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By Design


n 2011, golf course architect Jan

Bel Jan, ASGCA, inaugurated the

concept of ‘scoring tees’ for Green

Valley Country Club in Greenville,

South Carolina. The concept opens

the game to a much wider group of

participants by creating age, gender

and skill neutral tees. In 2015, Bel Jan

expanded the concept at Pelican’s

Nest Golf Club in Bonita Springs,

Florida, by using on-site fill generated

during the renovation of the club’s

Hurricane Course to add scoring tees.

She now finds herself with a growing

list of golf club clients wanting to

adopt this successful concept. We

spoke with Jan to find out more.

Tell us about ‘scoring tees’

Everybody wants to score better—

that’s how I came up with the name

‘scoring tees.’

When a new golf course is designed,

it’s usually done with the excellent

player in mind, players who have

faster swing speed and thus can hit

the ball farther. Such designs begin

with the back or tournament tees

and continue with other tees farther

forward to accommodate golfers with

moderate to average swing speeds,

including men and women.

In addition to designing better

courses for these traditional classes of

golfers, I wondered why we couldn’t

do something more for players with

slower clubhead speeds. There have

been calls for the usual modified golf

courses—whether they be three holes,

six holes, nine holes, etc.—to keep

people in the game and as a way to

introduce new players. Few clubs have

the resources to build such stand-

alone courses; however, many clubs

can afford to introduce ‘scoring tees’

to give themselves a more playable

‘course within a course.’

What are the principle purposes of

scoring tees?

First, to provide golf holes and a

golf course that golfers with slower

swing speeds can play and enjoy. To

accomplish this, we locate scoring tees

forward of existing tees and in such

a way that penal hazards are either

eliminated or can be managed more

easily. Immediate advantages of using

scoring tees are that golfers will have

more fun and enjoy faster play. If we

can make it possible for players with

slower clubhead speeds to have more

success getting on greens in regulation,

we have the opportunity to keep them

in the game, and this, in turn, will keep

members and memberships healthy.

Chris Sheehan, director of golf at

Pelican’s Nest, tells a story about when

he worked with Craig Harmon, son

of the legendary Claude Harmon. His

sons all teed up at the tips and then

Claude marched farther forward. They

protested “What are you doing, Dad?

We’re all playing from back here,” and

he said: “Boys, I’ve hit fairways and

greens my whole life.

This is my tee

. This

is where I play from today.” Claude

Harmon won the Masters Tournament

in 1948 and his short game was still

world-class. He was not too proud,

however, to advance to a forward tee

when playing against his long-hitting

sons. Neither should you be.

Second, scoring tees can also be used

profitably by even the best players

in the club. If you look at collegiate

golf, many coaches have their teams

play from the most forward set of

markers at least once a week. Why?

Because it helps team members learn

better course management and how to

hone a better short game as well as to

gain confidence in scoring low. On a

shorter hole where low handicappers

will not need to hit a driver, they must

think about which club to use from the



Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA

Scoring for all


By Design

speaks with the newest member of the ASGCA Executive

Committee, Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA, to find out more about her scoring tees

concept and how it can benefit all golfers—from novice to professional

If we can make it possible for players with slower clubhead

speeds to

have more success

getting on greens in

regulation, we have the opportunity to keep them in the game