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What yardage tees do you play from?


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I’m an 11.4 handicap and with some work I’ll be under 10 soon. A few weeks ago I played in a tournament and was paired up with a 1 and a 2 handicap. They played blue tees (6200ish) and I played white (5800ish). Normally when I play this course I play Blue and shoot mid 80’s. The one guy said anything below 80 for him at that course is a good day for him. This is a tight course where you can only hit driver maybe 3-4 times in 18 holes so it can be tough. This got me thinking that maybe I’m playing the wrong tees and I should move up. 
Most of the courses I play are around 6200 yards from the tees I play.
I’m curious what handicap and tee length others play from.

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I absorbed the notion years ago that the white tees are for most usage, and the blue tees were “championship” or competition tees designed to test the game of folks who might actually have a shot at being champion.

 

Yardage is part of it but not the whole thing.

 

Nowadays it seems anybody who ever broke 80 on any course plays the back tees, and quite a few who haven’t.  On one dogleg hole I walk by everyday the guys from the blue tees seem every bit as able to pull the ball to the left into the woods or slice into under the oak trees on the right as the guys from the white tees.

 

I once made “a modest proposal” on this site urging a rule that none but scratch golfers be allowed to play from the back tees.  I don’t think many who may have read it ever heard of Jonathan Swift and you would think I had suggested a rollback on ball distance.

 

In all seriousness I have watched consistent high single digit handicappers over the years persist in playing from the back tees and it doesn’t seem to make them particularly happy, satisfied, or better at golf.

 

 

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The tees I play from varies based on who I'm playing with.  One group I frequently play with always uses the white tees, around 6100 yards up to 6300 on the courses we choose.  Another guy I play with, who has some back problems (just like I do!!) and is a short hitter, we always use the senior tees, 5500-5800 on average, on the courses we play.  Most of my drives top out around 250-260 yards, so this works out very well most of the time.

 

I know, I know, that weak and lame by Wrx standards, but it works for us and helps us older guys enjoy the game.

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Irons 4-5--Callaway Apex

Irons 6-PW--Callaway RazrX w/steel Uniflex-- shafts

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Putter--Odyssey White Steel

Ball-Srixon or Bridgestone E6

 

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15 minutes ago, 596 said:

Your length should be based on the standard formula of 36 x your 5 iron distance.  My 5 is 170 x 36 = 6,120.  Anything longer and it's long clubs into greens all day long IF I can even get there.  I enjoy playing all 4 sets of tees at our course from 5,000 to 6400. 

 

There was an article that compared our driver distance to Rory and the percentages to the length of course.  A 200 yard drive from 6000 yards is the same as Rory playing from 10,000.  Think about that. Would he even play? 

Do you know where I can find that article?  I'd love to read more about this.

Driver--Callaway Rogue ST Max w/ProjectX Cypher Black

Irons 4-5--Callaway Apex

Irons 6-PW--Callaway RazrX w/steel Uniflex-- shafts

F2 Series Gap Wedge 52* degree

SW-Cleveland CBX 56*

Putter--Odyssey White Steel

Ball-Srixon or Bridgestone E6

 

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5 minutes ago, Kai Slater said:

Do you know where I can find that article?  I'd love to read more about this.

I wish I could remember.  I read it just a few months ago.  Really opened my eyes to how far the pros hit the ball and the short clubs they hit into greens.  When they play 7200 yards and average short clubs into greens all day it made me realize how stupid it is to hit long clubs, 7 or more, into greens all day.  

 

I played the shortest tees yesterday with some older friends.  I shot a 1 under par (10 cap but scratch from those tees) with 3 birdies and a double!   It's a lot of fun doing that sometimes.  

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20 minutes ago, 596 said:

Your length should be based on the standard formula of 36 x your 5 iron distance.  My 5 is 170 x 36 = 6,120.  Anything longer and it's long clubs into greens all day long IF I can even get there.  I enjoy playing all 4 sets of tees at our course from 5,000 to 6400. 

 

There was an article that compared our driver distance to Rory and the percentages to the length of course.  A 200 yard drive from 6000 yards is the same as Rory playing from 10,000.  Think about that. Would he even play? 

Always interested when I come across that formula. I’m a 9 index.  Last time I hit a 5 iron it went about 145.  My longest iron is a 8. 250 yard club is a 11 wood.  That equates to  about 5200 yards.  I drive about 200 yards.   Last time I played from ~5000 yards (about once a year) I  shot 70, if I did play there regularly I say my handicap would drop significantly.  
 

Here’s  the problem.  Our white tees are 6250, few play from there.  The go to tees at the next back (combo White/Blue) are 6450, most of my regulars play from there.  All men’s nights are combo tees. Tuesday morning mens is combo.    Senior club championship is combo.  Full club championship , my index puts me in the Blue tee flight at 6650.  
 

So if I play “the tees that I should” all my other games, 5200, I’d guess I would end up with an index about 5.  

What chance would I have in club competitions?  
 

Yes for the casual fun golfers out there the formula works.  Not for me, and I suspect there’s many like me out there.  
 

This is not a complaint, just an observation.  
 

 

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1 minute ago, st1800e said:

Always interested when I come across that formula. I’m a 9 index.  Last time I hit a 5 iron it went about 145.  My longest iron is a 8. 250 yard club is a 11 wood.  That equates to  about 5200 yards.  I drive about 200 yards.   Last time I played from ~5000 yards (about once a year) I  shot 70, if I did play there regularly I say my handicap would drop significantly.  
 

Here’s  the problem.  Our white tees are 6250, few play from there.  The go to tees at the next back (combo White/Blue) are 6450, most of my regulars play from there.  All men’s nights are combo tees. Tuesday morning mens is combo.    Senior club championship is combo.  Full club championship , my index puts me in the Blue tee flight at 6650.  
 

So if I play “the tees that I should” all my other games, 5200, I’d guess I would end up with an index about 5.  

What chance would I have in club competitions?  
 

Yes for the casual fun golfers out there the formula works.  Not for me, and I suspect there’s many like me out there.  
 

This is not a complaint, just an observation.  
 

 

With the way handicaps work your cap won't go down all that much if you move forward.  The forward tees have a much lower index.  Even shooting 1 under yesterday from the forward tees my 10 handicap did not and will not move.  My index from those tees is 0.  

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33 minutes ago, 596 said:

With the way handicaps work your cap won't go down all that much if you move forward.  The forward tees have a much lower index.  Even shooting 1 under yesterday from the forward tees my 10 handicap did not and will not move.  My index from those tees is 0.  

Your experience is different than mine. Also I think you mean your course handicap from those tees is 0.  Index doesn’t change tee to tee.  

Edited by st1800e
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Depends on the course. One course I play regularly is like yours, 5800 from the whites but it's very tight and only a par 70. Others I play are typically in the 6200-6500 range. Don't mind playing a bit longer than that if the course is an open, parkland style course. For me, I like playing a variety, keeps it interesting. The groups I play with are getting a bit older so not as much objections these days if we do the whites instead of blues.

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We have 8 sets of tees on the scorecard:

 

Red

Green

White

Blue-white

Blue

Blue-Gold

Gold

Black

 

We usually play the golds in the spring/summer/fall and blues in the winter.  Golds are 6850 yards but play a bit shorter because the tees are never by the plates on 2 holes.  Blues are 6450.  We are a second shot course, so even though the blue rating is 2 shots lower, I score about the same from blues or golds.  Blue tees also take driver out of your hands on a few holes as there are either bunkers, trees, or narrowed fairways that dont really come into play from the golds.

 

I am 50, a 4 index, and my 5 iron goes ~195 when hit well.

 

 

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2 hours ago, 596 said:

Thanks for sending that.  Very interesting and can explain one factor in the struggles that average Joe's face out on the course.

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Driver--Callaway Rogue ST Max w/ProjectX Cypher Black

Irons 4-5--Callaway Apex

Irons 6-PW--Callaway RazrX w/steel Uniflex-- shafts

F2 Series Gap Wedge 52* degree

SW-Cleveland CBX 56*

Putter--Odyssey White Steel

Ball-Srixon or Bridgestone E6

 

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11 hours ago, nev adams said:

I’m an 11.4 handicap and with some work I’ll be under 10 soon. A few weeks ago I played in a tournament and was paired up with a 1 and a 2 handicap. They played blue tees (6200ish) and I played white (5800ish). Normally when I play this course I play Blue and shoot mid 80’s. The one guy said anything below 80 for him at that course is a good day for him. This is a tight course where you can only hit driver maybe 3-4 times in 18 holes so it can be tough. This got me thinking that maybe I’m playing the wrong tees and I should move up. 
Most of the courses I play are around 6200 yards from the tees I play.
I’m curious what handicap and tee length others play from.

 

Golf should be fun and very, very, very few people ever get paid to play it.  So why make it harder than it needs to be.  One day, you'll be old and wish you'd had more fun while your body would still let you.

 

3 hours ago, 596 said:

Your length should be based on the standard formula of 36 x your 5 iron distance.  My 5 is 170 x 36 = 6,120.  Anything longer and it's long clubs into greens all day long IF I can even get there.  I enjoy playing all 4 sets of tees at our course from 5,000 to 6400. 

 

There was an article that compared our driver distance to Rory and the percentages to the length of course.  A 200 yard drive from 6000 yards is the same as Rory playing from 10,000.  Think about that. Would he even play? 

This is my stock answer when someone asks the "Which tees?" question.  It isn't your once a year, flyer yardage or what you think you hit, but your real 5 iron carry number.  

 

 

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34 minutes ago, OnTheBag said:

 

 

This is my stock answer when someone asks the "Which tees?" question.  It isn't your once a year, flyer yardage or what you think you hit, but your real 5 iron carry number.  

 

 

This way you don't have to hit every drive off the tee box perfectly just to have a chance to get to the green in regulation.   You get to play more relaxed knowing that a less then maximum drive will still give you a good chance of a good score on the hole.  220 gives me a pitching wedge to the green but a not so good 200 still gives me a decent chance with an 8 iron.  Just a 10% reduction in a drive can make a big difference on the hole.

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I use this formula too. 155 X 36 = 5580. I am 64 and a 10 handicap. I play from the senior tees, yellow tees, the tees that are one back from the shortest tees. Playing these tees put me somewhere between 5500-5800. When a course uses different color tees I always look at the yardage and play whatever color tees that play somewhere around 5700. Playing from 5700 I find it to be the best yardage for me when it comes to being challenged and having the most overall fun.

 

I play one course that plays 5500 and even though it is fun to play it I don't find it as challenging. The next tees back are way too long. I am considering playing mixed tees there. I occasionally play 5800-6200 but when there are too many par 4's I can't reach in two the fun factor isn't there. I usually shoot 10 strokes higher playing out of my range. 

 

My group decided to play two tees back on a course earlier this year "for fun". I played extremely well that day and was only 7 strokes higher than I usually shoot there. I didn't find it much fun using a driver on a par 3 even though I got par. Hitting the driver, 4w on every hole and then having a short third shot on the par 4s got old. 

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Don't think handicap should affect the tees you play from. If you're a long hitter and play from the shorter tees you'll end up with wedge's to most par 4's, not using all your clubs is very boring IMO. Sure, you could tee off with less than driver but again boring if you do it on a lot of holes. At the other end if you have to hit fairway woods into average length par 4's, or can't reach them, it's time to move up. I do find at my course a lot of the early morning groups are retirees and they all play from the same tees although obviously too short for some and too long for others, they think it speeds up play and moves things along better, I don't but....

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My opinion: If you don't tip it out, you'll wonder what you would have shot from back there.  I used to ask myself "Would you have shot under if you'd have played the blacks?" 

 

I also think it's a good thing to have practice with your long irons. The Driver/Wedge holes get boring. I'm not a "long" hitter either

 

Lastly, the money games we play have everyone playing from the same tees except seniors

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When people talk about hitting only wedges if they move up, you have to remember that wedges in the bag will cover anything from 10 to 115 yards or more.  Most people carry 3 to 5 different wedges.  That's like 9 iron to 5 iron distance difference.  Hitting a sand wedge from 75 is far different then hitting pitching wedge from 120.  "I don't want to use my 5 wedges all day".  That's 5 different clubs up to 100 yard difference

 

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Favorite Topic, will always post in these kinds of threads. 2-3 HDCP, 260-275 driver distance (total), 170 yd 7 iron carry 

 

Standard Golf Course: 6,100 - 6,400 yds (6,400 is basically my max).
Tight Golf Course: 5,600 - 6,000 yds 

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9 minutes ago, OnTheBag said:

@ThinkingPlus bragging with her 6i distance.  Hahaha.  Mine hasn't sniffed 155 in years but I've gotten REALLY old.

Not long ago it was a 160 club, but age takes its toll. I'm not sure I would hit 6i to a 155 front pin with 145 PA carry these days. Probably chicken out and choke down on a 5h. Just not as sure of my carry yardages these days although in my defense we get so much wind here it is hard to get good stock numbers. Ultimately it only matters what number you write on the scorecard rather than the number of the club in your hand.

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