Tee it Forward a great success


Sean Dudley
By Michele Witthaus

The PGA of America (PGA) and United States Golf Association (USGA) is continuing with its Tee it Forward programme, launched in July 2011 to encourage golfers to play from distances that match their playing skills.

More than 1,900 facilities registered in 2011 with an average of 123 golfers per facility (nearly 237,000 across the US) playing from forward tees during the promotional period. In a survey of more than 3,000 consumers who have experienced the programme so far, 70 per cent reported that they found their round of golf more enjoyable and more than 90 per cent said they would recommend Tee it Forward to a friend. Half of respondents also said the programme helped them play faster.

“These golfers told us that they found golf more enjoyable by playing courses at shorter lengths than usual. At the end of the day, that’s what we want…golfers to have more fun, which, in turn, hopefully means they will play more and stay in the game,” said Allen Wronowski, president of the PGA. “This initiative also generated incredible buzz through traditional and social media, as well as at golf facilities across the country.”

USGA president Jim Hyler commented: “Simply put, Tee it Forward can make golf much more fun for millions of people, while contributing to the growth of the game. We are encouraged by the results of our pilot, and believe this new approach to the game is really beginning to catch on with golfers of all skill levels.”

Tee it Forward has been promoted since its launch by industry veteran Barney Adams, retired founder of Adams Golf. “I’ve been around the game for more than 30 years and continue to be amazed as golfers make it much harder than it should be by playing golf courses at distances that don’t come close to matching their abilities,” said Adams. “By playing from forward tees, amateur golfers have the chance to play the course at the same relative distance as a touring professional would over 18 holes. We need golfers to be hitting eight-irons and wedges into par fours like the pros…not fairway woods.”

Participating courses can set up additional tees or simply encourage golfers to use existing forward tees that enable better enjoyment of the game. The PGA and USGA will be developing educational and promotional materials to be distributed to golf facilities across the US.