Fun NY Times Animation
What Tees Do You Play?
By Kickntrue on 5/4/09
The NY Times has an article today about "Swallowing Your Ego" and playing from the correct tees. We've had opinions shared on this site before about why playing from the tips is the ONLY way to go, but course designer Pete Dye sees it a different way.
GÇ£ThatGÇÖs to hide them from the ding-a-lings who donGÇÖt belong there,GÇ¥ Dye said, smiling mischievously. He was standing at the public Pound Ridge Golf Club, 35 miles northeast of New York City, a course so difficult it certainly doesnGÇÖt need added length.

GÇ£We love our pro tees, but too many nonpros march back there,GÇ¥ Dye said. GÇ£Then they wonder why theyGÇÖre not having fun.GÇ¥
This article has a couple nice gems,
The real reason people keep playing from the wrong tees is a charming little golf defense mechanism that keeps us playing at all. Most golfers think they are far better than they actually are. ItGÇÖs the only way to survive the truth of this merciless game.

We may acknowledge that the average male golfer hits his drive about 205 yards GÇö which is true GÇö but thank goodness most of us arenGÇÖt that average.
I think this article is well-meaning, and for the most part, I agree with it. There are a couple things that stand out though. They didn't mention much about actual length. I think most people probably the know the length of course they can handle. For me- I know 6800 is as far as I can go before it becomes long for me. I've played 7200 yard courses and if I'm not hitting amazing tee shots I'm screwed. So many times though, I join groups that insist on always playing the next-to-back tees no matter the course. That's just as egotistic and stupid. Sometimes the course's tips are only 6500 yards and the next-to-backs are around 6000. Same group- different course you can see the tips playing at 7000 but they still insist on playing the next-to-backs which are at 6700, longer than the boxes they avoided previously.

My other issue is the idea that pace-of-play is improved from lesser tees. A lot of times in my area I see courses on heavily trafficked days move all the tees up a box or even two to shorten the course as if this is going to speed up play. In my experience this actually slows things down, as you just end up more jumbled especially on par 5's, which should be holes that spread the course out. If you make a 525 yard par 5 play to 475, you're going to have a lot more people going for it in two (or being forced to wait just because they "can" hit the ball that far) and it ends up really tightening the groups. The best thing for pace of play would be to encourage people to play fast- but have EVERYONE play the tips. You can hit 10 shots badly a lot quicker than you can hitting one good one and having to wait for the green to clear.

NY Times


[ comments ]
PingRhoda says:
it really just depends on how i'm hitting the ball that day and who I'm playing with. There will be somedays I play from the Blues and some I will play from the Whites.
5/4/09
 
GolfSmith7 says:
How I choose is by yardage. I am most comfortable between 6300 and 6900 yards regardles if its the tips or not with 6900 being my upper limit. One day I will try a 7000+ yard course but I can't imagine being enjoyable unless the fairways are fast and running b/c I would need all the help I can get at that distance.
5/4/09
 
Ben Crane says:
I started playing tips after the last discussion. It is nice to hit something other than Driver-PW on each hole. Most of the time I do not even notice the difference in length. It seems like most of the holes there is a negligible difference in length between the tees and then 1 or 2 holes where it is 40+ yards - mostly on the par 3s. If there is a big difference in yardage, the course rating/slope usually ends up deciding for me.
5/4/09
 
kidputter says:
I play the tees the rest of my group plays. Generally the length is not an issue, just club management. If you know your clubs, it should not be a whole lot different for NET SCORING. You must maintain your normal swing and not be intimidated by increased yardages.
5/4/09
 
greendevil says:
I usually end up looking at the scorecard and examining the yardage differences per hole. If the yardage per hole is only 20 to 30 yards different from fronts to back, I will go ahead and play the tips (unless I see 225 yard par 3's). If I notice differences of more than 30 yards, then I know those tees are really meant for the better players; not me.
5/4/09
 
eggdog17 says:
should play by handicap. played with people that play blues and my drives will be well ahead of them. they ask why i'm not playing the blues. simple response is my handicap. maybe i'll move up when i consistantly play better than 85. its more fun hitting a decent drive and having an 8 iron or lower into the green. maybe i should just fix my short game.
5/4/09
 
Mookie says:
I'm with kidputter. I usually play what the rest of the group is playing, and my preference is usually determined by rating and slope. Sometimes I surprise myself. I usually play 68-70 rating, 119-120 slope tees, but I played whites at 70+ and 135 two weekends ago and played fairly well. It was good for my confidence. Anyway, you can't tell by yardage alone. There are longer courses that are more wide open and forgiving, so it's no big deal to play from the whites. There are shorter courses with high slope and ratings that are tough from any tee. Spur of the moment choice, but you should challenge yourself. For some of us, that doesn't mean the tips.
5/4/09
 
ToddRobb says:
I used to think only better players should play the back tees, now I can say I honestly don't care. If a guy wants to choose to make the course more difficult, it's not like it's dangerous like choosing a larger hill while skiing. Although, I think he does embarrass himself if he can't play to level of the tees he's chosen. As long as you're not slowing anyone down, have at it.
5/4/09
 
Kolt15 says:
i play tips 24/7
5/4/09
 
kidputter says:
KOLA, you're a scratch golfer. You SHOULD play from the tips.
5/4/09
 
Werepuppie says:
I have a strange system.When I play a course I pick the tees closest to 70 rating but not over.Then if I break 100,next time at that course I move back a tee.This forces me to play the 4-3w which I do not normally use from the ground.
5/4/09
 
joshnkt says:
I committed to myself that I would play the amateur tees (white) until I started to break 80 consistently. I like to have silly goals like that. I play with a fellow that insists on playing the tips and I'm always 3-5 strokes better than him. He says I need to come back to the tips. I say he needs to check his ego at the clubhouse and move up to the whites where he belongs.
5/4/09
 
Changed out says:
I usually play the Men's tee early in the year and once my game is some what together I'll move back to the tips. I figure if I am paying I may as well play the whole course.
5/5/09
 
Kolt15 says:
thats true kidputter
5/5/09
 
kidputter says:
HACKER 83, you're playing the whole course even if you play the senior tees. It all depends on whether you want to hit driver 3-wood or driver 7-iron. I prefer to use my irons more than the fairway woods.
5/5/09
 
ToddRobb says:
KOLA, you needed someone to tell you that?
5/5/09
 
Kolt15 says:
haha no toddrobb i sshould always play tips
5/5/09
 
TimmyBede says:
Once the tips pass 6900 yards I move towards the Middle tees. Know you're limits and know the limits of the players in your group.
5/6/09
 
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