Tee it Forward sounds like a really good idea on paper. And, there are a few methods you can use to determine what tee you should play:
1. Rule of 28: The distance you should play is based on how far you hit your drive x 28. So if your drive is 200 yards, then you should play from a tee that is close to 5,600 yards. Here is the rationale
2. Rule of 36: The distance you should play is based on how far you hit your 5 iron x 36. So if you hit your 5 iron 160 yards, then you should play from a tee that is close to 5,760 yards. Here is the rationale
3. Rule of The PGA: The PGA put together a chart based on driving distance. For example if you drive the ball 200 yards you should play from a tee that is 5200 – 5400 yards long, and if your drive 175 yards then the course yardage should be 4400 – 4600 yards. Here is the rationale
So, it would appear that these various methods of calculating what tees you should play from, come up with very similar results. However, even if these numbers are correct, in practice, the every day golfer is not going to play a course that puts them at the first tee box. There seems to be a disconnect between the way golf course tees are set up and the Tee It Forward initiative. I’ll bet there aren’t too many regular 18 hole golf courses with tees that are 4600 yards for the guy who hits a 175 yard drive. So what’s the real basis for these recommendations?
According to the the United States Golf Association, since 2005, the average male amateur’s handicap has been between 14 and 15. Golf Handicap and Information Network (GHIN) shows similar numbers of 15.3 handicap in 2003 and 14.3 handicap in 2012. Trackman statistics report the average club head speed at the 14-15 handicap level is about 93.4 mph, yielding an average total distance of 214 yards per drive. I don’t know about you, but that seems longer than most of the guys I play with. So maybe, just maybe, it’s these “average golfers” who can hit 214 yards drives, and think they can play from the tips, who should really move up a tee or two.
Of course we all know some friends who are playing from the wrong tees and should move up. And we should encourage them to do so, because they will have more fun and be more competitive. But if you really want to get players to move up just change the colors of the tees. That’s what happened at our club. The blue tees became black, the green became blue, the white tees became green and the red tees became white. Little by little we all migrated up a tee, while still playing the same color tees. Pretty clever.