Proper Practice Tee Usage

I believe the practice area is opening this week so it is a perfect time to create this post. I have been sitting on the idea of a post covering the proper way to practice ever since Matt Lombard, asst. pro, sent me a text message this winter with a picture of how NOT to practice. He was using the range at Bears Paw where he worked this off-season and the person on the side of him was carving a nice patch. I may have been a bit hard on Matt for doing this, but maybe not since he remembered and sent the text to double check.

Matt's picture. Incorrect method of taking divots
We spend as much time, use as much divot mix and seed on the practice tee as we do all the other tees combined. Our tee is grossly undersized and is a royal pain. How we do not spend half the season on mats is a testament to Kevin's diligence. The loss of the public driving range as well as unlimited ball memberships only adds to the small size and irons only issue. Anything we can do to ease the burden will benefit everyone. Shortly after Matt's text I read another Superintendent's blog where he posted a picture of an actual sign he had made demonstrating the right and wrong method:

one Super's attempts to educate. actual sign

Yesterday I watched a video from Dan Meersman, Director of Grounds, at the Philadelphia Cricket Club that really nails this topic. I saw the video while reading the blog of Michael Stachowicz of Dedham Country and Polo Club where he was covering this topic .

As practicing has gained in popularity the maintenance of range tees is becoming a hot topic. Many clubs are re-doing their practice areas incorporating short game areas and lengthening the distance to combat the new distance gained from ball and club technology. The size of the tee itself is also being increased as well as the addition of target greens. One look at the changes to the facilities at Farm Neck and Edgartown GC in the last few years demonstrates the increase in popularity of practicing and the demand for improved infrastructure. We, like many older clubs, are stuck with very little room for expansion either in length or width. We have to make due with what we have or think outside the box to come up with improvement solutions. Clearly we are not alone in trying to improve turf conditions on the practice tees and this is one more example of how you the golfer have the ability to make a difference.

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