by Jeff Skinner
There is an increasing trend in golf course design today to build courses longer and longer. Years ago 6500 yards was long, today over 7000 yards is the norm. It’s fine if you’re a scratch golfer or a professional to play a course that long, but for most of the average golfers 7000 yards is too much course. Sure, technology has helped all golfers hit the ball further, but it really hasn’t made us much better. The average handicap is about 16, and it has been about the same for 20 years. Not many golfers drive it over 240 yards. So why do men prefer to play courses that are longer and longer? The problem here is that plenty of men think they play much better than they actually do.
I know plenty of guys that want to play from the back tees. In fact they insist on it. I can only laugh when I hear these guys say that “men play from the blacks” and I watch them struggle to scores closer to triple digits then to par. Those knuckleheads that play from the “Tiger” tees and shoot 100 should consider moving up to the forward tees (don’t call them ladies tees). After all, this game is about enjoyment, not punishment. Those fellows that choose the back tees without any thought to the length or difficulty of the course are the same guys that mulligan their way around the course and can never understand why they are scoring so bad. It takes a really good player to successfully score form the back tees and unfortunately the hackers outnumber the really good players.
Course architect and cult hero or villain, depending on how you play his courses, Pete Dye discusses course length with Bill Pennington in the New York Times. Dye thinks too many non-pros play from the pro tees. He has taken to hiding the back tees so the average golfer can’t find them and offers them numerous tees to hit from. If only they would take his hints.
“Mr. Backtees” should consider playing from shorter tees. If your shooting in the 90’s move up to the next tee. When you start scoring in the seventies or low eighties consistently, then try a move back. We all like to think we are better and longer then we really are. Check the scorecard, if you’re playing by the real rules of golf, it will tell you when you can move to the back tees. If it never does, that’s all right. This game is about enjoyment. Enjoy the game and try playing from the whites.