Road Hole Shorts

Golf Design, golf, golf, GOLF

Guest commentary: Movin’ on up – to a kinder gentler round of golf

By Mary Armstrong/For the Sun-News

Posted: 06/30/2011 09:00:39 PM MDT


The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America and the United States
Golf Association (USGA) are collaborating to promote “Tee it Forward,” a new
national initiative.

From July 5-17, the two organizations will be encouraging players to move at
least one tee set to more thoroughly enjoy the game.

You may have noticed advertisements or public service announcements during
some recent tournaments. Jim Hyler, President of the USGA said, “This is an
innovation that we think will appeal to golfers of all skill levels because it
gives them a new challenge that better aligns with their abilities.”

The concept was developed by Barney Adams, the founder of Adams Golf. His
feeling was that players were too often playing courses at lengths that
overmatched their abilities. He advocated for all players to try the “forward
tees” so that they would be able to experience the course at the same relative
distances as a touring professional.

Many male amateur golfers today choose the second longest tee set. Those
distances are usually about 6,700 yards for the full course. This would equate
to PGA Tour Players playing a course measuring 8,100 yards, which is about 700
yards longer than a typical PGA Tour layout. The initiative isn’t so much about
creating new sets of tees. Many courses already have several tee sets that are
available every day. However, many courses still even today do not offer a set
of tees short enough for the average novice or average female player.

Often times there are relatively flat spots on the fairways that can serve as a
teeing location and players that need a shorter course should move forward for a
more enjoyable round.

Beside lower scores, players may benefit from using a wider range of clubs,
fewer lost balls, less time looking for balls and slightly quicker pace of play.

Yani and Rory

Yani Tseng overmatched the field at last week’s second LPGA major of the
season and in the process obliterating Rory McIlroy’s much ballyhooed recent
U.S. Open win. Both McIlroy and Tseng are 22 years old, and they both played in
Nick Faldo’s invitational junior event, but that’s really where the similarities
end. McIlroy has won a few times on tour and won his first major going away at
Congressional by 8 shots. By contrast, Yani Tseng has won seven LPGA events and
FOUR MAJORS – the most recent by 10 shots. Not only that, she is the world’s
number one ranked female player and the youngest golfer in history to hold four
major titles – male or female.

There’s no doubt that golf in general is fortunate to have Rory and Yani as
their most recent major champions and most promising young stars. Both appear to
be “good people” as well as very skilled players. It’s so refreshing to hear
honest, forthright answers to broadcaster’s questions. It allows us to believe
that these kids aren’t the product of “giant spin machines.” Yani’s English
isn’t the best. You can imagine how good your Taiwanese would be after only a
few years, but she’s not derailed by the language. ESPNW columnist Mick Elliot
said it pretty well, “Although far from chatty, she has mastered English every
bit as well as Boo Weekley.”

It was great that Rory was able to share his win with his Dad on Father’s
day, but his Dad should take note that Yani didn’t really blossom until her
father stepped away and let her mature on tour. In fact, her father and family
stayed up into the wee hours to watch Yani win on television from her native
Taiwan. I often feel that parents are much too involved in their children’s
developing games.

I recently competed in a USGA qualifier. There were 14 contestants for three
positions. We played in twosomes and I was in the first group. We played in
about three and a half hours, as did a couple more groups after us. However, the
fourth group was nearly an hour behind the group in front of them. The reason:
two young girls with their fathers on the bag. Despite both having played well,
they came off the course looking as though they had been put through the
wringer. By contrast, this past weekend, Yani Tseng strode up the fairway,
smiling ear to ear, on her way to her fourth major at the age of twenty two.
Judy Rankin commented best on what makes Yani Tseng successful in the game:

“The thing, Yani said, that she does the best in her game is – she has fun.
If you are a parent and you want your young child to play golf and maybe excel
at the game – but even just to play the game – I think having fun is the very
first component.”

We all want the best for our children. What more can you ask for your child
than to enjoy the things they decide to do. Encourage your child’s teachers,
whether it be in golf or in school, to help them enjoy what they are teaching
them. Having fun is the fastest, most effective and enduring enticement to

A golf architect in New Hampshire for over 20 years, Armstrong brought her
craft to Las Cruces in January 2010. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf
Architects, which provides planning, designing, permitting and construction
monitoring services for golf course projects. You can comment on her writing and
view past articles at her blog:


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