Developed through a joint partnership with the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, the program helps golf course operators strategically expand existing tee complexes to make the game more accessible to a broader range of players. The initiative is modeled off the renovation of Longleaf Golf & Family Club in Pinehurst, N.C., where as many as seven tees per hole were added in 2016.
The American Society of Golf Course Architects Foundation has introduced the Longleaf Tee Initiative, a joint partnership with U.S. Kids Golf Foundation that helps golf course operators strategically expand existing tee complexes to increase rounds and improve pace of play.
The initiative is modeled off the renovation of Longleaf Golf & Family Club in Pinehurst, N.C., where it was introduced in 2016, with the assistance of Bill Bergin, ASGCA. The facility 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.
“This is no longer theory, it is proven data,” said Dan Van Horn, U.S. Kids Golf Foundation founder and owner of Longleaf Golf & Family Club. “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.”
Players learn which tees to use by first visiting the facility’s driving range, where they hit a few drives and follow distinct signage based on where the ball lands. “The charts and illustrations found in the pro shop, on the range, first tee and scorecard elevate this over other tee initiatives,” said Bergin. “It’s packaged in a way that encourages more players to play from the correct tees.”
The Longleaf Tee Initiative is not a “cookie cutter” program, the foundation noted—because 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 of U.S. Kids Golf. “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.”