Martin Dempster: ‘Tee it forward’ – a sensible way to extend your golfing life

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GOLF has come up with some strange concepts in recent years to try to provide the game with some spark, but a more basic approach, which has been trumpeted by Sandy Jones, the PGA chief executive, and is about to be endorsed by his organisation should be embraced by clubs.

The ‘Tee it Forward’ initiative was launched in America last year and is aimed at encouraging club golfers to play a course that is suited to them instead of feeling as though they are fighting a losing battle on a layout that is too long.

Just consider this statistic. It is reckoned that a 6,700-yard course that many amateur golfers play today is proportionally equivalent to a Tour player competing on a course measuring 8,100 yards – 700 yards more than a typical layout for them.

“People are playing courses that are too long,” said Jones, who has expressed that opinion at every available opportunity when speaking to club officials and members this year and believes the introduction of a ‘Tee it Forward’ campaign on this side of the Atlantic can be good for the game.

“We are trying to grow the game but, in actual fact, we are all doing our brains in trying to sustain it,” he added. “And I’ve heard the argument that we are trying to sustain the unsustainable due to the fact there are too many golf courses for the number of golfers around.”

Jones isn’t suggesting that clubs should have to find money to build expensive new tees.

Far from it, in fact. In recent years, blue markers, for instance, have appeared on some courses for juniors, aimed at helping make the initial test easier for them, and they could just as easily be used by older players.

“I think the tees you play off should reflect your life cycle and if by going back to where my mother made me start, which was in front of the ladies’ tees, means I’ll still be playing and enjoying my golf later in life, I’ll take that,” he said.

Me, too.