Hungering for Fair Tees, True Handicaps
Charles Hunger, a Fayetteville resident who reads my articles online, is my kind of guy.
Like I said, he reads my stuff, and he’s a thinking man. In fact, he wonders about a lot of things. And occasionally he even asks my opinion.
Not only that, he’s one of the few people I know who have been around as long as I have. Most of my friends and acquaintances are now listed as “the former …”
Anyway, Charlie, who is a member at Gates Four Golf & Country Club, sent me a couple of thought-provoking questions. So naturally, being easily provoked these days, I am going to answer those queries.
“Howard,” Charlie writes, “we need an article on who is legal to hit from the senior tees. While I was in California recently, I played a course where their senior tees were reserved for players whose ages and handicaps totaled 100 or more.
“So what do you think should be the policy?”
Thank you for one more chance to preach the value of the senior tees, Charlie. I don’t know how you missed all those articles I wrote last year concerning the USGA’s new policy of “Tee it Forward,” but I have to warn you right now that I’m an advocate of shorter golf courses.
Yeah, OK, so maybe my loss of the ability to hit a golf ball out of my shadow tints my outlook here, but I’m not relenting.
Yeah, Charlie, I’m for anyone who can’t reach greens in regulation moving up to tees that allow them to do that.
My feeling is, if I hit two shots as well as I can hit them on a par-4 hole, I should be on the green. If I hit a good driver and a solid 3-wood, I should be able to reach a par-5 in three. If I can’t, then I’m going to keep moving up on the tee until they run out of markers.
Ten years ago I played the blue tee markers at Gates Four, which measured 6,433 yards. There wasn’t a par-4 that I couldn’t reach easily with two good shots. And I could reach two of the par-5s in two if I hit solid shots.
A short time later I began losing some distance and moved up to the white, or Senior tees, which played 6,072 yards. For a couple of years I was able to really enjoy the shorter distances, and it paid off with some good scores.
But then I turned 70 and, according to “Gangsome” rules, was allowed to move up to the gold, or Super Senior tees, which play to 5,425 yards. I actually felt guilty at first. I remember telling the BW, “I’ll be shooting my age a lot this year.”
But you know what, Charlie. By the time you’re old enough to move up to those front tees, you’re more than likely going to need to. I did shoot my age once with a 71, but ever since that glorious day my game has gone in the wrong direction. I’m at the stage now that there are five or six par-4 holes at Gates Four that I can’t reach in regulation. And reaching any par-5 in two is just a memory.
My philosophy is that the color of the tees shouldn’t be a factor. A golfer needs to find tees that allow him or her to enjoy the game and play from them.
Charlie also asked, “How does one ensure that handicaps are legitimate?”
Did I mention that Charlie is a dreamer?
I hate to say this, but if a golfer is determined to cheat on his handicap, there is really no way to stop him. The Carolinas Golf Association does a fantastic job of monitoring handicaps for its member clubs, but it’s at the mercy of the efficiency of those clubs and their handicap committees.
My suggestion is to find the biggest, ugliest and most pugnacious member of your club and elect him to chair the handicap committee. Then follow the CGA suggestions for monitoring handicaps and make sure they’re followed.
It takes cooperation between the committee and members of the golf shop to keep handicaps under control. Even then there will be abuses.
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