What’s up with the numbered tees?

Our new “numbered” tees have been developed through combined research published by both the PGA of America and the USGA.  The use of numbers will assist all golfers in finding the MOST ENJOYABLE yardage for their clubhead speed.   Gender, age and handicap based tee assignments have missed the mark for a majority of players.

Equality in Golf should allow all players to play similar clubs into the greens on their approach.  So, if your clubhead speed is under 75 mph, the number one set is for you.  Between 70 and 85 makes you a candidate for the number two markers.  Number three tee is best suited for those with 90 plus mph and the number four is for those with and excess of 100 mph.

The bottom line is this; you should be able to enjoy the game in a fashion similar to the high level players.  This means playing a club into the green that will a) get there, and b) stop when it lands.  As a reference point, think of this….. the average woman playing our former gold tees at almost 5400 yards or a man with 75 mph of clubhead speed playing the former white markers equates to a tour player playing a course over 10,000 yards! Simply too much work… no wonder the scores are high and rounds take too long.

NOW, consider playing a set of tees where you can reach all of the greens in regulation, having shots that land and stay on greens, birdie putts, and less fatigue at the end! We encourage you to find your clubhead speed, try the corresponding set of tees and give us your feedback. We’re pretty sure you will love it!

Information presented in the below section is derived from a resource management report by Larry Gilhuly, Agronomist with the USGA Green Section. Larry’s visit to OGA Golf Course occurred on June 20th, 2018. 

USGA agronomists are not golf course architects; however, the USGA has and will continue to promote improved pace of play initiatives, making the game more fun and reducing overall resource inputs that are making the game more expensive. The Resource Management Tool directly relates to showing the positive impact of forward tees for your golf operation.

In conjunction with results put forward by the PGA, the USGA has taken data from thousands of golfers and found a very simple and understandable way to promote teeing surfaces at distances associated with players’ swing speeds. Forward tees should no longer be equated with gender as both younger and aging players should have the comparable feeling of joy when a par or birdie putt goes in the hole.

More importantly, adding more forward tees on holes where appropriate will significantly improve the pace of play along with the “fun factor” on the course. With the preceding in mind, the below chart shows the distance from your forward tees on every hole as well as the blue tees used by many of your male players.

The maximum distances for male and female golfers and approximate club distance are outlined below. Note: The maximum recommended hole length for female golfers is provided by PGA of America recommendations in their publication Setting Up Golf Courses for Success.

The tables below compare the estimated approach shot distance and estimated approach clubs for the average male (14 handicap) and average female (25 handicap) golfers. They also show whether the female and male golfers are expected to reach the putting green in regulation or where there may be distance issues for players using each set of markers.

The following can be surmised after studying the charts:

• All of the par-3 holes are reachable, but the remainder of the golf course is far too long. Note that every par 4 and 5 (excluding Nos. 2 and 12) is reachable in regulation for the average male player with a swing speed of 81 to 90 miles per hour. Also, note the range of clubs being used to hit these shots. On the opposite side, only one hole (No. 17) does not require at least a fairway wood into the green, with virtually none of them (excluding the par-3 holes) even close to reachable in regulation.

• The challenge for average female golfers and average male golfers is not proportional. The golf course is much more difficult for the average female player. This results in longer round times (more shots) and less enjoyment for these players. There are many examples of facilities that have addressed this through the creation of more forward tees. Round times have decreased, and golfer satisfaction has gone up. This is good for business and good for the reputation of the facility.

• What does the + sign behind the “Estimated Approach Shot Club” mean? This sign simply shows that shots with fairway woods on these holes will end up short of the putting green for each hole by the distance shown titled “Yards Over Recommended Maximum.” For example, those with a swing speed of 60 miles per hour (both female and male) playing No. 9 face a driver, two fairway woods and a mid-iron to reach this green in four. At the same time, those playing the blue tees with a swing speed of 81 to 90 miles per hour can reach this green in regulation with a wedge. Obviously, those players with less swing speed will consistently end up well short of the putting greens on most holes resulting in more shots and a reduced pace of play.

• Overall distance is not the only determining factor for adding forward tees. All of the above data shows where forward tees are needed for average players with less swing speed. However, in many cases, the placement of the forward tee at the desired length is not possible due to topography, hazards and other factors. In some cases, the existing forward tee may be the only choice, while others may still be too long or too short. Regardless, this can be addressed with a qualified golf course architect to provide the best experience for your players.

• What should the forward tee length be to match the same clubs hit into the putting greens on every hole? For years this has been a great question but without solid data, it was only an estimation. With this new data and the calculator, the distance for each hole can be calculated to give a very good estimate of what distance is required. The chart below shows this as a starting point for more forward tees.

If you wish to read the entire USGA Green Section report by Larry Gilhuly, please follow the link below. If you have questions, comments, or concerns regarding this information, please contact Head PGA Golf Professional Mark Keating at mkeating@ogagolfcourse.com