is aligned with their driving distance.
“We think that the passion golfers have for our game can be enhanced by this initiative, and it’s being proposed for golf facilities nationwide from July 5-17.”
From July 5-17? Are you kidding me? This is something that if you try it once, you’re going to love it. Trust me. I’ve been there. Once you’ve tried it from shorter tees it’s like sweet tea; it’s not something you’re going to want to give up.
But anyway, USGA and PGA, I and all the other members of the Gates Four Gangsome want to thank you for legitimizing our program. In fact, we’d like to go a step further and ask that you consider special recognition for one of our esteemed members, J.D. Stancil.
J.D. is the guy who made it possible for us to make our big moves as we aged. He was working part-time on the course maintenance crew and took it upon himself to build our first set of silver tees. We’re thinking seriously about building a monument to the guy.
“Tee it Forward is not necessarily about creating a new set of tees,” Hyler wrote. “It’s about changing the mindset of golfers by encouraging them to consider setting aside their desire to play from 6,500-6,700 yards and moving up to a length of 6,000-6,200 yards or from that length to 5,700-5,800 yards.”
Barney Adams has told us that 6,700 yards for many golfers is equivalent to a PGA Tour player competing from 8,100 yards.
He’s right. Move up. You’ll like it.
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