Tee It Forward won’t help a wayward swing

September 23, 2011

This summer, the United States Golf Association and the Professional Golfers Association encouraged golfers to play their regular rounds on a shorter golf course, with their Tee It Forward campaign.

I’ve taken their advice several times this season, and enjoyed it.

Most of my scores from the green tees at Shawnee improved a bit from the usual results from the white tees. In addition, the view from the shorter tees has often been surprisingly different, requiring a very different alignment for the opening shot on several holes.

Playing short hasn’t been a complete success, however.

A couple weeks ago, I played the green tees, and caught up to a threesome ahead of me, who were using the whites. I didn’t press them, or seek to play through, but just hung back and waited.

When I finished, however, two of the players came up to me at the pro shop, and asked me how long I had been retired.

They were just kidding around, I think.

A shorter set of tees won’t cure a dodgy swing, either. I recently played nine holes with Shawnee Country Club’s ladies’ champion Lisa Hutchins and her husband, Jim, along with Scott Hermansader.

Jim and Scott played from the white tees. Lisa played from the reds, and I played from the greens - which at Shawnee are the same tee spaces as the reds.

The other three played their usual fine games. I wish I could say the same, but it wasn’t because of the shorter tee boxes, at least not directly.

On a few occasions, I was swinging out of my socks, trying too hard to hit long drives for an even shorter approach to the green. At other times, I found it entirely possible to hit four or more trees while playing a single hole.

The sprinkles that accompanied our first few holes turned into a steady rain by the time we finished the ninth hole, where I made my first par of the day. The wet weather brought a merciful end to a fairly miserable round of golf.

The USGA and the PGA’s Tee It Forward program makes a lot of sense intuitively, and can help many golfers enjoy their playing experience more than one might expect. If your rhythm and swing are a bit off, however, playing short won’t help very much.

Such a thing as being too helpful
A recent Ruling of the Day from the USGA’s website reminds golfers to ask ahead before deciding to help another golfer.

In the situation discussed, a player in a four-ball match lifts a competitor’s ball on the putting green, after marking its position. He didn’t ask first, however.
Under the rules, the allegedly helpful player is hit with a penalty stroke, which does not apply to his partner, thankfully enough.

One might think this ruling is a bit persnickety, at first blush. On the other hand, messing with another player’s golf ball without permission won’t always be perceived as a kind gesture, depending on personalities and how the game is going at that time. The better option is to ask first, under all conditions.

Local club tournament results
The Kings Creek Country Club ladies groups are continuing their weekly contests into the fall.

On Sept. 15, the nine-holers played a Tee to Green tournament, won by Sue Eisenbrey. Evelyn Vanderloo took second, while Linda Mazza finished in third place. Vanderloo was closest to the pin.

The 18-holers played the same format that day, and Linda Eicher won first place in the first flight. Trish Ritthaler took second, and also had the closest-to-the-pin shot on the eighth hole. Jane DelGaudio finished in third.

In the second flight, Rita Musi won first place. Betsy Alwood took second, and Mary Mezger finished in third position.

The nine-holers played again Sept. 19. Susan Spence finished in first place, and had the closest-to-the-pin shot. Linda Mazza took second place.