By Bruce Meadows
A big part of golf is ego.
You tee it up on a par-3 hole and maybe recall once hitting a 7-iron to get there. You figure if you hit another “career shot” you can do it again. But you push it right and short, into a bunker or a grove of trees.
Or there is a creek in the middle of the fairway on a par-4 hole. You actually cleared it once although you don’t know how you did it. But hey, maybe you can do it one more time.
But no, you end up short and the ball trickles down the bank and into the water.
So When PGA of America and U.S. Golf Association came up with their “Tee It Forward” program a few years ao, I thought it had merit, and I still do.
Barney Adams of Adams Golf originally came up with the concept that led to “Tee It Forward,” reasoning that most if not all golfers should play the course at a length that is aligned with their average driving distance.
According to Adams, the PGA and the USGA, the 6,700-yard course that many amateurs play is proportionately equivalent to a PGA Tour player competing on an 8,100-yard layout.
Legends Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson tend to agree and have become spokesmen for “Tee It Forward.” Nicklaus was quoted as saying, “I love the game of golf but will be first to tell you there are things about our game we need to improve. The PGA and USGA have come together to develop ways to make the game more attractive and more enjoyable.”
A number of courses, including Windsor GC, have embraced the concept.
“The ‘Tee It Forward’ program is a great idea,” says Windsor pro Jason Schmuhl. “Most courses designed the past 20 years are just too difficult for the average golfer, and it’s not fun for the average player to lose 10 balls shoot 110.”
Schmuhl said Windsor has opened new gold tees that can be played by juniors, seniors, beginners or anyone else, adding “this gives golfers a chance to par a few holes and helps speed up the game.”
“Golf For Her,” a web site devoted to women’s golf, encourages its readers “to play from a set of tees comfortable for you, one where you are more likely to hit lofted irons into greens instead of hybrids or fairway woods.
“Golf For Her” adds that it is OK for players in the same group to hit from separate tees with the USGA Handicap System providing a formula for adjusting handicaps to different tees.
Danville’s Susan Petefish, founder of Course of Action Golf, says “it’s important to feel successful on the course. “Junior golfers starting out have a much better chance to make a birdie or par from a distance that matches their game, and seniors don’t necessarily want to tee off from the ladies or forward tees so it’s smart to make the game fun and one where junior, senior and all golfers feel they have a chance to win.”
Bennett Valley golf director Bob Borowicz reports BV has built six forward tees with three more planned by 2016, although he adds the BV Women’s Club has opted not to use them.
“I m having a hard time understanding why they would not want to play a par 4 or 5 with a chance to reach the green in regulation with something other than a fairway wood,” says Bob, who would love to hear your thoughts.
Paul Nikol, former educator whose GEL (Golf at the Elementary Level) was a national success, offers, “how wonderful it is for our golden senior and golden junior players . . . it’s been a long time coming.”
Paul adds that it “allows for an even field between grand-dad and grandma and junior golfer Billie or Susie . . . It also means mom and the kids have a better chance of reaching the green in regulation and it speeds up play, and I hope more courses do the same thing.“
According to Windsor pro Demian Reddy, if the gold tees are a success at his course, the same program may be enacted at Rooster Run and Adobe Creek, the other two courses operated by the Wine Country Golf Group.
I’d like to know if your course has embraced “Tee It Forward” or if they plan on doing so. And I’d like to hear your comments about the concept.
SSU men to play in 2015 NCAA Division II regional
The Sonoma State men’s golf team has been selected to play in the 2015 NCAA Division II Championship May 4-6 at Hiddenbrooke GC in Vallejo.
This is the 9th regional appearance in the past 10 years for the Seawolves, coached by Val Verhunce. Ten teams from the West Region and 10 from the South Central, as well as four individual players from each region will compete.
The top six teams and two individuals (not part of an advancing team) move on to Rock Barn Golf Club in Conover, N.C. for the nationals May 18-22.
Other NorCal schools in the regional include Cal State Monterey Bay, Chico State, Cal State Stanislaus, Cal State East Bay and Dominican
The Seawolves won the regional in 2008 and 2010 and were second in 2009 and 2011. Last year they took 9th in the regional, and are looking forward to advancing to the nationals for the first time since 2011.
Senior golfers, take note . . .
If you’re the kind of golfer who thinks he or she can shoot their age, the Sonoma Wine Country Games may be right for you.
The annual games feature a number of sports, including golf, which this year will be contested at Windsor GC June 4 starting at 8:30 a.m.
Entry fee is $85 for 18 holes with the format individual stroke play, handicapped and flighted based on age and gender. Participants must provide their Handicap Index as of May 15, 2014, and the GHIN system of the USGA will be used to verify handicaps.
Foursomes will be determined by age and handicap, soft spikes are required and you may walk or ride — cart fees are included in the entry fee.
Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded to participants with the lowest gross and lowest net scores in each age and handicap division. Age groups: 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, etc.
2015 U.S. Senior Open in Sacramento
The 2015 U.S. Senior Open will be held June 25-28 at Del Paso CC in Sacramento, a course that has hosted several major events in the past.
The most recent was the 1982 U.S. Women’s Open, won by Janet Alex. Del Paso has also hosted two U.S. Women’s Amateur events with JoAnne Gunderson Carner winning in 1957 (at age 18) and in 1976 Donna Horton posted a 2-and-1 victory over Marianne Bretton. Del Paso hosted the 1964 U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur, won by Lorna Smith.
The first U.S. Senior Open was 1980 and the event is open to any pro or amateur golfer 50 years of age with a USGA Handicap Index not to exceed 3.4.
This one is for the birds . . .
If you play golf, you have come across bird poop on the course, often on your ball, shoes or golf cart wheels.
According to the Rules of Golf, bird poop (wet or dry) is considered a loose impediment anywhere on the golf course and can be removed. However, if there is bird poop sticking to your ball, you can only remove it if the ball is on the green, but not elsewhere on the course.
Got a Million Dollar swing?
Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds is sponsoring a Million Dollar Hole-in-One contest Saturday, May 30, from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m., at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Golf Course.
For details, go to www.sonomacanopytours.com
Former Windsor and Santa Rosa CC pro Charlie Gibson, now living in Roseville, combined with amateur Wes Leith to win the 2015 NorCal PGA Movers, Shakers and Moneymakers event at Round Hill CC in Alamo.
Windsor’s Jason Schmuhl and amateur Rick Hansen, Windsor’s golf superintendent, took third.
Keep in touch
Thanks for your contributions and your support of GOLF 707 on www.ysn365.com
I always appreciate any golf-related items or questions you send my way to [email protected] so keep them coming.
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Contact Bruce Meadows by email, [email protected]