For the first couple of holes, I thought the rocks at the start of the fairway was a directional guide for the best way to approach the green.

Then I realized I don’t know where the heck the ball is going and most amateur golfers have the same affliction so what good would something like that do.

About the 13th hole or so at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix I finally got close enough to one of the rocks and realized I was aiming at something that wasn’t a directional at all, but a great idea that encourages youngsters to play game.

The Raven features Family Tees, which make the course a more reasonable yardage for new and/or young golfers.

It plays at about 4,000 yards and is perfect for someone like my daughter.

She went through a great one week intro golf class in June. She loved it but then I was like how does she go from the range to playing on the course. She’s just 5 so long holes would be akin to me playing on a 1,000-yard hole.

But these family tees are a nice option. I haven’t taken her out yet because the heat as been so stifling, but I plan to do so when the temps get closer to my usual mid-90s score.

The family scorecard has holes three holes under 125 yards, seven under 200 and only four more than 300 yards.

Intrigued I asked Kris Strauss, who is the OB Sports Vice President of Sales and Marketing, about it and his explanation made complete sense.

Would you send a first-time snow skier down the most difficult hill, you know the one named something like The Black Diamond, instead of starting them out on the bunny slope?

Only if the insurance premiums are paid up.

OB Sports, which manages and/or consults with the Raven and 16 other courses in Arizona that also have the Family Tees, did research and found out that most new golfers (kids and women mostly) have a club head speed less than 65 mph whereas a most amateurs are near 100 and the typical pro is at about 115 to 120 mph.

“So it really is unfair to ask beginners to play at the same distance,” Strauss said. “It essentially creates a bunny slope for golfers.”

The Family Tees were created and made available at most of their courses, which also includes Longbow in Mesa and Eagle Mountain in Fountain Hills.

I think it is a terrific idea and I hope to take advantage of it soon. Not only can my daughter apply what she learned on a hole more her size without being intimidated, my wife keeps promising me she will take up golf at some point and it would be a great starting place for her as well.

And it is pretty clear that I could use the practice on my irons (along with my driver, short game and cart driving skills or anything else involved with golf) so it quickly becomes a great place to work on your own game.

The Family Tees lessen the problem of having beginners getting frustrated (to a point as it is golf for goodness sake) and maybe sour on the game forever by making the course- and positive reinforcement – more accessible.

So tee it up, just don’t use the rocks in the fairway as a guide. Make it a starting point for you and your loved ones.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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