For as long as I can remember, many golfers -- mostly men -- used the term "ladies' tee" to refer to the most forward tee box on a golf course routing. Many of these same players would make fun of golfers who couldn't hit the ball past that front tee.
Then, in recent years, the official nomenclature has changed. Golfers and golf professionals have been encouraged to ditch the term "ladies' tee" and replace it with the term "forward tee."
There are several good reasons why the terminology has changed.
Here's why golfers use the term 'forward tees' instead of 'ladies' tees'
Women don't automatically play from the forward box: There are plenty of female players that have the desire and/or game to be able to play from longer sets of tees than the forward box.
Anyone can play from the forward box: One big point to make about the name change is that it's intended to be an invitation to male players to also play from the forward tee. A shorter golf course is typically a more fun golf course for the overwhelming number of players. By trying to take away the label that these tees are only for female players, golf professionals and course owners are hopeful more players will try them, have more fun and speed up play.
The term "ladies' tee" is offensive to many female players: Golf doesn't have the best track record in welcoming women to the game, often preferring to keep female players separate from the male players with gender-segregated areas on and off the course. However, women are the fastest-growing demographic of golfer in the United States. It's a smart move to be more welcoming of female players, then, by showing them the whole course is their oyster -- not just some small designated part.
Old habits are hard to break, and there will still be plenty of golfers who use the term "ladies' tees" instead of "forward tees." But making the change isn't difficult, and it could help everyone have more fun on the golf course.