Category: Tee It Forward

February 28, 2013

President Obama's Florida golf outing with Tiger Woods proves costly

Posted at 6:24 PM by

Obama-golf_300Tiger Woods and President Obama recently enjoyed a round at the Floridian, an upscale course in Palm City, Fla.

And it was costly.

Members of the course pay a $50,000 initiation fee and $15,000 in annual dues, according to Melissa Holsman of An hour with swing coach Butch Harmon at his on-site learning center sets you back another $3,000. But that total still falls short of what it cost just to protect the President while he enjoyed his eighteen holes with the world's No. 2 player.

The total bill for local law enforcement during the golf getaway was $78,205, according to

St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office sourced the majority of the work with over 100 officers manning access gates and sixteen holes on the course.

Eighty-two deputies and a civilian vehicle maintenance employee worked at various times at a cost of $58,452.21 in salaries, sheriff’s officials said. St. Lucie County deputies handled security issues for 16 golf holes and access gates.

About 30 Martin deputies worked throughout the golf outing, at a salary cost of $17,452.92, with a majority going to overtime pay.

Port St. Lucie police spent $2,300 for a sergeant and six officers, with the bulk of the cost for overtime. Port St. Lucie officers provided traffic control for the presidential motorcade from Florida’s Turnpike on Becker Road to Gilson Road.

But no one was complaining about the charges, at least publicly.

"We don't resent doing this," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said. "This is part of what we do. He's the president of the United States of America. It was our obligation to provide the security necessary for the president of the United States."

Tiger might have felt an obligation to even the playing field during his round with the President last week.

On Wednesday at a pro-am during the Honda Classic, Woods said he played a $5 Nassau during his round with the President against Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

The catch? Woods had to tee-off from the "Tee III," which measures 906 total yards shorter than the 7,114 yard Tee I.

Bob Harig of noted it was Woods' personal "Tee It Forward" gesture, an idea currently promoted by the USGA to quicken pace of play. Woods also said the bet included hitting driver even on the shortened holes. Even though the change in tees significantly reduces the yardage of the top two handicapped holes, No. 9 and 18, by almost 80 yards each, Woods said the change in distance didn't always translate into better results.

"It's not that easy," he said. "There's nowhere to hit it from up there. The fairways get narrower and the holes bend."

His match with Obama was the first of two highly-publicized exhibition matches for Woods this month, with the second coming last Sunday against world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.

But it's doubtful the top two players in the world played from anything other than the championship tees.

(Photo: President Obama on a golf course in Hawaii on Dec. 31, 2009. Chris Carlson/AP)

July 04, 2011

Point/Counterpoint: The USGA and PGA of America's Tee It Forward Program

Posted at 2:29 PM by

The USGA and PGA of America's Tee It Forward program begins at courses around the country on July 5. The program encourages players to play from a more forward set of tees so they can shoot lower scores, play faster and have more fun. The Tee It Foward recommendations are that if you drive the ball 275 yards, you should play courses from 6,700 yards to 6,900 yard long. If you drive it 250 yards, then you should play from 6,200 yards to 6,400 yards and if you drive it 200 yards you should play from 5,200-5,400 yards. What do you think of the program?

CHARLIE HANGER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, GOLF.COM: I like it. Any organized initiative that will help speed up play can’t be a bad thing. How many times have you marched to that back tee with your foursome out of sheer macho grandstanding, knowing full well that no one in the group, yourself included, should really be back there? Let’s admit it – most golf courses are already too damn hard for us, and we don’t need to work to make them any harder.

MIKE WALKER, SENIOR EDITOR, GOLF MAGAZINE: I don't like playing tees that put long par 4s out of reach either, but this program rubs me the wrong way. It comes across condescending, like the snooty private club member looking down his nose at the muni guy in cargo shots. People understand that playing from shorter tees would be easier, but they're choosing to challenge themselves. Do they think we're idiots?

HANGER: That’s a valid point, but I think that’s a harsh interpretation. They’re not saying you can never play the back tees, or that you don’t know what you’re doing. All they’re suggesting is that you try it for a couple of weeks. If you have more fun and speed up play at your home course, you might stick with it. If it doesn’t work, no harm done. I do think the idea has some intriguing angles. Making holes shorter has the obvious benefit of leaving players with shorter irons into greens -- an 8-iron is easier to get on the green than a 5-iron or hybrid. But shorter holes would also be liberating because you wouldn’t always have to hit driver. Maybe you love your 5-iron but spray your driver. Now you can get to 5-iron distance with a hybrid or 3-wood.

WALKER: OK, maybe the folks at the USGA and the PGA of America don't mean to be insulting, but look at the distances involved. According to the PGA Tour's ShotLink, the average driving distance for a 5-15 handicapper is 217 yards and Tee It Forward recommends playing a course at about 5,700 yards for that driving distance. C'mon, with today's equipment, that's not golf, it's pitch and putt.

HANGER: Averages can be misleading, and handicap seems beside the point. A 5-handicapper might hit driver 200 yards and play in yesterday’s divots, and a 15-handicapper might drive it 275 and skull every iron shot. These guys probably aren’t playing the same tees now, and they’d probably both benefit from moving up a tee box.

WALKER: We won't agree on the tees so let's get to the larger issue. Is this going to help grow the game? Or to put a finer point on it: are fewer people playing golf because it's too hard?

HANGER: I don’t think it will help grow the game, but this idea, and other creative ways to speed up play, might help keep golfers from quitting. I don’t think anyone’s going to start playing golf because everyone’s moving up a tee, but some frustrated golfers might stick around if pace improves and scores come down.

WALKER: OK, OK. I'll play you from 5,200 yards and pretend I'm Dustin Johnson. I still want 3 stokes a side though.

HANGER: At that distance, it might slow me down -- I'd have to wait for the greens to clear on par 4s before I could hit the driver!

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