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Set Aside the Ego: What Tees Should You Play From?

What Tees Should I Play From

If you’re like a lot of golfers, chances are you’ve wondered which tees to play from? Are you looking for the tips, middle tees, or front?

This is even more of a question when playing a new golf course as it’s a big decision that can make or break the day. You and your fellow golfers can suffer if you choose the wrong tees. This can cause slow play. This is a major problem in the golf industry. 

As Jack Nicklaus said, “All of us deeply involved in the game constantly encourage golfers of all skill levels to play the proper tees, but too often golfers want to bite off as much of the golf course as they can. What ends up suffering is their scorecard and their overall enjoyment.”

With multiple tee boxes on every course it’s essential to make sure the tee boxes correspond with your skill level. Continue reading to discover the best strategies to find the perfect tee boxes to suit your game. This will ensure that you have more fun and lower scores. 

What Tees should I play?

How can you decide which tees are best?

Let me start by illustrating an example of using the wrong tee boxes.

I’m a scratch golfer and always play the tips, regardless of what fellow golfers are playing. One day, I was paired with another golfer and suggested that he use whatever tees he liked.

I know most golfers don’t (and shouldn’t) play tees at 7,000+ yards. When he learned I’d be tipping the course out he said,“I’ll join you, might as well get my money’s worth.”

I shook my head, knowing that it was going to be a long day. He should have been at his gold tees. He only drove it about 210 yards which meant he couldn’t even carry the ball to the fairway and struggled on his long second shots. He conceded defeat after five holes and moved up to three tee boxes because the tips were too difficult. 

When golfers say, “I’m going to get my money’s worth”, you know you’re in for a long round. He self-corrected after a few holes and used the correct set of tees. This helped to speed up play and make it a better experience. 

One of the most important things that you can do is choose the right tees. Here’s why… 

Why it is important to choose the right tee box

Let’s review some of the biggest before teaching the best ways to find the correct tee boxes.

Playing at a fast pace

Slow play is one the greatest problems in golf.

A round of golf can take as long as five hours, which can be a problem for many players. Paired with drive time, warm up, and a meal after, it’s a 7-hour experience.

Golf is slow because many golfers are using the wrong tee boxes. While it’s okay to challenge yourself occasionally, you shouldn’t always do it. To level up, you can play more challenging holes with other golfers. 

Have More Fun 

Let’s face it, shooting lower scores is more fun.

You can make the course easier by playing up and making it shorter. This will result in lower scores, and ultimately, more enjoyment.

If you play a tee box that doesn’t match your skill level, you’re making golf even harder. You need to earn your way back to those tee boxes to not negatively affect your playing partners if you don’t have enough driving distance for the tees. 

Be considerate of other golfers 

You will not only score higher, but your playing partners will be frustrated. In the example above, you can see how someone struggling to play the wrong tees boxes. This is self-inflicted. However, it can also cause a negative experience for your playing partners.

For example, if you’re having to look for that person’s golf ball all the time, it can make for a long day.

Check out the Scorecard

Checking the scorecard will help you choose the right teebox. You will want to check the rating and slope of the course.

A few scorecards may also include handicap recommendations to help you choose which tees you should play. This makes it even easier as you don’t have to check out the slope and rating. They will usually give you a range for each of your tee boxes based on how difficult or far it is to play the course. 

For example: 

  • Black tees: >5 handicap
  • Blue tees for handicap: 5-12
  • White tees: 12-20 handicap 
  • Yellow tees for low handicap women golfers and seniors 
  • Red Tees: 35+ handicap, women golfers

You can also look online to find out more about the course layout. 

Nick Faldo’s Tee Box Strategy

Nick Faldo is a well-known golfer and had a successful career as a announcer of the game. His strategy for figuring out tee boxes was simple – start at the front tees and work your way backward.

Basically, if you can’t score under a certain score from the reds, you don’t deserve to move back to a tee box. Once you have achieved the red score, you can return to the whites. Then, the blues, and finally, the black tees.

This is a great way for amateur golfers to make their way back to more advanced tees. 

Driving Distance

Another way to determine the right tee box for you is by measuring your driver distance.

If you can’t hit it about 290 yards, don’t play the back tees (or a golf course that is over 7,000 yards). Otherwise, it’ll be impossible to make some of the required carry distances and lead to a lot of long second shots.

 If you can’t hit it 250+ yards, don’t play the tips or even the second back tees. If you can’t hit over 235 yards, don’t play more than one back from the front tees.

There is no set rule, so be creative to make sure you and your group have fun choosing the right tee. 

Ask the Pro Shop or Starter 

You can also use the starter at the first tee or the pro shop to help you choose the right tee box. They will appreciate you asking as it’ll ensure the marshal won’t have to govern your group if you fall behind from slow play. 

Play a hybrid set of Tees 

Some golf courses might have an extra tee box on the scorecard that isn’t an actual set of tees. One example is a gold/white combination, where you tee off with the whites on certain holes and the golds on others. This is a great option for senior men who want a challenge but are not too keen on long shots.

This makes it a hybrid length and is a great option for playing with other skill levels. On long holes you’ll typically play from the white tees and other holes that aren’t as challenging you will play from the blue tees. 

Three Reasons to Tee It Forward 

For these reasons, golfers should be more forward-thinking.

First, you can mix up your round when you tee it forward.

Boring is playing the same tees on a same course all the time! It will be fun to break the monotony of playing the same shots on the same holes. 

Second, try different tee boxes to learn how you can go low. If you move up in a box, you should score lower. This might help you break a plateau. 

For example, if you can’t break 80 from your current tee box, move up one box. You can shoot in the 70s once or twice from there to overcome any mental blocks you may have experienced while shooting in the 70s. Then, move back. You’ll be a low handicap golfer in no time!

Third, try out different tee box sizes to improve your skills with wedges. Since you’ll have shorter distances into the green, it’s a great time to work on your short game too.

FAQs about Different Tee Boxes 

Are you still unsure about the best tee boxes for your game? If so, continue reading to learn more and enjoy playing golf with the right set.

What kind of golf tees do I need? 

Choose the ones that are most appropriate for your skill level. Golfers shouldn’t play a tee-box that is more advanced than their current skill level. This can slow down play and make it frustrating for other players.

These tips and/or asking a starter or a pro shop representative will help you determine which tees best suit your game. 

What color tees do I need to wear? 

Each golf course has its own set tees. The most popular are red, white, blue and black. 

Red tees represent women, while white refers to seniors or beginners, blue refers to mid-to-low handicap golfers, and black is reserved for the best. Each golf course has its own set of tees, as there aren’t any standardized tee boxes colors.

It’s a good idea to look at the scorecard as they often provide handicap recommendations for each box.  

Do I choose to play in the blue or white tees 

You should pick the tees that are right for you. Don’t feel like you have to play blue or white sets of tees.

Do I have to play the same tee box every time?

If you play the same course frequently, it’s best to mix up your tee boxes for different yardages. It will not only allow you to mix up your club selections and shots but it will also help you mentally focus. 

Many golfers can become mentally lazy by playing the same course over and over. It is possible to not laser every pin or think about the targets, which can lead to lazy golf swings. 

Play a combination set of tees, or a whole tee box on specific days of the week. This will allow for you to hit different shots, break down scoring plateaus, as well as provide variety on a course where you play frequently. 

What is it to tee it forward?

The best thing you can do for your community is to smile. PGA.

They said: “By playing from forward tees, amateur golfers have the chance to play the course at the same relative distance as a touring professional would over 18 holes. The playing field is leveled by giving golfers the opportunity to play from distances that are properly aligned with their abilities.”

Additionally, it allows for shorter approach shots and ultimately, fewer shots in total. “With many more golfers hitting approach shots with 6- and 7-irons instead of hybrids and long irons, their chances for enjoyment increase. Also, playing from forward tees should result in fewer overall shots, shorter distance traveled on each hole, and potentially, fewer lost balls.” 

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Tee Boxes 

You must work hard to get the chance to play longer, better tee boxes.

If you do this, you could ruin the round for others, cause trouble with the course, and make it difficult to shoot high scores. Play the tees closest to your handicap or driver distance for the most enjoyable round.

Mixing up your tee boxes and playing from shorter distances has many advantages. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and challenge your regular group of buddies with a different set of tees. At the end of the day, it’s always about shooting the lowest score.  

Use the teebox system to motivate you to improve your game.