The American Society of Golf Course Architects Foundation, has introduced the Longleaf Tee Initiative, a programme for the creation of shorter tees at golf courses, aimed at increasing playability and enjoyment.
The scheme is modelled after the renovation of Longleaf Golf & Family Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where it was introduced in 2016. Under the supervision of ASGCA member Bill Bergin, Longleaf increased its teeing options to seven locations per hole at yardages that encourage players to tee off from locations based on how far they carry their drives.
“We realised that, based on research showing how far golfers actually hit the ball, that we needed sets of tees starting at around 3,200 yards if we wanted all golfers to face an equivalent challenge,” said Bergin. “Golf is effectively a giant bell curve – you get higher up the curve as you improve and grow up, and then as you get older, you move down the other side. There are a lot of people on the lower half of both sides.”
At Longleaf, Bergin added about forty new tees, finally creating 126 different tee markers on an eighteen hole course. “On the range there are colour coded posts at 25 yard intervals,” he explained. “So players go to the range, hit a few drives, observe where the balls land, and play from the corresponding set of tees. There are five actual tee boxes per hole; the others are on flat areas in the fairways. We are very conscious of the visual impact of so many tee platforms, so we did as little grading as we could, to come up with 400-500 sq ft of flat ground for the forward tees.”
For more, read the article about Longleaf Golf & Family Club that appeared in the Winter 2016 edition of By Design.