Practice facilities have become more than places where we simply work on our game. They provide opportunities to socialize and enjoy golf when time may not allow for a full round on the course. There is also an important use for a practice facility that has a positive impact on pace of play, player enjoyment and the ongoing financial stability of the golf course. It is a key to the game and should be available at every practice facility. The question is, do you know your swing speed and how far you hit a golf ball?
During the past few years, the USGA and PGA have conducted research on thousands of players and developed very good information on swing speeds as they relate to handicap and gender. In the PGA booklet, “Setting Up Golf Courses for Success,” excellent information is given showing the average swing speeds for various players. Swing speed is the key to driving distance, which makes having a way to test your swing speed at the practice facility or golf shop a very valuable resource. There are now many different devices available to help you obtain this important information and the practice facility is a perfect place for learning more about your swing speed.
Every player needs to understand that their swing speed is the key factor in deciding which tee markers should be played on the golf course. In many cases, once players have a better understanding of their swing speed, they will be interested in moving forward to a more appropriate set of tees. If the current forward tees are still too long for some golfers, additional forward tees should be added that are well-positioned, properly built and clearly marked.
As a starting point for introducing golfers to the importance of swing speed in tee selection, one golf facility created a fun tournament that began with a swing speed analysis and then assigned tees for the tournament based on those results. This program was described in the USGA article, “Swing Speed Shuffle.” While all players may not be interested in participating in such an event, this way of introducing golfers to tees that may be more appropriate for them has brought more fun into the game and had a positive impact at this golf course.
Pace of play, player enjoyment and economic sustainability are all positively impacted when golfers play the tees that are best suited to their ability and swing speed. It is time to get into the swing of things, and it all begins at the practice tee.