Savannah, Ga. – Trying to convince a membership of close to 2,400 golfers to try a new initiative can be something of a Herculean task.
But at The Landings Club, host site of this week’s USGA Women’s State Team Championship, the Tee It Forward initiative supported by the USGA and The PGA of America has been embraced like a newborn child.
When the Tee It Forward concept was introduced earlier this year by Barney Adams, there was some trepidation by golfers about trying something new. Many golfers are more inclined to play from longer tees than to move up.
Adams believes that if golfers move up one or two tees, the game can be more enjoyable. Instead of struggling to hit longer par-4s in regulation with hybrids or fairway metals, players can reach the green with mid- to short-irons, potentially creating more birdie opportunities and enjoyment. It can also improve pace of play, since slowdowns sometimes result from golfers playing from tees not suited to their ability.
“We explained that by moving up to the recommended tees, members would be hitting clubs into greens that were more comparable to the club that tour players would use,” said Tad Sanders, the director of golf at The Landings, which features six golf courses, including the Palmetto Course, site of the Women’s State Team Championship. “In other words, it gave members more of a ‘tour experience’ on the golf course.”
Because The Landings has a large number of female golfers, the club has also created the Skidaway Tees on five of the six courses (the Palmetto Course will add them after the Women’s State Team Championship). In the near future, the Georgia State Golf Association will evaluate and provide Course and Slope Ratings for these tees to allow golfers to post scores for handicap purposes.
For example, the Deer Creek Course plays 3,772 yards from the Skidaway Tees.
The staff doesn’t know exactly how many members have taken advantage of Tee It Forward, but they have seen at least two groups of women playing from the new tees daily at each course.
“I just have to tell you how much fun and helpful the experimental tees were,” wrote one member. “I truly hope we keep them. The yellow tees made me feel like I was ‘really playing’ again. And the best part is that with the better driving distance, I can play until an even riper old age.”
Wrote another member: “The yellow markers, which essentially create an ‘executive course,’ give women an option to ‘play it forward,’ as well as men. I think it’s a wonderful option for the mid- to high-handicapper – we certainly have enough of them.”