Play It Forward, Gents: 10 Reasons to Move Up To a Closer Tee Box
Are you a guy that simply has to play from the tips or else your ego begins to shrink and shrivel like a salt saturated slug? This despite the fact that your drives are just as likely to be 150 yard shanks as they are 300 yard bombs?
Well, it’s time to stop letting machismo and peer pressure diminish the enjoyment you get out of the game. Here’s ten reasons why you should consider moving up to the forward tee boxes, maybe even the forward-most tee box (don’t call it the ladies tees):
1) The pace is improved for everyone
When golfers play at tee box distances that are disproportionate to their handicap it slows the game down tremendously. Not only does this make the golf outing longer for you and your group, but you are probably going to be holding up other groups as well. It’s better for everyone when you play from the most appropriate tees.
2) Play the way it is supposed to be played
Golf is designed to be played a certain way. Courses are set up so you can have a realistic shot of getting on the greens in regulation on any given hole. It goes against the spirit of the game to play in a manner that – even at your best – you are going to have to drive, hit a three wood, and then wedge it just to get on the green in a par four.
3) It’s fun and feels good to have some birdie attempts
In a similar vein, you’ll find your golfing experience much more enjoyable when you are on the green with a chance to putt for a birdie, or failing that, score a few pars. If you aren’t a seasoned golfer, this isn’t going to be possible when you are playing from the same distance as scratch golfers and pros. Golf isn’t about showcasing your manhood. It’s about having fun. Moving up a tee box or two will make this more likely.
4) Work on your short game
Golf is also a lot more fun when you can see some improvement in your game. Any golf pro will tell you that the areas where golfers put up scores is within 100 yards of the pin. Lots of lousy golfers can drive the ball decently, but their games fall apart when they have to bust out the low irons and wedges. Playing from the front will ensure that you are giving yourself the adequate work on your short game, which will improve your overall play dramatically.
5) Improve your mid iron game
Similar to the short game, most new golfers struggle with their mid irons. Since you will be predominately using these clubs to tee off from one of the closer boxes, you’ll get lots of practice using your 6, 7 and 8 irons. If you want to work on your long drives and try to whack the ball 300 yards, go the driving range. Use your on course time to improve the important fundamentals.
6) Get an accurate handicap
Each set of tees has their own slope and rating used to calculate handicaps, so you can begin charting your play easier when you play from up front, as your scores will be a more accurate reflection of your overall game than if you were to play from the back and spend your entire round chasing around the balls you shank off the tee.
7) Be social
If you are playing with a lady, a young golfer, or a senior, you’ll have a much better time and have more moments to trade golf tips and course banter when you play the same tees as your partners. There is no need to show off and play a tee box or two back, especially when your game doesn’t warrant playing from that distance.
8) Get a new perspective
Even if you can hold your own at the longer tee distances without shanking your drives all over the course, there is much to be gained from new perspective. If you get into too much of a routine on your standard starting points, it is a good idea to mix it up a little bit and start from a new point of view.
9) Erase your misconceptions
You may have been taught that the uppermost tees are for women, the next ones back are for seniors and then you have the men’s tees. This is a common misnomer, one that contributes to a lot of golfers playing at distances that are too far for their playing ability, which as we’ve learned severely decreases the pace and enjoyment of the game. Again, golfing isn’t about asserting one’s manhood, it’s about having a good time and trying to achieve better scores, each of which is more likely when you play from an appropriate distance.
10) Avoid the hazards
Sick of getting into a drive that feels great only to watch it slice or hook into a sand trap or water hazard? Move up to a closer tee box and you will find that the hazards that were designed to be in a specific spot that will challenge and flummox the best golfers, will be less of an issue for you.
It’s no fun to play with a guy that is hacking it up for five hours and it certainly is no fun to be that guy. Play it forward, and you’ll have to deal with that less often. You’ll have a better experience and in time your game will improve to the point where it will be fitting for you to move back with the seasoned veterans.
By Scott McCormick
Scott McCormick comes from a long line of mediocre – yet devoted – golfers. He lives in Arizona with his wife Alexis and their two dogs. When not trying to improve his short game on an office putting machine or following his favorite PGA tour pros on Twitter, he works as a freelance writer for GolfNow, specializing in Vancouver Golf and Kansas City Golf.