Inspiration Golf Which Set of Tees Should You Play From on the Golf Course? Several Methods Work Well for Determining Appropriate Yardage for Your Game By Brent Kelley Brent Kelley Brent Kelley is an award-winning sports journalist and golf expert with over 30 years in print and online journalism. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 11/04/19 Share Pin Email Michael Cohen/Getty Images Every golf course you visit is likely to have multiple sets of tees boxes, as designated by colored markers on the teeing grounds at the start of each hole. Most golf courses have at least three sets of tees—the forward tees, middle tees and back (or championship) tees. Other courses might have as many as five, six or seven sets of tees. How do you know which set of tees to use? The different tee boxes correspond to different yardages, which also means different playing abilities. The tees at the back of the tee box are the longest set, the ones at the front the shortest set (you can find the yardages by checking the corresponding lines on the scorecard—blue tees are designated on the scorecard by the "Blue" line, and so on). Over time, knowing which set of tees to use will become self-evident. If you are struggling from one set of tees—unable to reach par-3 holes from the tee, or unable to reach par-4 holes in two shots—then move up to an easier (shorter) set of tees. Don't Play Tees That are Too Long for Your Game Many amateur golfers (especially men) try to play from tees that are too long. It's not uncommon to see a group of guys on a teeing ground hitting from the championship tees, only to hit weak slices into the woods. Don't be one of these people. There's no shame in playing from a forward set of tees if that is appropriate for your game. And golfers who play from tees that are too long for their games are only slowing down the pace of play. Three Tee Boxes = Easy Choice At a golf course with three sets of tees, the guidelines for choosing the correct set are pretty easy: The championship tees (back tees) are for low-handicap men.The middle tees are for middle to high handicap men, low-handicap or long-hitting women, and low-handicap or long-hitting senior men.The forward tees are for middle or high handicap women and seniors, and beginners of all stripes. How to Choose Yardage to Play From When There are Many Tee Boxes At courses whose tee boxes contain more than three sets of tees, it gets a little more complicated. But we can sort it out by considering the yardages that the professionals play from. On the PGA Tour, the average golf course length these days is around 7,200-7,300 yards. On the LPGA Tour, average golf course length is around 6,200 to 6,600 yards. On the Champions Tour for over-50 pros, average golf course length is around 6,500 to 6,800 yards. If you are a low-handicap golfer, then feel free to play from the set of tees that mimics the yardages on the pro tours (which will be the back tees for men). Low-handicap women and seniors might choose the set of tees whose yardage is 250-500 yards less than the averages of the LPGA and Champions tours, respectively. Mid-handicappers might choose the set of tees whose yardage is around 500-1,000 yards less than the pro tour that represents their gender or age. High-handicappers should consider the set of tees whose yardage is 1,000 to 1,500 yards less than the pros play. And beginners? Unless you know that you can hit the ball a good distance with at least a little bit of accuracy and consistency, then start from the forward tees. After a round or two from the forward tees, you'll have a pretty good idea (based on your score and your frustration level) if you should move back to a longer, tougher set of tees. And always remember that first rule of thumb we mentioned: If you are unable to reach the par-3 holes in one shot (we're talking distance, not actually getting your ball on the green), or unable to reach the par-4 holes in two shots from the set of tees you are playing, it's a good sign that you need to move up to a shorter set of tees. Another Method: Use Average 5-Iron Distance Here's another general guideline for choosing the distance at which to play a golf course: Take your average 5-iron distance (be honest!), multiply by 36, and choose the tees that most closely match that yardage. Example: You hit your 5-iron 150 yards. So 150 times 36 equals 5,400. Choose the tees closest to 5,400 yards in length. If you hit your 5-iron 180 yards, then look for tees around 6,500 yards (180 times 36 equals 6,480). PGA of America/USGA Recommendations for Choosing Proper Tee Box In 2011, the PGA of America and USGA issued a set of recommendations designed to encourage golfers to play from appropriate yardages. These guidelines are based on golfers' average driving distance. So find your driving distance, then see what yardage these two organizations recommend: Avg. drive Recommended Tees 300 yards 7,150-7,400 yards 275 yards 6,700-6,900 yards 250 yards 6,200-6,400 yards 225 yards 5,800-6,000 yards 200 yards 5,200-5,400 yards 175 yards 4,400-4,600 yards 150 yards 3,500-3,700 yards 125 yards 2,800-3,000 yards 100 yards 2,100-2,300 yards Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! 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