Yesterday Golf Digest’s The Loop, which is a bit of a catch all for online content it seems, posted a video from NBC of an interview with Caitlyn Jenner.
I really don’t care what tees she plays from ( it is reported Jenner was a 5 handicap at one point), but I take issue with Golf Digest, a reputable golf magazine, read by golfers of all ages, genders and abilities, using the phrase ladies tees ( I can let is slide with TMZ as I doubt they know any better).
Why, you ask, do I take issue with this?
Leaving aside the completely outdated notion of gender being equated to skill level, the biggest issue I have with the semantics of the piece is the fact that high handicappers playing from the back tees is making a round of golf slower than it needs to be. Imagine your on a par 4 with a water carry. From the back tees that carry is 220 and from the forward tees it is 175. From the forward tees a 20 handicapper clears the water 8 out of 10 times, from the back tees, maybe its 5 out of 10. How much extra time is added because their tee shot went in the water, or worse, may or may not have gone in the water on the other side of the hazard. Play this scenario out a couple of times through the round and your looking at 30 minutes of extra time.
Having high handicaps play from the forward tees is going to make the rounds quicker and also more enjoyable. Tee It Forward is a great initiative that encourages players to play from the tee that will lead to the most enjoyment, i.e. the tees that allow them to play their best (with a side benefit being quicker rounds). There is a debate out there on whether skill (i.e handicap) or driving distance should determine which tees you play from, either way, it means crappy players shouldn’t be playing the back tees.
The problem with all of this is that as long as people refer to the forward tees as ladies tees, few men will use them simply because of their name. Who doesn’t want to say they shot 89, instead of 100, unless it is 89 from the “ladies” tees.
Courses can help with this as well, by having the course rated for both men and women from all tee blocks and removing any reference from scorecards of “ladies” tees.
If you are playing in front of me or with me, I am more concerned about your place of play then your score, you should be concerned about both and the best way to achieve both is to play from the appropriate tees.
See you at the Turn,