Every year I organize a trip for members to get out of Dodge and play golf in a warmer climate during what is typically our coldest and wettest time of the year. This past year I started a new tradition when I got together with 3 of the pros from the other country clubs in our area (Del Rio, Spring Creek, and Turlock), who were doing something similar at their club, and we combined the individual trips into one big trip and mixed in a little friendly competition between the clubs to help build camaraderie. We called it the Pineapple Bowl and a couple of weeks ago Oakdale brought home the crystal during the 2nd Annual competition with a three stroke win over Spring Creek, the next closest club.
It was during this event, however, that I was reminded of something that really highlighted one of the more hot-button issues we have here at OGCC at the moment. Which set of tees should you be playing from? Whether it is the men or ladies out here at the club there is more than a little confusion/disagreement over what tees each of the groups and individuals should be playing from on a regular basis. The men are often divided on whether or not they should more often be playing/competing from the either the blues or the whites and the ladies conversation is centered on the merits of the whites vs. the reds. There are cogent arguments on both sides of the equation and due to this fact it is no small wonder that we have seen such a huge rise in popularity for the combo tees among both groups.
Oakdale Golf & Country Club is a beautiful, but exceedingly difficult golf course that plays much longer than the posted yardage under most conditions. It is no secret that much of the year we get little roll off the tee and this is not solely due to the dampness of the fairways, but also the fact that you are typically either hitting from elevation, or into fairways that slope upward. This leaves you typically hitting longer clubs (if you can get there) into the smallest, fastest, most crowned greens this side of Pinehurst #2. Every pin more than 15 feet off-center is essentially a sucker pin as a ball landed near it will more than likely roll off the side or the back and down the slope leaving you short-sided once again with about as much chance of getting up and down as we have of getting any significant rain in the valley anytime soon.
This spring we are again poised to host the California State Amateur Qualifier. Not many people know this, but the last time it was held here, out of 120 competitors we posted the highest average score, 83.7, of any of the 6 qualifying sites in the state. These sites included the Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, host to 3 U.S. Opens and many other high level professional and amateur events. These are gentlemen who must have an established USGA index of 1.6 or lower to even sign up, so they’re no slouch golfers, and when they descend upon our humble links again this spring I expect this time around to be little different.
All this brings me back to the discussion of which tees you should play. When we won the Pineapple Bowl a couple of weeks ago it was due to the fact that many of our players played some of their best golf ever (one of our ladies had a career low 76!) and part of the reason for that was the fact that we played from tees and on a course that played much shorter than we typically do at OGCC. Did it make those rounds feel any less good for those that shot them? Absolutely not, and I hear the same thing pretty much every year when we go away and play other courses where the yardage is appropriate for the difficulty of the course. Most everyone plays better than usual and enjoys themselves much more in the process.
So how do you know which set of tees to play from? The formula for that is very simple. Play the set of tees that will allow you to hit the vast majority (preferably all) of the greens in regulation if you hit reasonably good shots for your given ability. Not the best shots you’ve ever hit, but the average type of good shot that you would hit many times during a given round. After all, it’s a lot more fun to put for birdies and pars than it is for bogeys and doubles and it’s amazing how much more fun it is to break 80 or 90, rather than 100 or 110 and you will be amazed at how little you will care what the yardage is at the tees you shot those numbers from once you actually shoot them. It’s about having fun, so why not play your best golf ever, and don’t make OGCC any harder than it already is by playing from a set of tees that will allow you to do just that. See you on the links,