By Becky Gee
Sex on the golf course? Really! In an age of equality isn’t it time players stop teeing it up based on their gender and start using the tee box which best suits their ability?
If your clubhouse is anything like the norm then it won’t be long before you hear the light-hearted grumblings of a male golfer, complaining that they’ve seen their chance for glory robbed in some competition or another by a female opponent who demands a 100-yard advantage off every tee.
The reality may be a little different, as the club’s female population will quickly attest.
Nonetheless, in an age of equality for all, doesn’t it seem a little old-fashioned to be designating tee boxes based on a golfer’s sex rather than their ability.
There’s plenty of talented female golfers who would prefer to test their game on tees akin to those they will face in a competitive environment.
Conversely labelling the forward tees female inevitably stigmatises them, warding off the club’s aging population who desperately need a few extra yards, or the budding junior who isn’t quite ready for the back tees.
The concept of assigning tees based on ability rather than gender is relatively common in the United States and is starting to gain traction back home. Sheringham Golf Club in Norfolk is among several clubs who have switched to gender-free tees in the past few years. The club has three sets of tees, all-rated for both men and women, as well as a short course, perfect for high-handicappers or junior golfers.
The idea is to encourage everyone to get out on the golf course, whether that be aspiring professionals or social golfers.
So, isn’t it time we did away with gendered tees altogether?
After all, if you pair Michelle Wie with a male 28 handicapper, you can be pretty sure who’s going to be hitting their second shot first.
Then again, isn’t there a reason the ladies’ tees are further forward? It’s not sexist to say that the average male golfer hits it further than the average female, it’s just fact.
The truth is that most ladies will continue to play from the forward tees, as the men will from the back tees, but giving players the option, rather than restricting them because of their gender, seems like a no-brainer.