By Bruce Meadows




Remember when  ???

   Remember when you could reach that par-5 hole in two shots, setting up a birdie, maybe even an eagle?

   Well, as we get older – include me in that group – that two-shot par-5 turns into a three-shot effort, or more !!!


   I think of all those par-3 holes I could reach with an 8- or 9-iron, and now I pull out a hybrid 4 or 5.

   Thing is, there is no shame in realizing – and admitting – that what you could once do on the golf course has changed, and it’s a good idea to change with it.

   I think of friends who come to a 175-yard par 3 and mutter something about being able to reach the green with a short iron “a few years ago.”

  “I think I can get there with a 9 if I hit a really good shot,” they might say. I respond by suggesting instead of coming out of their shoes in an effort to hit “the right shot” that they drop down to an 8- or 7-iron, swing easy and greatly enhance their chances of finding the green.

   All this came back to me when I got an email from an old friend, Paul Nikol, former teacher and coach:

    “Paul Nikol here . . .  just  turned 73 . . .  I recently played Windsor from the front tees for the first time. As marshal at Windsor since 1993 recently I have observed a lot of OLDER players doing the same thing.

   “I talked to many of them and their common ground is . . .

‘I’m more comfortable from the (forward) tee box since I don’t have to hit it hard . . . I have a chance to score better.”


   “I’m too old to compete with the young bucks . . . I can keep up with play (that’s something that was repeated several times, a statement relished by all marshals), and ‘I can see the flag better it’s not so far away.’ 

   So Paul has what he calls a proposal:

   “How about calling the front tees not only the ladies’ tee, the front tees, but the 70’s tees and change the color?” 

   “You may bring back some of those who quit because ‘it’s just not fun anymore.’

   “I know I’m going to use the 70’s tees wherever I play . . .it’s more fun and I can reach the green in so-called REGULATION. Now that is another movement for future consideration.”

Thanks to Paul for his thoughts, which had me looking for information on “forward tees,” and found a few  . . .


Handicap Competitions

Q. At what age should a golfer be allowed to play the forward tees?

A. The World Handicap System enables players to play from different tees and still have a fair game or competition, which is why the USGA does not recommend any particular set of tees based on factors such as age, gender, or driving distance. For recreational rounds, it is up to the player to decide which tees to play. For competition purposes, it is up to the Committee in charge of the competition.


When Do We Move to a Forward Tee?

Just think back over the last few months when you felt that you have hit the ball well, putt reasonably, but your score has ballooned to the mid to high 80s.

The Course has become a “grind” and the frustration has taken the enjoyment out of the game.

Click here to find out more about our great courses!

What About My Ego?

This, unfortunately, is possibly the biggest hurdle for us males to overcome.

PGA of America Guidelines

The PGA of America offers a number of guidelines to help golfers of all skill levels determine the best set of tees to to play.

Tee It Forward

For most golfers, the sport is largely recreational, and while we all want to challenge ourselves, it is also important to set yourself up for the most enjoyable round of golf possible.

One recent initiative, created by the PGA of America to address this and improve pace of play, is Tee It Forward.

“TEE IT FORWARD is not necessarily about creating a new set of tees — many facilities already have multiple tees in use every day. It is about changing the mindset of golfers in a positive way — encouraging people to consider setting aside playing from 6,500-6,700 yards and moving up to a length of 6,000-6,200 yards or moving from 6,000-6,200 yards to 5,700-5,800 yards.

The 6,700-yard course that many amateur golfers play today is proportionally equivalent to a PGA Tour player competing on a course measuring 8,100 yards — 700 yards or more longer than a typical PGA Tour layout.”

 Men’s vs. Ladies

For many years, golfers have been boxed in by the myths about ‘Men’s’ tees and ‘Women’s’ tees. There is no gender to the teeing area, there is, however, a gender to Course/Slope Ratings. This has been more daunting than expected.

Many Men falsely believe that the Red tees are only for Women and then they won’t move forward; there is also no age differential to Course/Slope Ratings. You are considered a Man whether you are age 6 or 96.

Having the forward tees rated for Men is not only for those who are living longer, yet hitting shorter. The forward tee is where beginner and young golfers should start their playing.

Combo Tees

Combo tees serve multiple purposes. They can be used between any and all sets of tees.

It is a way for a golf course to update the course for their players without the added expense of constructing new tee boxes. It allows the player to move forward, or back, to allow for their change in abilities, without shocking their system.

Combo tees will generally be indicated on the course scorecard, but if you see a White/Blue, Gold/Red or similar option on the course scorecard, this is likely an indicator of combo tees.

If a player decides to play a combo set of tees while they are golfing and it is not in the GHIN system, there is a way to post a score that is acceptable. The USGA Handicap System not only allows, but encourages this.

The player would find out the difference in the yardage for the combined set of tees that they played and adjust the Course Rating/Slope Rating up or down from the nearest set of tees.

In fact, if you are not comfortable with any sets of tees that the golf course has on their scorecard, the USGA allows golfers to essentially create their own set of tees and still have the ability to post the round to GHIN.

Three Tee Boxes

Playing a course with only three tee set options (Black/White/Red; Champion/Member/Forward; etc) makes this decision much easier!

ï         Championship/ Back tees are for lower handicapped golfers; most often men.

ï         Member/ Middle tees are for middle to higher handicapped male golfers, low-handicap or long hitting ladies, and low-handicap or long-hitting senior men.

ï         Forward tees are for middle or high handicap ladies and seniors, and beginner golfers of all types!

Driving Distance x 28

A great method, developed by Chris Mile at Miles of Golf, is to take your average Driver distance, multiplied by 28, to determine a potential tee-distance range that could work with your playing style. This method can get a little misleading, as driving distance does not necessarily equate to playing ability, but this may be something else for you to consider for your next round.

For example, your average drive is 250 yards.
250 yards x 28 = 7,000 yards potential tee playing range

5-Iron Distance

An interesting method of determining what set of tee’s you should play is by factoring the average distance you hit your 5-iron as a metric to gauge where you should play from.

Take your average 5-iron distance, multiply by 36, and choose the tees that most closely match that yardage.

More fun

The most important reason why you should try the forward tees is just how fun they are. Having birdie looks on every hole is great, and it gives you a sense for how Tour pros play the game. No one wants to grind over bogey putts all day just to break 90, so give yourself a real chance at posting a low number. Forget the stigma about the forward tees and you’ll soon have more fun on the course than you’ve ever had before.

 Tips from the pros . . .

  Popular local teaching pros Jessica Reese-Quayle and Greg Anderson have some golf-related gift-giving ideas for Christmas.

    Jessica, who works out of Santa Rosa G&CC, says holiday gift certificates and packages are now available.

  That includes a series of three half-hour lessons, a $210 value, for $180; a series of three 1-hour lessons for $300, a $360 value, or a 9-hole playing lesson ($250 value) for $200.

    To schedule lessons, go to

   She adds that with rain in the forecast, “no problem because we are covered during rainy days and lessons can be offered as usual.”  She suggests booking lessons early.

All lessons will be taught at SRCC. dress code will be enforced . . . please, no denim, and a collared shirt is required.

  She adds that with rain in the forecast, “no problem because we are covered during rainy days and lessons can be offered as usual.”  She suggests booking lessons early.

Greg writes:

   “I hope you have enjoyed the wonderful golf season in Northern California. The golf business has witnessed record growth in all departments, with participation at an all-time record high. As the change of weather and shorter days are upon us, it is important to continue to keep your golf game momentum going. Next Level Golf and Fitness has a number of programs to keep your game in shape throughout the winter.”

Off-Season Specials

Get your body and your golf game in shape during the winter time!

Enjoy free golf simulator time when you purchase a Golf Lesson and Personal Fitness Program:

PXG Fitting (PXG.COM)

January 11th, 2021

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Reach your potential on the course and increase your enjoyment of the game with a PXG club fitting. A Fitting Specialist will optimize your performance through a one-on-one immersive fitting experience focused on your golf swing and your golfing goals. Take your game to the Next Level!

PXG offers spectacular full set packages, and has recently launched a new program with a 10-club program that has received a nice write-up in Golf Digest magazine.

Gift Certificates

Having troubles finding that perfect gift for the golfer in the family? A gift certificate for golf lessons and/or a personal fitness program is a wonderful and very thoughtful present. Easy to purchase at

Coming Soon:


Golf Sports Psychology Meeting

Meet the #1 Sports Psychologist in the North Bay as Dr. Joe Puentes discusses the combination of the physical activity and mental approach to playing better golf. Future dates to be determined.


Golf Leagues

Starting in January 2022, NLG&F will be introducing golf league events throughout the week. Can you imagine playing the back nine with your partner at Pebble Beach Golf Links at 7 p.m. when it is absolutely pouring outside? Perfect conditions await all players inside the NLG&F studio.


Next Level Golf and Fitness

(Located inside the Anytime Fitness Club)

Larkfield Shopping Center, Santa Rosa


Let’s hear from you . . .

  Thanks for your comments, questions, suggestions. I appreciate them and would like to get as many as possible. If you have information about anything golf-related, including upcoming clinics, activities, tournaments or sales, let me know. And if you have questions, complaints or compliments about golf in our area, let me know and I’ll make some inquiries.


   If you have a golfer – pro or amateur — you know who you think would make an interesting story, tell me about it and I will take it from there. Having trouble with your game? Let me know what it is and I’ll try to get an answer for you from a local pro.

   We would be proud to include you as one of our sponsors – thanks to Bill Carson at Wine Country Golf for his continued support – so if you care to get some details about being a sponsor of GOLF 707, email me at

  Happy Holidays !!!