Photos courtesy Malcom DeMille

CBD May Fix Your Golf Aches and Pains 

Scoring Tees Encourage More Golfers to Learn and Keep Older Golfers Playing

Kathy Bissell has more than 25 years experience as a golf writer and television producer.

Being a baby boomer, I grew up in the era of Make Love Not War, Flower Power and psychedelic painted VW busses. Strangely, I missed all the drugs.  What can I say. I was chicken. Plus, I’m crazy enough without that stuff. So, when all the talk of legal marijuana started, I was curious as to how it would work out.

   Turns out it’s big business.  So big that Constellation Brands, a large beverage company selling beer and wine, Altria (Marlboros), Molson Coors and Heineken have all taken stakes in “pot” companies, many of which are located in Canada where marijuana is now legal. If you watch a lot of CNBC, you know this already know. If you don’t, you’re now informed.
   The marijuana plant has two chemicals.  One, called THC, is the part that gets people high. The other, CBD, is a painkiller and an anti-inflammatory.
   Surprisingly, hemp, the plant that was grown for rope in the US in colonial times and during WWII when it was needed by the military, has the same painkilling and anti-inflammatory chemical as marijuana, but without the high. Hemp is mostly CBD and very little THC.
   Putting that together with the fact that we have thousands of people dying every year from overdosing on painkillers, I wondered if this CBD could be the painkiller people need. Since it’s now legal to grow hemp, is it safer and smarter to get CBD from hemp than marijuana?
   Many people have chronic pain. Probably millions have pain with chemotherapy.  Is there a chance this stuff could work?

   And, selfishly, I have sore knees from swimming and a repaired meniscus that gives me fits.  I don’t like taking lot of ibuprofen, which takes care of it, and for a while I couldn’t take any because I was on a blood thinner.  So, I wondered, could this stuff be the fix for my small, personal pain issue? 
   I didn’t expect to be able to find an answer any time soon, so I was pleasantly shocked to see two hemp-based CBD companies exhibiting at the PGA Show in Orlando last January.  (I mean, drugs at the PGA Show?) Well, I had to talk to them. I figured I’m not the only baby boomer with an ache.  But also, this might be something that is more important than my knees.
   One of the companies there manufactures their own CBD products from hemp grown on their own farms.  The second one sells CBD products manufactured by others, and they sell CBD wholesale which they grow.  
   Ben Dickerson is at MedTerra, which is located in Irvine, California. They grow their own hemp and manufacture their own products. Their hemp farm is in Kentucky.
  “We got involved because in 2014 the federal government was actually able to allow us to grow hemp for the ability to research it,” he explained. “What we learned was that it is very, very high in CBD.”
   Pretty soon, they were making products to kill pain from the CBD in hemp.
According to Dickerson, many people do not want to take anything that comes from marijuana. 
   “We’ve built a brand on trust, and that trust is ours is THC free,” Dickerson said. "There’s no chance you’re going to get high from this product.”

Dickerson said that USADA has approved CBD for use by athletes.

The Invention of Scoring Tees

   Jan Beljan is one of the few female members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, and she heads up Jan Bel Jan Golf Course Design. She’s now Secretary of the ASGCA. Before heading up her own firm, she worked under Tom Fazio.
   She’s done work for several courses creating what she calls Scoring Tees.
   “I wondered why we couldn’t do something more for players with slower clubhead speeds,” Beljan said about her Scoring Tees concept. “Everybody wants to score better.  That’s how I came up with the name Scoring Tees.”
   Like the other two systems which followed her idea, Scoring Tees are based on how far a golfer hits his or her drive.
   She debuted the idea for Green Valley Country Club in Greenville, SC, in 2011, which means she thought of it before that.  It always takes a while to find someone with enough courage to try something new.
   A few years later, in 2014-15, she was asked to create Scoring Tees for two Florida courses, Pelican Marsh in Naples and Pelican Nest in Bonita Springs. Those courses have six tees on each hole plus Scoring Tees.
   The idea in all instances is to have a course within a course.  For ease of maintenance, the Scoring Tees are the size of a triplex mower turning radius, 25-by-25 feet.
   The total yardage for the Scoring Tees at Pelican’s Nest is 4062 yards. They call it the Hurricane Scoring Course, and it has its own scorecard.  The longest set of tees from the back of that same course is 6808.  At Pelican Marsh, the total yardage of their Scoring Tees is 4020 while the back tees play 7050.
   Having a special Scoring Tees scorecard is part of the validation that this is golf, even if it’s not played from 7000+ yards.
   The Scoring Tees scorecard says the tees should be used by those whose drives go 150 yards or less.  But they can be played by golfers who can hit the ball farther.
   “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,” Beljan explained in an article for By Design, published by the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 2016.
   Beljan thinks that having tees that are gender neutral and based on swing speed alone will allow more people to get into the game and stay with it longer. She believes that Scoring Tees will keep members active at clubs when they age up. It also provides an excellent avenue for beginners, whatever their age.

   Their line includes oils, capsules and soft gels, which can be consumed as well as creams which can be rubbed on whatever part aches.  They even make CBD for pets. 

   “The product line is starting to get a little endless for us,” he added.

Looking at the MedTerra web site, there are countless reviews from people who have been helped by their products. But what, I wondered, did he know from first-hand experience.

   “The example I give to everybody is my dad,” Dickerson began. “He has very bad arthritis in his hands.  We first developed a synthetic ( CBD) cream, but it didn’t quite have the pizzazz.  So, we looked at the formulation on it, and then we went back to an all-natural formula, and it literally changed the way my dad’s hands functioned.”

   His dad had not been able to grip a club, but by using the real, not synthetic CBD, he could.

   “And then when he stops using it for a day or two days, the arthritis comes roaring back,” Dickerson added.

   There is also anecdotal information Dickerson receives from his customer service department. You can look at the reviews. Not all people are helped with CBD, but those who are have been helped had conditions that include: Tendonitis, shingles, essential tremors, endometriosis pain, insomnia, daily muscle spasms from stress, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis in neck, shoulders and wrist, arthritic knee pain, fibromyalgia pain, neck and thoracic lumbar pain, hand pain from arthritis, perimenopause symptoms, psoriasis, restless leg syndrome, PTSD anxiety, depression, chronic migraines, cluster headaches and more. 

   Then, because I was thinking about golfers and other athletes, I wondered about doping tests. Dickerson said that USADA has approved CBD for use by athletes.It’s not a banned substance. 

   “It was monumental,” he said about the USADA decision. “We are working with Olympic athletes right now who can use our products and not have to worry about popping (having a bad drug show up) for a drugs test.”

   MedTerra is currently working with golfers, surfers and baseball players.

   However, not all sports organization have given it the green light yet.

   “They’re very aware of it. They’re coming around to it,” he added. “They’re pumping their athletes full of pharmaceuticals and getting them addicted, and there’s loads of stories about that.” 

    So how good is this stuff?   It’s getting studied to find out.  There is research being done by at least one large  university that should be released soon.

   “Just before Christmas President Trump signed it ( the farm bill) for us,” he said. “So, now you’re going to see corn farmers in Nebraska that are making $700 an acre, they’re now going to make $10-20-30,000/ acre growing hemp. It’s going to be really an enormous market here in a short period of time.”

   MedTerra’s on-line business delivers to all 50 states.  They are also in 18 countries.

ShopCBDNow  offers a variety of products from several different manufacturers. They also wholesale CBD. According to Eric Lund, the company’s sales director, they grow their hemp in Oregon where they are located.
   “We’re based in Salem, Oregon. We use state certified laboratory and manufacturing facilities to do the extraction and production and testing of our products,” Lund explained.
   Their product lineup is wide, ranging from oils and topicals to bath bombs, aloe lotion for sunburn, teas, syrups, coffee and pet treats. They have additional flavored offerings too, like honey sticks, gummies in peach, raspberry or blackberry, and lip balms in pina colada or mint flavors.
   “We started in the medical marijuana industry in the state of Oregon,” he said. “We started going nationwide about three years ago.  In the last six to eight months, we started focusing on the sports and active industry along with the health food industry.”
   They have customers who play golf, baseball and football.
   “CBD is actually is not on the list of classified substances by the anti-doping agency, so you’re allowed to use CBD,” he added.
   As to whether people use topicals or take capsules/ use the oils orally, he said it is half and half. Oils are dispensed with an eyedropper method.
   “Athletes will use a lot of topicals, but a lot of people who are using it every day, who are playing golf or doing their sport every day, are going to use the oils,” he said.
   Using them internally, he said, gives a faster activation time.
   “Topicals are also like a spot treatment,” he said. “So, if you have more than one spot, you’re not going to try to rub it all over your body. The oral option is going to be better there.”
   He said some people do both.
   “We ship inconspicuously. It doesn’t say on it ‘We’re a box of CBD,’”  he laughed. 

   And what about my knees?  You’re never going to believe it, but this stuff really works!  I’m not going to jump on a pogo stick or skip rope any time soon, but I don’t have knee pain.  If I get a twinge or two, I rub a little of the CBD stuff on and in a short time, pain is gone. My knees are still stiff from time to time, but they are relatively pain free, at least this week!

“There’s no chance you’re going to get high from this product.”-- Ben Dickerson, MedTerra

   Right now about 25 million people in the US play golf. That’s like the entire population of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and Dallas. People never think about it that way, but that’s how many people play golf. And darn near every one of us is playing from the wrong tees.

   That’s because in the world of golf, courses have been designed primarily for the scratch player or better.  Yet, only 1.6 percent of all men golfers and .52 percent of all women golfers have a handicap that is scratch, meaning their handicap is 0 or better.
   There’s no other industry on the planet save Hermes, Harry Winston, and creators of original designer clothing, where that even comes close to making sense. As a marketing plan, it would be a disaster.  And yet, when it comes to building golf courses, that is the measure that’s been used since Old Tom Morris first thwapped a featherie.
   How many people are really good golfers?  Not many.
   Golfers are measured by handicaps indexes. The only group that does handicapping for golf is the USGA, and all golfers do not have a USGA handicap.  Still, it’s the only yardstick we have.
   For men golfers, 31.31 percent have a handicap less than 10.  A 10-handicapper seldom shoots less than 85 because the handicap is not a number you add to par. In other words, if par is a 72, a 10 handicapper will seldom shoot 82. He will move likely shoot between 85 and 90.  It also means 70 percent of men golfers score higher than 85 or 90. That means that 70 percent of men golfers really can’t play effectively from the back tees of their courses.
   A scratch man golfer, a zero handicap, will often shoot within five or six shots of even par from the back tees.
   On the women’s side, 32.83 percent have a handicap of 22 or less.  And a 22 handicapper is likely to shoot somewhere in the high 90s on a good day. Nearly 70 percent of women golfers score higher than that.  The low handicap numbers, I’m convinced, have only increased because there are now women playing college golf.
   So where are the tees for the rest of us?  Something we can play and enjoy golf. 
   Jan Bel Jan, golf course architect, and President of ASGCA, has come up with an idea to allow golf courses to be more user-friendly for the rest of us .She calls it Scoring Tees.