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Moving Up a Tee Box - Do You Play Better or Worse?


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There is another thread on playing the right tees based on yardage, rating, etc.  But my question to everyone is if you move up a tee box to play an event, do you score better or worse?  On the surface you could expect that shorter yardage on some holes will yield a better score for that hole. On some holes it may not matter at all.  
To me club selection comes into play.  I’ve had to set a criteria for short par 4’s that are 370 or shorter, I use a 3 or 4 wood!  Driver seems to much.  Of course the setup of the course, dogleg holes, downhill, forced carries etc come into play on which club to use. I find that I don’t play better, perhaps I’m dialed in for certain yardages for second shots.  An example is I played the Green tees at 5683 yards and did not score well.  Shot 12 over par!  Played the White tees tees today (same course) at 6180 yards. Shot 3 over 75.

I think I tend to think I can overpower the corse at shorter yardage, maybe I lose focus on the shots I take? I find I’m more focused having to hit the green from 150 versus 110 (tend to go long).

Not ready to move up unless I have too!  What are your thoughts or experiences on this topic.

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I've played all three of the tee boxes at my home course, and my scores don't change enough to notice. It is not a particularly long course at ~6300 yards from the back, 71.4 rating (par 70). I tend to have around 2-3 high event holes per round, usually from tee shots OB/lost/penalty area, and then having to play the next shot from a bad position. My high event holes happen randomly without regard to the length or difficulty of the hole, so I don't get any confidence boost for playing from the forward tees.

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I've only attempted this a few times but moving up to the shorter tees is easier for me.   The difference on the course near my house is 643 yards.   I'd rather hit a pitching wedge into the green instead of a 7 iron and there are a couple par 5 holes I can definitely reach in two from the forward tees.   

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  • iacas changed the title to Moving Up a Tee Box - Do You Play Better or Worse?

A common thought is that one wants to leave a "full shot" into greens. Based on the numbers this is straight up wrong think. Unless there is some sort of very hazardous hazard at your drivers distance, you are leaving shots on the table by not taking. 

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I'm still competitive from the whites, which is where I play most if my rounds from.

My Granddaughter and I played from the whites today in fact. That's where she likes to play from. It was a close round for us (79-81)

If I moved up to the Ladies tee, I can usually shoot lower scores, but not by much. Maybe a stroke or two. It's just the opposite if I move back farther. 

Just about everyone i play with tee off from the tips, or whites. Our super senior league uses the whites. 

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@Sandy Lie-Might have the wrong person but did you say before that moving up a set will save you ten shots?

I play whatever tees the members I am playing with are playing.-Usually the CR and my score track. Some holes-If I play way way up- have a few forced layups that might affect score by half a shot or something over 18holes but even that is small.

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No on the saving ten shots.  Must have been someone else.

On a side note I played the White tees on Course #4 playing at 6,428 yards, shot 39/38: 77. Originally thought play the Green/White hybrids which would have drop total yards to just under 5,900.  

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10 minutes ago, Sandy Lie said:

No on the saving ten shots.  Must have been someone else.

No-It was you.

I do not really care-But that was the clear implication- Ten shots better by moving up a set of tees.

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I’ve moved up in team practices (the only time I played at least nine holes was my freshman year, and I shot 46 from the red tees on the back nine), but never in my own rounds. For reference, my home course has four sets of tees, blue (~6450), white (~6050), gold (~5500) and red (~5000).

I play probably 95% of my rounds from the white tees, but I will occasionally move back to the blues. Honestly, from the gold tees (a tee up from the whites), it only makes a huge difference in the shots I’m hitting on a few holes. Here are the three major differences.

No. 7: 140 from the white tees, you can run it through a narrow gap and onto the green. The gold tees are about 130, but considerably right of the whites, which means you just about have to hit it over the front bunker.

No. 9: Par 5, 445 from whites, 380 from golds. There’s a huge bunker at the corner of the dogleg left that takes about 230 to carry from the whites, which I can only do with my top drives (average goes between  225 and 240 total). I can probably carry it from the golds. 

No. 18: A daunting all-carry par three over a lake. Almost 160 from the whites, which is usually between a 5- and 7-iron for me. Those aren’t my best clubs either, which makes it more challenging. Moving to the golds makes the hole a mere 100 yards, a wedge. I’m much more confident with a wedge than a mid iron.

A solid round for me from the whites is about 90. If I moved up to the golds, I think I might drop to like 88, but that’s about it. I’ll try it soon and report back to this topic.

Edited by dagolfer18
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Thought you were talking about this post. The comment in that post 6 months ago was a question suggesting a 10 shot differential was a possibility for anyone, that’s all.

You have a good memory!

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Moving up usually makes the challenge in front of you easier.  There are times, however, when moving up makes some holes more problematic.  

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On the courses I play most moving up a tee or two moves you to a whole new tee box which takes the bend out of the doglegs. I expect I would score better but I like the challenge of being forced to bend a shot if one is inclined to hit a driver around the bend as opposed to laying up at the bend.

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On 11/18/2020 at 6:34 PM, Sandy Lie said:

Not ready to move up unless I have too!  What are your thoughts or experiences on this topic.

I score better when playing a shorter course.  I have not played enough shorter tees to know for sure whether my differentials are similar but based on a small sampling the past couple months, it is close.

Perhaps your lack of experience playing from a shorter tee is the issue.  If you consistently play from a certain length, initially the shorter tees will require some adjustments.  You also are likely correct that your attitude/attention is less because one may feel like the course is easy.  As we all find out, golf is not easy and one still needs to hit good shots no matter the length.

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My playing partner is a little older, a lot less serious about the game.  So we play the 'reds' and it changes the game, the course.  I love it because I can play a hole like the bigboys on tv - driver - wedge, or driver - 9 iron, par 5s possible hitting green in two almost always around the collar or hole high.  It actually more consistently puts the hazards back into play for me.
I also have hooked back up with some friends from the old days, when we played in our 20s-30s, persimmon days into the days of the first conversions to steel woods and cavity backs.  Everybody is mid to late 60s nowaday and these guys are still insisting on the whites on some courses, gold (srs.) on most though.  and I can't play for score.

I like the shorter course mainly because it is easier on my old body, not as much struggle, not as many long shots out of rough or deep rough conditions, not as many penalty shots.  I do score 8-10 shots better and of course a lot faster rounds. 

... never would have thought of this alternative without this site. 

 

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On 11/18/2020 at 6:58 PM, iacas said:

Better relative to par but not necessarily to the differential.

This is exactly what I found. I moved up to the senior tees to play my hickories in our golf league this year. While my average score dropped about 3.4 strokes, my handicap didn't budge given the lower course rating for the senior tees. I did enjoy the change and actually had my first hole-in-one .... ironically that par 3 hole had the seniors and white tees at the same distance.

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I don't think I play better, but the course plays different. When I play the back tees, I usually can't hit the fairway bunkers, or hit it through the fairway. When I move up, then those same bunkers come into play, and I can drive it through a dogleg into the trees. Of course, I've adjusted to that by using a 3 wood or even  an iron off the tee where I'll use a driver from the back tees.

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