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The tee box in golf is symbolic for a number of reasons. Whether it’s the opening shot of a round or the first swing on a mid-round hole, the significance is the same in principle: it always helps to get some momentum going on the tee. With a good tee shot, every other stroke becomes easier.
In general, people naturally have a slightly skewed perspective when it comes to the tee shot. Usually when a golfer steps up to take his or her turn, the understanding of how that first shot will influence the following ones is under-recognized. Below are some ideas that will help establish a new way to approach the tee box. If you struggle out of the gate, these changes in your mindset could go a long way in transforming your play and cleaning up that scorecard....
Thoughts on Bifurcation.
This may come as a shock to some of you, but we (amateurs) do not play the same game as the pros. It’s similar in so far as we are allowed the same number of clubs the same ball and increasingly the same luminous orange pants shirt combo that now fills our local pro shops and golf retailers, but for most of us this is where the similarity begins and ends.
I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you do not on average drive the ball 300 yards and proceed to stuff a wedge to 6 feet from 145 yards before casually jamming it in the back of the cup for yet another simple birdie on your way to your usual subpar round.
Chances are you are somewhere around the green with your second shot, requiring a pitch or a chip which may or may not result in a duff or a thinned effort that rockets across the green with enough ferocity to kneecap your playing partners, or be good for at least five skips across that water hazard to the back of the green. Sound familiar?
Okay so I may be a little harsh, but the fact remains that for the most of us our games lie somewhere in between these two extremes. We have days when it all comes together and days which require a lot more of our patience. Golf is hard. That is why we love it, however let’s face facts the time has come and legitimately so, to seriously consider bifurcation.
As we have seen with the introduction of the ban on anchoring coming into effect in 2016, some pros fear it is seriously going to affect their livelihoods, and they have a valid point, so do those who state it eliminates nerves coming down the stretch and offers an unfair advantage by taking the hands out of the stroke. There will inevitably be court cases, such is the nature of our society. The governing bodies fear that anchoring is going to spread through the game, banning it at pro level would go a long way in stemming in its popularity (how many of us have at least one white driver?) The point being there really isn't a need to ban anchoring at amateur level, we do not play for millions of dollars each week, and we do not earn our living playing golf. The percentage of people who actually anchor at amateur level is miniscule and in reality it’s the same on tour. Had the last few majors not been won by those wielding the elongated weapon I doubt the issue would have arisen at all. It’s not all that long ago that the use of the long putter was seen as the last reserve of those whose putting had gone, a signal that his days of winning were behind him and he was finally willing, having tried everything else, to resort to the long putter.
The ban on anchoring is not the biggest issue that faces the governing bodies, the golf ball is. It is safe to say that because of the ball classic courses around the globe have had to have length added to them, Augusta and St .Andrews among them. Pros are now hitting mid irons for their second shots into par 5s, in some cases less. Par 4s which are the staple of any course, if they are not being driven are being reduced to a drive and a wedge and not a pitching wedge but one of loft that is far less.
The great courses were designed to test all aspects of the game, the long par 4 to require a good drive and a long iron approach, mid length to test mid iron approaches, par 5s to test wood play or execute strategy. This has disappeared from the pro game. The ball coupled with large headed drivers when placed in the hands of the skilled professional who can maximise and utilise their potential is widening the divide between the pro and the amateur game. Classic courses have now been stretched to their limits, and newly built courses if not in excess of 7000 yards run the risk of being labelled obsolete. I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine whom I play quiet a lot of golf with, we were discussing a recent club competition that had been played from the green tees on our course ( the greens being the furthest forward of the male tees, the course measures over 7,200 yards from the tips). My friend was trying to say that the winning score was somehow denigrated by the fact that the competition had been played off the green tees, suggesting that it was not a suffecient test. Whether we play from the back or the front tees shots still have to be hit and golf still has to be played.
Elk, Sevam1, and Jackie burke discuss pitching the golf ball