Which Tees Should You Be Playing From and Why?

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Whether you’re playing by yourself, with friends, or with strangers, one of the first decisions you must make is: What tees am I/are we going to play? Selecting the right set of tees controls several variables. First, it helps create as fair of a dynamic as possible, especially if you have a foursome with different playing abilities. So, which tees should you be playing from and why? Continue reading to find out!

Different Handicaps

One of the most common issues regarding choosing the proper set of tees is ego: If someone is a 20-handicap who hit their driver 220 off the tee and they play in a regular foursome with two 9-handicap players and a 5-handicap player, they can often feel pressured to play from tees that don’t suit their skill level. This not only makes it harder and less enjoyable for the higher handicapped player, but it can also cause play to be slower, which affects more than just your group.

When selecting a proper set of tees, remember that there is zero shame in playing the course from a shorter length. If you play in a group that makes fun of you for doing so, find a better group of people to play with. After all, golf is supposed to be fun.

Every Situation Has its Own Tee

Tees should be selected based on comfort level and ability, and nothing more. If you’re a beginner and want to play the forward tees, go for it. In fact, there’s no rule that says you can’t tee off from the 200-yard markers if it makes you more comfortable. Unless you’re playing in a tournament where the tee boxes are set by the director, tee off from anywhere that allows you to make the most out of your time out on the golf course.

Golf becomes much easier when the course is short enough to allow you to hit a good tee shot onto the green in one on a par-3, a good drive and comfortable approach to a par-4, and two or three comfortable shots for a par-5. That should be how you choose your teeing grounds.

Back Tees or Not?

For those of you who hit the driver a long way, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should be playing from the back tees. For example, if your average drive is a mile long and ends up three fairways over, length doesn’t have much advantage. It’s much easier to play from shorter tees and use a fairway wood or hybrid off the tee than it does to take a few minutes each hole looking for a ball in the woods.

Have you been playing well at the shorter tees, but want to give yourself more of a challenge? Take a step up to the back tees and test your game out! However, be sure to do so on a quiet day on the golf course, preferably with no one else behind you, and if it gets to be too frustrating, go back to the tees you normally play until you feel confident again.

When to Play Shorter Tees

Do good players only belong on the back tees? Of course not! Playing shorter tees can help boost confidence by leaving shorter approaches and give you opportunities to work on your long game. How so? Maybe you have a hole that is normally a driver and an iron into the green, but playing from the forward tees gives you a chance to hit your driver into a narrower section of fairway.

The Final Tee

Aside from the fun a good player can have from different tees, it will also make you a more hospitable host and guest when playing with others who feel intimidated by players who are rigid in their choice of tee boxes. Play a tee box up, and you’ll make plenty of friends on the golf course, regardless of their playing ability.

Remember: don’t let peer pressure or ego get in the way of choosing an optimal set of tees for your skill level. Follow these guidelines and I guarantee you’ll be enjoying the game even more the next time you play!

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Ryan S

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