A brief exchange with the folks at 3UP golf last week got me thinking about an idea that has been percolating in my head for quite some time: creating courses-within-courses for juniors, seniors, the differently-abled and others who cannot routinely hit the ball more than 180 off the tee (and that is quite a lot of players).
The basic idea is that on every par four and par five hole, courses would create Super Forward sets of tees ranging from 150 to 250 yards in length.
Tee boxes for the super forward tees need not be complicated, or alter the basic course design. In most cases, a teeing ground could be created just off the fairway in the first cut at angles that would create interesting shots. In places where there is no such location, a teeing ground in the fairway could be sbstituted. I don’t think that would happen very often, though. As I have mentally run through my most familiar courses, I can imagine quite a number of super-forward tee locations.
The above photo is an example of how such a hole would work. It is a 414 yard par 4 at Green Oaks in Ypsilanti, Michigan. My proposed super short tees would be located behind the large tree on the left side of the fairway, about 180 yards to the green. A shorter hitter would need to carry thirty yards of rough at an angle to the fairway. From the landing zone, the ideal second shot would be a wedge to the green. A direct shot at the green would be risky because of the necessity of playing over a tree on a direct line to the green.
That’s a fun hole.
On those rare holes when an off-fairway tee shot is not available, an area could be marked on the fairway itself, using paint, such as is used in drop zones. That would avoid the possibility of a tee shot hitting an above-ground marker.
A side benefit of the super-forward tees is that they would in effect create a par three course within the boundaries of the regulation eighteen. I can see all sorts of possibilities for this, such as par three outings and special events.
The main benefit, however, is that shorter hitters would no longer have to play par fours as par fives and par five as sixes. It would both speed up pay and make the game more fun for a wider range of players. Even slightly better players could use the tees, unashamedly claim that they are playing the course as a par three, rather than a full blown 72. In an ideal world, the USGA would figure out a way to issue handicaps for the super-forward tees.
The PGA of America, USGA and other golf organizations are looking for ways to broaden golf’s appeal. GolfBlogger’s Super Forward Tees could do that with minimal investment from courses.