Young: Why Choose The Wrong Teeing Ground?

Unless you're a pro, playing from the back tees is probably a bad idea, writes Bruce Young.
Perhaps one of the more telling misconceptions by golfers of most standards is that we think we hit the ball further than we actually do.

Numerous studies over the years have highlighted the fact that average driving distances for golfers in the mid-handicap range is around the 200-metre mark and, if most can drive close to 200 metres and reasonably straight on a regular basis, then we should be getting a lot more enjoyment out of the game than we presently do.

The one factor that can assist in this enjoyment does not involve spending hours in the gym to build the sort of body you feel is needed to hit as far as you tell people you can. Nor does it mean spending hundreds of dollars on equipment or lessons to achieve that same result, but rather to play from the teeing grounds that best suit your abilities.

Perhaps it is their masochistic nature or that they have egos well above their capabilities, but I find it amusing that many golfers, totally incapable of playing a golf course from its tips, will put themselves through near hell just so they can avoid what they might see as the embarrassment of playing from forward tees or as we know them in this country, the ‘white tees’.

A study completed in 2017 from statistics gathered in 2016 indicates that the average driving distance for golfers in the mid-handicap range is just under 200 metres but how often have you seen players incapable of drives anywhere near that level battling away from the tips (black tees) or those a little shorter (blue tees)?

I recall a classic example of just this when playing behind a group not long after the opening of the Brookwater Golf Club near Brisbane. That group included players around the 15 – 20 handicap mark but as we caught up to them and asked them how they were enjoying the Greg Norman-designed layout, there was a lot of muttering and moaning about just how demanding the golf course was.

One look at the tees from where they were playing gave the solution to most of their issues. Yes, you guessed it, players totally incapable of hitting the golf ball any further than 200 metres, or straight for that matter, were battling away from the very tips of one of Australia’s most demanding layouts 

Call me dumb, call me stupid, but I am a great believer in getting enjoyment out of the game rather than punishing myself by hitting approaches to greens from a point a long way from where a designer had ever intended. In many cases, I still do!

An initiative by the PGA of America and the USGA called Tee if Forward was introduced several years ago and was considered a step in the right direction although some still need convincing.

Understanding, experiencing and perhaps bettering the strategies involved in the intent of a designer is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the game. 

Attempting to do so from well short of where the designer created many of those same strategies seems pointless to this writer.

Admittedly, there are occasions when club competitions or other will provide a golfer with little choice as to where he begins a hole but if you are out for a social round and plenty of enjoyment, and not attempting to rule the golfing world, then put your ego aside and enjoy the ride.

At a time when we are trying to make the game more enjoyable and attract more to it, its a no brainer to encourage as many golfers as possible to play a golf course from suitable teeing grounds.  

I would much rather enjoy a golf course than endure one.


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