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Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2003, 03:07:23 PM »
EXCERPTS FROM THE "TEE IT DOWN" DINNER

Last year at the U.S. Open at Southern Hills in Tulsa, I had the privilege to be included in an informal discussion at a private dinner hosted by the USGA. The discussion turned on how traditional championship courses could stand up against the onslaught of ball and implement technology. Thus I now report to you a proposal made by Peter Dawson, Secretary of the R & A, at that time with which I concur.
"There's one sure way to level the playing field of golf," the Wise Man said." And that is to take away the current artificiality. You don't have to ban any new technology. You don't require the player to give up his preferred ball with its hexogumple dimples and its hoxadymonic flight pattern. You don't even have to fight a patent. The only patent pertaining to my subject has long expired. "We also have a long-standing tradition on which to base our decision. It's called playing the ball as it lies," Mr. Dawson reminds us.
So colleagues, here's the plan: we ban the tee from the tee.
Each club player will be allowed to roll his ball around on that area, praying that he finds a tuft of something, or a worm-cast, or a acorn-cup or whatever, while our job will be to ensure that each tee is properly constructed to be tightly cut and as smooth and fine as any eleven stimp-measured green. But during club medals or other championships, the rule would be simple. Drop the ball between and behind the markers and play it from where it comes to rest.
There will be one new etiquette standard, and that shall be all. A player who scuffs the teeing area will be required to make repairs from available sod and sand to ensure the area is left as pristine as we presently leave bunkers and greens. With that then let the best player find some way to fly the ball with a 7.5 degree light-alloy, bigheaded driver three hundred and thirty-three yards through the air.
And for my fellow golf course architects in the audience we shall have a role to play in all of this. Up until now most of you have been moving bunkers on the fairway wings forward from two hundred and sixty yards out into the high two eighties. Now I want you to consider placing sizable bunkers with significant lips, and very soft, powdery sand, say about fifty to one hundred yards or so from the championship tees as Donald Ross once implemented.
I see some of you grimacing, no doubt thinking that this change will only service to take the driver out of the hands of highly-skilled exponents of golf; and that they will simply use a 3-wood to get ample distance, the way young Tiger Woods has done in order to master holes such as that tough, dogleg 13th at Augusta National with a high sweeping hook. Perhaps therefore I have not been sufficiently explicit in the proposal.
What I heard is exactly the opposite: the driver will still be obligatory for everyone on the par fours and fives. The only other option permitted will be the wedge. Draconian, did I hear someone murmur? Perhaps, but you see we have sat around for long enough doing nothing while that was always the constant complaint. No, we have waited for far too long while technology crept up on us and turned golf on its ear. Now it is impossible to turn back the clock, and we are stuck with lawsuits by manufacturers, and how resistance to change is bad for the game and on and on.
Nevertheless, now we can do something and something very positive, even though it too will cause some measure of resentment. Still, that's the way things have always been with golf, ever since Old Tom Morris or even before his time.
Our own historian Geoff Cornish, and some older members of the audience will probably recall reading about the acrimonious feud between featherie ball maker Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris. It was so contentious that Old Tom moved his club-making and teaching business across the entire width of Scotland from St Andrews to Prestwick. Morris favored the new guttie ball, a product that would have put Robertson out of business had he not been decent enough to die first. That ball changed golf, and most say for the better, and perhaps that is hard to dispute because the easier, cheaper guttie attracted many more players to the game.
But fifty years later, the next-generation ball - that bouncing, bounding Haskell - was not viewed by top professional players as an improvement. The great Harry Vardon, after his first test, stated the new ball would make the game too simple and particularly decried the loss of one skill. "Playing the guttie into a tough headwind," Vardon wrote, "has always been the toughest shot in the game. Learning to strike down hard on the ball to ensure it does not bellow up and finish behind you was an art. Sadly this new ball has taken all the risk out of that shot." Thus the sand patty tee mound became more in vogue to help get the new ball get airborne. [Subsequently Vardon, the most talented player of his era accepted a lucrative tour of the United States to promote this new ball.]
Innovations, good and bad, were arriving thick and fast at the end of the nineteenth century. Among them the original greens mower provided the first consistently maintained putting surfaces. Dr. George Franklin Grant, graduate of the Harvard School of Dentistry, class of 1870, spent most of his nineteen-nineties leisure time on the recently imported fad of golf. Perhaps he was a persnickety fellow accustomed to permanently clean hands. Whatever the reason, he tired of making mud-pie tees from damp sand, he returned to his study and invented golf's first artificial aid.
Patent 638,920 was granted in 1899, a ball-perch around two inches tall, a folding rubber top on an upright stem. An immediate success? Not at all. Grant died in 1910, his tee-up idea shelved a decade earlier from lack of general interest.
The tee-it-up business and dentistry would appear to have no obvious connection, but the next and considerably more successful attempt to put the golf ball on an artificial pedestal was the brainchild of yet another American dentist, Dr. William Lowell from Maplewood, New Jersey.
Lowell first experimented with gutta percha, the material used to produce the rubber "guttie" ball but found the material too brittle. Local birch-wood proved more durable and he painted his trial batch green. Wrong! Red turned out to be the color that caught on and in no time at all "Reddy Tees" became a vogue. Walter Hagen helped the cause when he accepted a healthy fee from the inventor to publicize the product. Unlike Grant, or perhaps because Grant's patent was still viable, Lowell failed to register his product. Soon the burgeoning golf-market was flooded with imitations.

--------remainder of speech in next post---------
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2003, 03:08:11 PM »
-------------remainder of speech-------------


The artificial peg itself would change very little in the next eighty years, outlasting hickory shafts, the stymie, leather wraparound grips, the British ban on center-shafted putters, persimmon drivers, golf hats and shirts without logos, and yellow, bell-bottom pants. So please, if you will, concentrate on that word, artificial. Because that is what a tee is, an artifice, a ploy to simplify the game, a scam invented by a high-handicap player to help get the ball in the air. Golf, my friends, should properly be played from the ground to the ground into the ground.
Here's a bit of history. The "T" is an ancient Egyptian surveyors' mark, set in the ground, meaning 'begin here,' in the direction of the stem of the "T". But begin what? A pyramid? Or begin playing the Royal and Really Ancient game?
To my knowledge, only two entrepreneurial types made personal fortunes from tee-related matters. Naturally one was a frugal Scot, Hamish MacFadgen, who invented the woolie-bobble. The bobble, a sort of sporran tassel but made from knitting wool of various colors, was attached by a piece of tough thread, about a foot in length, to the tee-stem.
"Aye, I know it costs sixpence when the tee only costs thruupence. But you'll only need ane o'each in a lifetime of golf," he'd tell his parsimonious clients.
MacFadgen woolie-bobbles sold in millions until Grandma Gourlie discovered, much by accident, that bobbles were easily and cheaply made at home simply by means of twisting and knotting excess knitting yarn and so ended MacFadgen's fortune.
The sprawling British Empire introduced the game of golf to India long before it reached New York and Jamil "Pindle" Singh so nicknamed for the paucity of his drives also made a small fortune from the game. Aware that the ownership of a tiger's tooth was considered one of the most significant of all good-luck charms in his native land, he inventively added superstition to his sales pitch. Boring a small hole in each large tiger-tooth, he threaded a small wire through the hole and attached the other end to a wooden tee; a ploy by which he persuaded gullible clients that they could always find their tee and have good fortune at the same time. Such aids are now but a footnote in the litany of golfing memorabilia, while the artificial tee lives dangerously on. It is time to kill it before it kills the classic courses we know and love.
Of course there will be a minority who say we are changing the nature of the game by limiting freedom of choice. Yet, in modern times, we have most certainly done this before. Name me one golf course where a player, whether professional or amateur, is allowed to use any club other than a putter on the greens? Yet once upon a time the tee-off area was from just alongside the previous hole, and there was small difference to be noted.
I see a smirk over there. You, Sir - are you one of the Mulligan-types or perhaps an all season "winter rules" nudger? Of course there will be surreptitious rascals who will sneak wooden tees onto the course. But to quote a better source than anyone in this room, those fellows are simply not playing the same game as the rest of us. So be it. For the vast majority the game is simple. The USGA and the R&A set the Rules - we honor them.
We have choices now being forced upon us as rapidly as the Industrial Revolution forced unremitting change upon the 19th century. For us to simply sit back and do nothing will ultimately result in a routine of nine thousand yard golf courses, and what will be the point of that? To prove professional golfers play a different game from the rest of us? To defend Par as some sort of gesture to tradition? To humble those of us who from time to time would like to play the back tees?
Finally, we have Big Bertha and the little ball. Those who swing ever larger-headed drivers will set the ball upon even higher pegs. Today's young college limberbacks are already swinging from their heels every time because the physical properties of the medal driver have overcome Hogan's fear of the hook with his persimmon woods. But drop the ball on the ground and the large trampolined sweet spot will physically be above the ball as it lies and therefore useless. Get to the root cause and the new equipment will revert automatically to its former size.
And for all you architects who like to crack eggs to make fresh omelets, you will have plenty of design work to do. For example, you could even design, as Tom Fazio did, a "teeless" golf course like the short 10-hole replica course at Pine Valley. Let your imagination be your guide to help save the game.
Ladies and gentlemen, one simple decision today can change golf forever, for the good of all.
Ban the artificial tee from the game and do it now!

Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
as presented to the American Society of
Golf Course Architects annual meeting
Santa Barbara, California
April 28, 2002
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2003, 03:20:54 PM »
Jim -- Thanks for posting that. Now, maybe, it will make more (or less) sense to all.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
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RSLivingston_III

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2003, 03:35:13 PM »
Here's a picture of the reddy tee...if I did it right.
<img>http://images.andale.com/f2/115/106/3725924/1048112209075_reddytee.jpg<img/
>
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"You need to start with the hickories as I truly believe it is hard to get inside the mind of the great architects from days gone by if one doesn't have any sense of how the equipment played way back when!"  
       Our Fearless Leader

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2003, 03:47:18 PM »
Here you go hickory
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

David Lott

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Change the Teeing Ground
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2003, 08:23:44 PM »
You could take this further. The separate teeing ground is also a modern inovation. Require the teeing point to be no more than two club lengths from the previous hole. This would enable courses to be put on less land, thus permitting larger lots for collateral housing developments.

Did the tee really appear first in 1950's? If so, I have funny looking wooden pegs from the 1920's that must have been used for easter egg displays after all.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
David Lott

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2003, 09:14:23 PM »
Davidslott -- First, the wooden tee firstly appeared well before 1950, as many have pointed out. My point was that the wooden tee became widespread around that time, i.e., we no longer saw any deviation from its use and golfers became 100% conditioned to its use on the tee.

I like the idea of the two club length rule coming back, but we might lessen the capacity of our courses and lose a few golfers in the process. These are not featheries anymore!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

David Lott

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Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2003, 09:15:58 AM »
Mr. Richardson:

I started playing golf in the mid 1950's, at the behest of my father who had started in the 1920's. My dad was the kind of guy who mourned the demise of the stymie rule, which of course he had grown up with, but I never heard him complain that the wooden (in the 50's sometimes plastic) tee was any kind of desecration of the game. Like me, my father was an enthusiastic golfer of moderate skill whose summer was made happy if he broke 80 once or twice. He knew the rules and played by them, but he wasn't the Hawk or the Slammer, just like I'm not Tiger or Ernie.

Which is to say that we need all the help we can get, from tees to titanium. Change the rules for the big guys if you want, but at age 60 I'm happy to still able to reach 400+ par fours in two (sometimes) because of equipment improvements.

In essence, the equipment debate is a lot like Martha Burk's assault on Augusta National's membership requirements. It's an issue for an elite, which doesn't mean a whole lot to us mid-handicappers.

My dad didn't play hickory after True Temper came along. The stymie man, who died mid round at age 49, would have loved the new stuff.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
David Lott

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2003, 04:32:23 PM »
I am a believer in equipment. It is, after all, what attracts many people to golf and gives young people a thrill -- that new driver, etc. But I also believe we need to roll back a fel items. Balls would be one logical choice. But, I also like Bobby's idea about the tee -- it makes a great deal of sense in many ways.

Whether 1950. 1895. 1920. Whatever. The tee is a rather recent implement that has no close relation to the origins of golf. It is an artificial device, even as pure and simple as it seems. Without it we could equalize golf quite nicely -- you and I could continue to use it while others would be prohibited.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

David Lott

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Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2003, 05:39:52 PM »
Yes, and we could play 12 hole courses, or 22, or feathery balls, or gutta percha, or be allowed 25 clubs, or 34, etc, etc. Everything evolves, golf included, and one of the beauties of golf is that its evolution has been inclusive--more courses, better equipment for the average Joe and Joette, more pro tours, more amateur play, more international play, television, better grasses, better agronomic techniques, spikeless shoes, architetectural innovation (some good and some bad). The best of golf will always endure--the personal responsibility for your own game, the worry and the tension, the joy of a great shot, the inevitability of the screw up, the humor, the sense of fairness and sportsmanship. The idea of eliminating the artificial tee, a habit now so completely imbued that only worshipers of an arcane past would think of it, let alone seriously consider its elimination, will never fly.

Enough said. Enjoy your day.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
David Lott

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2003, 10:28:56 PM »
I'm not certain that abolishing the wooden artificial man-made factory produced consistently shaped tee is all that much different that the crisply manicured nail-clipper precision edge at the perimeter of bunkers being abolished.

If bunkers can now go back to the natural rough edges of old natural links maybe the teeing ground and the technology associated with it can as well.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

RJ_Daley

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Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2003, 11:21:52 PM »
MOst of the pros and highly competitive amatuer players can hit 3 woods off the deck 250-280 with 3 woods.  I have little doubt that if guys on the tour were forced to drop it and hit it from the tees, a new driver, longer than a 3-wood and with suitably shafted kick point than the 3-wood, with a sole waited head would be developed whereby the big boys could still hit it 300 yards, particularly if the ball manufacturers and club manufacturers set themselves to go full steam ahead in new R&D.  Secondly, I am not sure how much bigger the teeing grounds would have to get to accomodate the extra beating they would receive over a season.  And, for competitive rounds, what do we tell those dropping on the tee at the end of the pairing sheets with the last tee-offs of the day when they can't get anywhere near as favorable of a lie on the beaten up turf?

Once a few years pass by, with the R&D wizzardry that ball and implement manufacturers would apply, if unrestrained, we would be right back to the same situation calling for them to reign in the advancement of balls and impliments.  

But, I do like the idea as a sort of quaint game that we could play among friends within our foursomes and such.  I'd love to agree to play a drop it on the tee and hit it as it lies game from the member tees, or generally on courses playing around 6200-6500 yards.  I think it might actually improve my wayward game. ;D ::)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

A_Clay_Man

Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2003, 05:13:31 AM »
As Dick points out this seems like a solution that will have minimal impact on exactly what it is they want to accomplish. It strikes me as funny that these esteemed individuals think that this simple cure will work. Acheem's razor aside, this will only increase maintenance costs and will not stop talent from being raised to the top. Besides, who thinks a bunch of lazy cart driving goofballs will make the teeing ground as pristine as when they found it? That would be like expecting rpud to explain his position with insight, tact and reason. :o
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

ForkaB

Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2003, 07:12:14 AM »
I have observed many very good golfers on the 1st tee who, due to the excesses of the night before and being incapable of bending over to place a tee in the ground, say "f**k it", drop a ball and stripe it straight down the middle.

This is a good idea, but it will severely disadvantage the incompetent and the sober.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Abolish the Wooden Tee!
« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2003, 08:47:10 PM »
Before thisn topic is lost forever -- can the decent-thinking posters please give me 10 honest-to-good ideas? I'd like very much to collect these for my scrap book.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

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