Last month I applauded the “Play it forward” initiative backed by the USGA and other golf industry organizations. Then I run across an article that discusses how the golf course hosting the United States Amateur will be the longest in history at 7,760 yards. So what kind of message does that send? Certainly seems to be at odds with the thinking that most golfers are playing from the wrong set of tees. Besides, the amateur is a match play event, why should distance and par even matter.
I’m confused. Our protectors of the game say if people played from a shorter distance they would enjoy the experience much more and play more. More enjoyment, more players. Sounds logical. So why would you then go completely opposite your initiative when showcasing your premier events. The USGA has always operated on the premise that in golf everyone plays the same way, from professionals to weekend warriors. It is appealing to think that you can go to Pebble Beach and hit from the same spots where Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer played. That’s because even they played from yardages that most people could handle. By telling the average guy to move up while moving the very few farther back is nothing more than do as I say, not as I do. I’m not sure it is the right message to send.