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Should I be playing from the White tees? I prefer Blue tees. What do you guys play?

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Average golf hacker here who drives it total about 210 to 215.  Late 50s.   It seems like all the people at the local course play the white tees.  For some reason I have always liked playing the blue tees.  I am sure I would score a lot better but I think the white tees are less of a challenge.  The tips are a bit too long for me.


What tees do you play?

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Tees should be chosen by HC and skill level - not by age or gender.           And, I don't appreciate when a high HC'er plays the "wrong" tees and slows play.  

First of all, I want golf to be fun and enjoyable for me. So I play the tees that give me feelings of succeeding, and that tee depends on the time of the year, weather and my sentiments at the time. A

As someone who just bought a Callaway driver this summer, I didn't pay $700 for it to hit an iron off the tee. 

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Move up !!!


I moved up this year and I am not looking back. My driver is comparable to you. Stated playing from the tee that are closest to 5800 yards. 

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Blue tees just means the course becomes longer and you will face more challenges, creeks to cross, bunkers etc. Based on your driving distance, like others have suggested, white tees would be your target tee box. Now if you want to make things more challenging for yourself then blue tee is another option. Depending on course length as well but take into consideration course rating too. Just because it is shorter does not mean it is easier. Play the tees that give you the best chance to enjoy the game and challenge your skill level. 

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I'm going to be the guy to back you up for liking to play back a bit.  Playing from that distance will help you learn how to manage the course and your game better.  On many of the par 4's you'll be thinking about strategy on your second shot instead of grabbing whatever hybrid you hit the distance you lasered and heaving it at the green.   You'll learn how to save shots and your short wedge and pitching game will become your strength.  All of these are very good things you can put to good use when you step up a box depending on what you're group prefers for that round. 


I wish I had two dollars for every dollar I've lost to 12 handicaps who drive a straight ball about 220, but are sly like foxes the rest of the way to the hole.  And they can usually play their game just fine all the way up 6,500 to 6,800 yards. 

Edited by Dr. Block
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Are you capable of hitting greens in regulation from the blue tees after hitting your 210-215 yard drives?  If not, I would move up a set of tees.

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I'd say skill level rather than distance is the best determinant of what tees you can  play from.


Like Doc said above, there's a lot of players who don't hit it far, but can march that ball straight down the fairway with almost every shot and shoot very respectable, if not downright excellent scores.


But if you're face with iffy forced carries, and lots of potential to lose balls because of distance, then playing golf that way all the time is really not that much fun.

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I B 70yrs old and with the OP.  A person either performs well under pressure or he doesn't.  As long as someone doesn't hold up others, what I don't support is telling others what they should or shouldn't play.  I like a golf challenge so my choice in tees are within 6200-6700yds.  Yesterday's round was challenging 6500y with wind and Kikuyu fairways made the course play even longer, walked off with 78.


I have a bit more in the tank but still may have to play some long Par 4's like Par 5's, and rely on my wedge game to save par, but I am good with pressuring wedges.  Don't need GIR for decent score.  Had to do that on a long dog-leg Par 4; driver, 3i and PW to 2' tap in Par, and a wind-in-the-face Par 5; Driver, 2i, 8i, PW to 1' tap in Par on windy Par 5.  

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I pay more attention to the overall length than the color of the tees. Some courses we play (my regular group, we're all around the same skill and distance), the blues are barely 6500 and the whites are around 6100. Looking at one of the scorecards (6154); there's exactly one par 4 where I wouldn't be going 5W then PW or GW in. While that sounds pretty awesome if that's what you can do to win a US Open ... it's not the most fun for a weekend round.

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I go by total course yardage, my skill level and how far I hit it to pick the tees.  "White" tees in my area can vary from 5500-6700 yards.  Far too many guys let their ego get in the way and think they need to play the tips or at least blues because they're under 30 and have a Y chromosome.  Then you watch a couple jabronies slice their tee shots into the woods on the opening 420 yard par 4 with two groups waiting on the teebox and can guess why Saturday rounds takes 5+ hours.


I play a mix of whites and blues depending on the course length/setup.  If I don't know the course, I play the whites.  I prefer having driver-wedge on several holes if the swing is on than be holding up the course if it's not.  I don't consider myself good enough to have to make the game harder for myself.  I shouldn't be following up a dead-nuts maxed-out drive with a hybrid.  If you're skilled enough to consistently go driver-long club-wedge-putt for par, more power to you.  But my best bet for pace of play is a tee length that will reward a good drive with a short iron.

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I choose them by yardage i know what one work for me and dont and go from there. 

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I normally play Whites (~ 5,800), but on one course I visit on occasion I play Blues ( ~ 6200).


Reason for Blues:

  • Two of the par 3 holes are drop shots over a lake. The Whites give you about 110 yards for each. This means I would have to feather a pitching wedge over water, which I hate to do. I would much rather go back 30 yards and hit a full 8i.
  • Three of the holes give you a blind tee shot from the Whites. The Blues show you the landing area (less chance of lost ball!). Plus, the elevated tee means your Blue drive lands about the same spot as your lower-launched White drive.
  • The Blue tee boxes drain better and have better turf grass.

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It's tough playing in a group with wildly varying handicaps. That's one of the groups I play in. I like to play a little longer, but I hit it a little longer than most guys in this group... hence the mismatch. I end of playing driver, 9-SW, into most holes on the shorter courses. Playing different tees is kind of a pain for the group dynamic. But... I really like playing with this group from a personal level. Great guys. My solution? Some days on a short course I won't hit driver, some days just a 3 iron off the tee. When we have pushed it back, it's miserable for some of the guys who can't make the forced carries off the tee, or the dogleg.


It's a game. Play where you like that makes the game enjoyable.

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My general starting point is the 36*5i (or 26*D) rule of thumb. I average 250 yds off the tee (5i = 180), so I normally play in the 6300 to 6500 yd range. I'll adjust based on conditions. Soft, cold, windy at sea level? Move up. Firm, warm, calm, and at altitude? Move back. If a course doesn't have teebox that falls within the range I've selected for the day, and they don't have combo tees on the scorecard, I'll create my own combo. I've played way too many courses that have too large a gap between tees. I think 300 to 400 yds is a good gap. 600? Not so much.



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Use the 5i carry* 36 metric stated above me, or answer the following


Can you reach (almost) every par 3 with no more than a long iron?

Can you reach (almost) every par 4 in regulation with no more than a long iron (assuming good drive)?

Can you reach (almost) every par 5 in regulation with no more than a wedge (assuming good drive)?


If you can't answer yes to all 3 questions, you should really move up. I can understand some courses have 1 or 2 odd ball holes hence the almost stipulation, but if you are playing for bogey after a well struck tee shot more than once or twice a round, you aren't playing the course as intended.

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I’m about the same driver distance and I look at the holes yardage, I don’t want or need to be hitting hybrid into par 4s and I sure don’t want to hit driver on par 3. For me seems 5600 or so works out good. A few courses I’ll play a combination of tees based on the holes. 

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I think the replies are still being too tough on you.  Take a drop at the 100 yard marker for each hole.


Seriously, ask yourself a couple of questions:  am I cutting corners/flying bunkers every tee shot? Do I have a variety of clubs into greens?  Typically, a yes answer to one means no the other.  The architect designed the course to be played a certain way.  That doesn't mean you can't try different things, but when you are cutting doglegs, etc., you are also bringing in hitting from the rough due to running through the fairway.  I know that I began to enjoy a local course a lot more by moving back.  Sure, I had a little longer club into the green, but hitting tee shots to the fairway rather than over a bunker, was a lot more fun.


It works the other way as well.  The wife of one of regular group was getting some grief from other ladies because she started playing from the green tees, which on our course have been added basically at the beginning of the fairways.  But he mentioned she made a good point:  from the reds, she is always hitting a hybrid/wood into greens.  So you have to factor that in.


But play the tees that fit you.  And anyone who says play the tees the rest of the group plays, ask them if they play the front tees when they are paired with women. 

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I would also recommend moving up a tee to the white (assuming next up is white) except on the shortest courses where the blue may be 6200. Most clubs here are 6400-6700 from the blue depending. As stated, if you can still get to the green in regulation, then you are ok but I don't know why you want over 200 into all mid length par 4s.


But hard times are at your discretion if pace of play is ok, which for most i see playing too far back is not.  Your mileage may vary.

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I never got the "challenge" argument when selecting tees.  Golf is played against par, if you're not shooting around par then it's already challenging.  

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On 10/19/2020 at 4:04 PM, Augster said:

Move up to the front tee box. Play until you’re shooting par or better 1/5 rounds. Then move back a box. Rinse and repeat. 


So 99% of the golfers worldwide should play from the reds all the time for their whole golfing career?

Shooting par is a generally unobtainable goal for most golfers. Way beyond what the USGA recommends for tees played by handicap.

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