By Mike Stevens

A sane person would never tackle a black slope on their first venture on a snow-packed mountain when skiing, although I have seen several broken appendages proving me otherwise. Remember, I said a sane person. Generally, one starts on the bunny hill to get a feel for the stance and posture and how to turn and stop without crashing. Then, maybe something a little more exciting, but it might be months before attempting a black. Ski slopes are set up to allow a progression, and the industry promotes learning in that manner. Instructors would never take an inexperienced person to an advanced run right off the bat.

I wish golf took the same approach. It would be so easy to have a short course within a course and designate a plan for new golfers to progress to so-called championship lengths. I have seen a couple of courses do this, but it is not something pushed at the industry level. Instead of all the new golf initiatives formulated each year to grow the game, we should concentrate on helping the individual progress in smaller steps. Tee it forward was a good idea, but meant for experienced golfers. If I were running a course, I would have 18 tee boxes within the course with a maximum distance 175 yards. Then, I would have new golfers play from there with a target score to achieve before they could move back to a farther length. I believe newbies would enjoy it more and feel a sense of accomplishment once they graduated to a regulation length course.
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