Does Tee it Forward Really Matter?


This past weekend I played on Sunday with a friend of mine and his 14 year old son Jack. Jack took up golf about a year ago and as a birthday present I brought him out to my club for a game. As a 14 year old Jack doesn’t hit the ball all that long so we all decided to play from the 5,800 yard tees which are 2 sets of tees in front of my normal set. I have to admit, I was really looking forward to this. I was licking my chops and thinking “maybe this will be the day I shoot even par”. Despite a less than comfortable swing the day before I had been hitting the ball fairly well as of late and I thought I had a good chance to post my career round . . . albeit from about 800 yards less than I normally play.

So without boring everyone with the details of my round, I’ll cut to the chase. I shot 80 . . . 80???? What the??? My handicap index is 7.3 right now and +6 to +10 is right about what I normally shoot when I play from the 6,600 yard tees. At +8 my 80 fell right into my typical game. What happened???

Here are the quick stats:
10 of 14 fairways (not counting the hole where I drove it into a greenside bunker)
12 of 18 greens
9 iron or less for an approach shot on 11 of the 14 par 4s and 5s
2 birdies
8 pars
6 bogeys
2 doubles
2 three putts
1 one putt

It just goes to show that regardless of what tees are being played a good score still requires getting a ball in play off the tee, hitting the green and 1 or 2 putting. I don’t care if I’m playing from 4,900 yards or 7,400 yards I can still 3 jack it on the green or hit a wedge fat/thin and those strokes add up. It just goes to show that for us amateur hacks with handicaps above 5 this game is always going to be tough.

The end result of my Tee it Forward experiment is that I shot the same score as I would have from my normal tees and I felt a lot worse about it. Maybe next time I think I can improve my game by teeing it forward I’ll just call my pro and take some short game and putting lessons instead! Happy Birthday Jack. Hope you had a good time!

  • Good article
    That tells me what I have thought all along– ITS THE SHORT GAME– Pelz says that over half your shots are from 75 yards and closer– so its the Up and Down that really brings the score down– That is why short hitters with a good short game can often beat the long drivers

  • I’ve always found that when I move up, not only do I tend to play more aggressively, but new hazards come into play ;). I do like that par 5’s play more like par 4’s though!

  • Dave

    I did this recently with a couple friend who are new to the game. We played from tees just over 5900 yards and it was a blast. I played great – 64 with 7 birdies and 2 eagles. I had wedges and short irons into pretty much every green but it was my putting that made all the difference. And, of course, that had nothing to do with the shorter tees. All and all, a lot of fun and something I’ll do a couple times a season from now on.

    • The Itinerant Golfer

      Dave, do you remember if you were hitting it tight and making 4-8 footers or were you just putting great and making 10+ footers?

      • Dave

        I think I had 12 one putts so I was clearly putting well. Most of them were inside 10 feet either from wedge shots or chips. My two eagles were on bombs – one about 50 feet and the other was about 70 feet. One birdie was a two putt on a par four that I drove. So, I’d say that the round was equally due to really good putting and pretty good wedge play.

  • Chris A

    After reading your journal entry regarding “tee it forward”, I asked a teaching pro this weekend what he thought of the idea. His response was not what I expected. He started playing very young, I believe he was 7. His father made him start at 100 yards out, and he had to shoot par to move back. Eventually he did, and moved to 150, then ladies tees, and so on. His very “matter of fact” comment was, he has always shot par or better! He’s probably in his late 30’s, and his expectation has always been par. I’m in my early 50’s and have been playing golf since I was 10 and my hope is to one day break 80! What a different perspective that would be, we talk about tee it forward but he began forward and only moved back when he could shoot par. Intersting approach to this wonderful game, and one I think I will take with my children.

  • cb

    I short-ironed & putted my way to an ‘unimaginable’ 30 once on the back nine of a shorter(6000 yds) real golf course here in Va, that shall go nameless. It did wonders for the confidence i have in my wedge play/putting, i am still benefiting from 3 months later. I wish my pride would get out of the way and allow me to do that more often. War- on working on 100 yds & in. That’s where the professionals out-class us all.