11 July 2016
Every course should have a marshall regulating group tee selection. PERIOD. Case in point, about a year ago I am at my local club, Industry Hills and a foursome of strapping 20-something young men are off before my group. I watch with great curiosity as they take their warm up swings from the tips. I think to myself that there are only two possibilities here. One, these are real ballers and I am in for a great day watching these guys break par or I am going to be stuck behind a group of macho mis-teed hackers. If you know the Babe course at Industry Hills you are aware that number one has a large gully that must be carried to a narrow fairway–especially from the tips. Golfer one push-slices his drive sideways into an adjacent parking lot. Golfers two and three duck-hook their drives in to the cavernous gully with barely a whimper. Golfer four hits a weak slice just in front of the ladies tees. WTH? Really? The tips? For today’s muni golfer our greatest complaint is slow play. There are many reasons for this and not all are related to bad golf. I don’t think I have to rehearse the list here. For me, the greatest offense are mis-teed golfers. If you play once a year or plan to consume a 12-pack during the round move up a couple of colors. And why aren’t courses regulating these obvious offenses and offenders? Scottish courses could give a crap what your index is…you are playing from the yellows and rounds get played in sub-four hour clips. Now, in retrospect, I don’t mean to be smug here but I could tell just by looking at this groups equipment that they couldn’t really be serious ballers. But there they were, four Ricky Fowler wannabes hacking away from the tips and then subsequently every hazard thereafter. Not a marshall in sight. Now this is an obvious example of golfers gone bad but just what are the rules that regulate tee selection? I don’t have the USGA’s rules readily at hand but I would say something along these lines…tips: tournament play for scratch golfers; blues: 1-9 handicaps; white: 10-20ish handicaps and ladies sub-10; red: ladies and +20ish men. I know it is a blow to our collective egos to drop down a tee box but it is for the betterment of the game. I recently joined my good bud JE on the whites (remember I am an 11) and it was not an easy psychological adjustment but I rolled with it and it was fine. In some ways it made the course more treacherous bringing once unreachable driving hazards into play. I still jump back to the blues with certain groups and hang because I know the game and the rules of ready golf. So, ask your local club to at least place tee guidelines for golfers at the first tee. Most of us may not even know there are suggested guidelines. It is for the betterment of the game and the precious hours we spend on the course.
Next up: Angeles National, Sunland CA review