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luchnia

What Tees for Average Higher HCP Golfer?

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I am sure this topic has been beaten to death, yet I still am curious as to how others handle this. I am an older golfer who is only so-so. Average round at 100 with a best of 87, then 92 and 97, or the not so good 105-110 game. I seem to hover right at 100 more consistently. I am not into cheating my score and do my very best to score my strokes properly. I am a bit anal about it actually 🙂

I have played from various Tees but in my area in Central VA we have some rolling hills on a lot of courses and I seem to feel most comfortable at the white tees which are usually between 5600 to maybe 6000 yds. I did play short Tees once, but wasn't as comfortable for some reason. My driver can vary from around 175 to 225 with a once in a while longer shot. Should I play the short Tees more and see how it works out?

I read all sorts of stuff about what Tees to play and I did the 5 iron math too. Just curious as to what most of you do concerning which Tees to play from and especially on a course you have not played before. I appreciate any insights you have.

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You’re right, there are quite a few threads about this that you might find interesting and helpful…

I tend to look at it a little differently than a lot of people. I don’t look much at the overall length of the course.  I look at the par-4s. If a set of tees has more than one or two par-4s where, given an average, decent drive (not the best drive you’ve ever hit) you’ll likely need to hit more than a 5-iron into the green, it’s time to move up.  
 

I don’t mind hitting longer irons or hybrids into par-3s if need be, and let’s face it, us older guys don’t expect to reach par-5s in 2 anyway, so the par-4s tell the tale for me.  It’s just not a fun day if you’re hitting hybrids and 3-woods into par-4s all day long.  

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18 minutes ago, luchnia said:

Should I play the short Tees more and see how it works out?

Sounds like you're enjoying the game from the middle tees. Golf is supposed to be fun, so I think golfers should play whatever tees are most enjoyable for them. Unless playing longer tees causes extreme pace of play problem.

I recently played with a group of three guys about 10 years older than me (I'm 42) who decided to play from the back tees when their ability/distance dictated middle or forward tees. It was painfully slow because when they weren't slicing the ball into the woods, they couldn't cover most forced carries, or topped their drives into the middle/forward teeing area.

If I'm playing my home course, I usually play from the middle tees. I know the course well enough to know that these are the tees that give me the best balance of challenge and opportunity, and results in the most enjoyment. For a course you know well, I think playing the tees your comfortable with is the way to go.

If I'm at a new course, I usually ask the starter or a local/regular in my group what tees they recommend for my handicap and/or distance and I've generally gotten sound advice. I end up playing from the middle tees everywhere (except for a few quirky courses that were very short). In a casual round, there's nothing wrong with switching tee boxes mid round.

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37 minutes ago, luchnia said:

 My driver can vary from around 175 to 225 with a once in a while longer shot. Should I play the short Tees more and see how it works out?

I have similar scoring and similar drive distance.  On my home course I also play the Whites, which is 6300 yds.  Some days better than others.... 

I would say it would depend on what you are trying to do.....  Get a lower score just to get a lower score or challenge yourself.

I'd say go ahead any try the closer tees a few times and see what happens. 

MY OPINION...….  Play for what YOU want to get out of it.  So what if your scoring is 100 - are you enjoying the game and having fun?  I know we all want to do better.  I know I do...…. Just have to work on different parts of the game to get better at it.  Have you read the book Lowest Score Wins yet?  That will help point out a few things...…..

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3 minutes ago, IowaGreg said:

Have you read the book Lowest Score Wins yet?

I second this recommendation if you are looking to score better. I recently received my copy of the book and got about 75% through it before work/home got busier (tends to happen around the holidays) and I had to take a break. But I plan to finish it over the holiday break and start working on strategies in the book in the new year.

The book may seem expensive for a golf instruction book, given the amount of cheaper golf books that you may find on Amazon, but it is really high quality content, and well worth it. There's a lot in the book to unpack, so I can't summarize in a few sentences that would do it justice, but highly recommended.

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There is no right set of tees for people. 

Play the tees that make the game challenging and fun. This is a leisure activity not a profession for most of us.

Shorter tees means more distance down the fairway and shorter clubs into the green. I would expect to play a variety of clubs to the greens. IF you are comfortable and it is fun hitting 3i or hybrid into 5-6 greens a round Great. If you want to be able to hit partial wedges into every green FINE.

I enjoy 6,300 to 6,900, average 255 (per Arccos) off the tee and routinely play 4-Gap into the greens. I can reach a few par 5s in 2. That is a good fit. I don't want to survive 7,200 and pitch and putt 5,200 (at least not often).

 

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Thanks for the replies. Much appreciated and I enjoy getting different angles to this question.

The thing is I enjoy the game pretty much anywhere I play from, yet I really have spend most of my time on the whites and some courses here have a set of tees between white and the tips they are kind of nice. I have played those too. I think as I improve I will eventually get a better "hang" of it. I know early in the year I struggled really bad 3 putting, but I worked really hard on my putting and short game. The last few times out most of my puts were 2 puts so that felt really nice and I chipped a few within two foot of the hole.

Also another thing the last time out I did not have my usually blow up hole(s). I did get two 8s or 9s (don't remember right now) on par 5s, but I was experimenting with my fairway woods on a second shot and then third shot bombing for the green and should of used my irons. Ah the choices we make in golf 🙂

I remember telling my buddy when I pulled the woods out of the bag to mess around I should have shot my irons. I like risky shots sometimes though, but gut instinct really knows best and I did not follow it. My buddy just laughed caused it cost me several strokes before all was said and done and then I wound up 3 putting those two holes.

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When in doubt, just ask the counter guy, and/or the starter. Example would be "I'm a 10 hdcp. Which set of tees do you recommend for this course?"

On more than a few courses, the color of tee boxes won't matter very much. These would be courses where the different tee boxes are really close together. 

 

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On 12/6/2019 at 12:01 PM, David in FL said:

I tend to look at it a little differently than a lot of people. I don’t look much at the overall length of the course.  I look at the par-4s. If a set of tees has more than one or two par-4s where, given an average, decent drive (not the best drive you’ve ever hit) you’ll likely need to hit more than a 5-iron into the green, it’s time to move up.  
 

I don’t mind hitting longer irons or hybrids into par-3s if need be, and let’s face it, us older guys don’t expect to reach par-5s in 2 anyway, so the par-4s tell the tale for me.  It’s just not a fun day if you’re hitting hybrids and 3-woods into par-4s all day long.  

I completely agree with this train of thought.

I started a thread some time ago about what I considered to be the fallacy of gold tees, (forward tees of whatever color).

In short, the course needs to be designed in a way that moving forward actually lets you play a shorter shot to the green on mostly par 4 holes. A lot of courses I've played don't do that. When I have to play short of a lake or canal from the white tees, but moving forward doesn't let me hit over that lake or canal, I still need to play short and I still have the same long shot into a green. Moving forward to hit 3 wood off a tee instead of driver is of no help what so ever.

My point was, your benefit from moving to a forward tee will vary with the course. If the course has par holes that pass the test the way David described, leaving you shorter shots into the green as a result of your average drive, then it makes sense to move up.

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On 12/6/2019 at 8:46 AM, luchnia said:

I am sure this topic has been beaten to death, yet I still am curious as to how others handle this. I am an older golfer who is only so-so. Average round at 100 with a best of 87, then 92 and 97, or the not so good 105-110 game. I seem to hover right at 100 more consistently. I am not into cheating my score and do my very best to score my strokes properly. I am a bit anal about it actually 🙂

I have played from various Tees but in my area in Central VA we have some rolling hills on a lot of courses and I seem to feel most comfortable at the white tees which are usually between 5600 to maybe 6000 yds. I did play short Tees once, but wasn't as comfortable for some reason. My driver can vary from around 175 to 225 with a once in a while longer shot. Should I play the short Tees more and see how it works out?

I read all sorts of stuff about what Tees to play and I did the 5 iron math too. Just curious as to what most of you do concerning which Tees to play from and especially on a course you have not played before. I appreciate any insights you have.

I wanted to edit and say that the 5 iron math stuff uses traditional loft blade 5 irons, not game improvement lofted cavity backed 5 irons. Use an average of your 6 and 7 iron carry distance for this calculation depending upon the loft of your 7 iron.

Here is where you should play from according to the "USGA/PGA Tee It Forward" program. Take your Average tee shot with your driver - that's average. Looks like yours is around 200 - 210 on a good day. Don't go by the "sometimes I hit a longer shot" - we all catch it on the screws once in a while. 

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Edited by DrvFrShow

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16 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

I wanted to edit and say that the 5 iron math stuff uses traditional loft blade 5 irons, not game improvement lofted cavity backed 5 irons. Use an average of your 6 and 7 iron carry distance for this calculation depending upon the loft of your 7 iron.

Here is where you should play from according to the "USGA/PGA Tee It Forward" program. Take your Average tee shot with your driver - that's average. Looks like yours is around 200 - 210 on a good day. Don't go by the "sometimes I hit a longer shot" - we all catch it on the screws once in a while. 

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I'll driver between 175 and 225 , so 200 is probably my spot. My favourite course is a par 68 with 7 par 3's. The whites are about 5,100. From there I can break 80. Even got a 5 over this season.

My wife and I play the whites. 

On my own , with walk ons, I let the testosterone set in so play wherever that group choose. They usually choose blues or sometimes blacks. 

That becomes painful. I'll still break 90 but those folks just shouldn't be there. They don't hit driver even my length, and its a painful day watching them loose a dozen balls each. 

For most of us hackers, Choice of tees seems to be testosterone driven. Score nor risk reward enters the equation

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I use a variation of the 5 iron rule. For me I like to play from where my average drive puts me in the 160 and under for a second shot. At most of the courses that still will leave 3/4 par 4s over 18 that I have to us a long iron or hybrid to reach in 2. Seems challenging enough for me.

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Based on my driver distances I am pretty similar to the OP. For me any  course that totals greater than about 5,800 yards is just too long for me. 

I read somewhere that if you’re not competing but just playing for fun you might want to try playing variations like a “red, white and blue” round. Meaning - play the par 5s from red, par 4s from white and par 3s from blue. 
 

Depending on the course that might make those longer courses more accessible.

 

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I would suggest play the next set of tees at a shorter distance for a month or so. See how you fare. If you like it and can play to a lower score and enjoy it more stay there. If not go back to the white tees.

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15 hours ago, tehuti said:

Based on my driver distances I am pretty similar to the OP. For me any  course that totals greater than about 5,800 yards is just too long for me. 

I read somewhere that if you’re not competing but just playing for fun you might want to try playing variations like a “red, white and blue” round. Meaning - play the par 5s from red, par 4s from white and par 3s from blue. 
 

Depending on the course that might make those longer courses more accessible.

 

This would make for a most interesting game. I never saw anyone try that. I can see where it would add a variety of enjoyable challenges. 

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I'm with David in Fl as well. Here'e what clued me in. A local course that I play quite often is 36 holes, and the finishing hole on each nine is a long par 4 anywhere from 420 to 435 yards from the white tees. When I found myself having to hit 3 woods to the green on long par 4's even after a decent, for me, drive, I knew I needed to move up! 

I finally convinced my buddy, who was steadfastly refusing to see reality. He teed off from the whites on a 400 yard par 4. As we drove to the gold tees I asked him how far he thought he hit it, He said about 260. When we got to his ball his Garmin watch said he had 180 in! I said if he hit it 260 on a 400 yard hole, he should have 140 in, not 180! He actually tried to claim something was wrong with his GPS! So I told him to hit his 140 club. He came up 40 yards short! Oh, was he hot! 

Also, moving up doesn't have to be absolute. We also play courses where we consider some holes to be too short from the golds. Like a 340-350 yard par 4 from the whites, where the golds put you at about 290! On those holes we'll play the whites again.

Edited by Buckeyebowman

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10 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

I finally convinced my buddy, who was steadfastly refusing to see reality. He teed off from the whites on a 400 yard par 4. As we drove to the gold tees I asked him how far he thought he hit it, He said about 260. When we got to his ball his Garmin watch said he had 180 in! I said if he hit it 260 on a 400 yard hole, he should have 140 in, not 180! He actually tried to claim something was wrong with his GPS! So I told him to hit his 140 club. He came up 40 yards short! Oh, was he hot! 

 

I think most people "think" they hit it farther than they do until some actual measurements are done. They really aren't fooling anyone but themselves. Where the ball lands won't lie to anyone. I am realistic about my distances because that is important to me in order to play a quality game. I find on average that most hit it around 25 to even on occasion 50 yds less than they realize. I would state that most are around 15-25 less.

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51 minutes ago, luchnia said:

I think most people "think" they hit it farther than they do until some actual measurements are done. They really aren't fooling anyone but themselves. Where the ball lands won't lie to anyone. I am realistic about my distances because that is important to me in order to play a quality game. I find on average that most hit it around 25 to even on occasion 50 yds less than they realize. I would state that most are around 15-25 less.

and @Buckeyebowman, Because of that "one time" they hit it further, they think that is their reasonably good average.  Often, that "one time" was downhill, downwind, and off a cart path to boot!  The only good way to deal with distance is to get on a launch monitor and do a reasonably good average of your carry numbers.

Edited by ncates00

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