The American Society of Golf Course Architects Foundation has introduced the Longleaf Tee Initiative, a joint partnership with U.S. Kids Golf Foundation that increases course playability and golfer enjoyment.
The program helps golf course operators strategically expand existing tee complexes and, as a result, increase rounds and improve pace of play. The goal is for all players to enjoy the game while maintaining the design integrity and challenge of the layout.
The initiative is modeled off of the learnings from the highly-successful renovation of Longleaf Golf & Family Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where it was introduced in 2016. With the assistance of Bill Bergin, ASGCA, Longleaf added multiple tee locations – as many as seven per hole – at yardages that encourage players to tee off from locations based on how far they carry their drive.
Results thus far include an increase in rounds played, greater player enjoyment and improved pace of play.
“This is no longer theory, it is proven data,” said Dan Van Horn, U.S. Kids Foundation founder and Longleaf Golf & Family Club owner. “Scaling our course with seven sets of tees makes golf more enjoyable for all players, and the club’s bottom line is much improved. The results were immediate and profound.”
How it Works
“Distinct signs on the practice range make it simple: hit a few drives, see where your ball lands, and play from the corresponding tees on the course,” Bergin said. “The charts and illustrations found in the pro shop, on the range, first tee and scorecard elevate this over other tee initiatives. It’s packaged in a way that encourages more players to play from the correct tees.”
“The beauty of this system rests in how it promotes fun,” said ASGCA Foundation President Clyde Johnston, ASGCA.
The Longleaf Tee Initiative is not a “cookie cutter” program. Since each golf course is unique, the implementation of the tee system will vary based on course design and layout.
“It is vital that courses work with an ASGCA member from the start,” said John Crowder, USKGF. “No two courses are the same. And to design and implement a system for all players – not just kids, women or older players – you need the expertise of a golf course architect.”
What they are saying about the Longleaf Tee System
“This will improve pace of play and increase enjoyment for everybody on the golf course. It’s going to be a benefit for everybody in the game.”
Rees Jones, ASGCA Fellow
“It’s not about gender or age. It’s about playing from a distance that gives players a chance to have par on virtually every hole.”
Dan Van Horn, U.S. Kids Golf Foundation founder
“At first, the amount of maintenance seems daunting. But the cost is negligible when weighed against the overall benefit for the golfer and the game.”
Jason Friedman, superintendent, Longleaf Golf & Family Club
“ASGCA members must help clients determine what is best; whether building new tees or fairway cutouts, or simply using these ideas for better operations.”
Bruce Charlton, ASGCA
On Twitter, follow ASGCA (@ASGCA) and U.S. Kids Golf Foundation (@USKidsGolfFDN).