Purple Tee's At Overlake

The idea for the Purple Tee’s at Overlake Golf & Country Club came out of a committee meeting last year when one of our members who liked the idea of a shorter course came to the meeting prepared with some information about the Tee it Forward initiative and some of their recommended yardages for players of varying abilities. It was met with some skepticism and indifference, as many golfers don’t like to do anything that would give the perception of making the course easier, but we wanted to at least look into it as it was sincerely brought up to help both older members and younger members enjoy the game.

We ended up putting a small purple plaque in the fairway to use as the tee marker and decided to create a purple course and also a combo purple/gold course that could be played by anyone who wanted to play a shorter course. We decided to call it the Lil' Husky Course because purple and gold are the colors of the University of Washington which is across the bridge from us and their golf teams practice here, and many of our members are UW alumni. So far there has been minimal cost, our club president personally paid for the plaques.

One of our older members said that she was close to quitting golf completely because in her last round from the gold tees she hit over 50 5 woods in one round and was physically and mentally exhausted after a round of golf. When she played from the purple tees she hit fewer than 20 5 woods and enjoyed golf for the first time in a long time. She brought some of her friends out for a purple tee tournament. The field consisted of women members many of whom had dropped their golf membership because the course had become too long to enjoy. The Junior Golf program has used the purple tees as well and the men have been talking about possibly having a par 3 tournament playing the purple tees. I even went out last night and played a few holes from the purple tees, just because I knew I could get more holes in playing from the short tees, and get some nice short game practice.

The course yardage being discussed was 3000 yards, which seemed extremely short and I was having trouble even visualizing what that would look like. So I just did some math divided 3000 by 5223 which is our current gold (forward) tee yardage, then took each hole and multiplied each hole's forward tee yardage by the result of .57. What I came up with was holes ranging from 55 yards up to 250 yards. I went out on the course and couldn't believe how short these holes were, many of them were even with or ahead of the fairway bunkers, but as I looked at more of them I started thinking that these would be neat par 3's. So in the end it’s a 3000 yard purple course and a 4116 yard combo course which is a combo of the gold and purple tees. The arrows on the card tell you which tee to play on each hole. Both courses have been rated by the Washington State Golf Association for handicapping purposes.

We will see what kind of use they get over the next year, which will be their first full season, but so far they have been well received and seem to very successful.

Cory Brown has been an Assistant Superintendent for over 10 years, the last 5 of which have been spent at Overlake Golf and Country Club, in Medina, Washington.


Keep us posted, I'd be interested in how this works out.

How did you figure out the combo course tees to use?


It was nothing to scientific on the combo tees.  We just figured it out to get a good mix of holes, but mostly we wanted the yardage to be right in between the gold and purple tee yardage.