Shorter Tee Challenge

Frank and Valerie,
Thank you for allowing us to comment on the subject of golf carts and their effect on the game. This is a discussion with many pros and cons but mostly cons in my opinion. People who don’t know how to play golf in carts contribute to slow play, they don’t speed it up.

My question is not about carts but the length of golf course we play.

I have a 9.4 handicap, I am 58 years old and believe that I am playing the wrong set of tees (6,650 yards) influenced in part by my playing partners (who all have handicaps of 15 or less). They don’t understand that we would enjoy our game more if we moved up to the 6,300 yard markers.

How do I persuade them to move up?

First let me thank you for your comments and yes, the cart issue has drawn many comments – very considered — from our viewers as you have noticed. Sharing your comments creates a forum with a lively exchange and in the long run, is good for the game.

Regarding the set of tees you are playing, I suggest that you challenge your friends to a match from the 6,300 yard tees. You may even consider this an experiment to see how it may affect the speed of play and also the overall enjoyment. This may result in all of you persuading the rest of the club to move up.

Valerie (+2 handicap) and I (5.2) recently played about twelve rounds on a course of 6,100 yards long from the back tees (challenging because of the daily changes in wind) and enjoyed every round very much.

We were using clubs not often taken from the bag and it allowed us to hone our game. Most importantly we enjoyed the experience and when playing a two ball we were often able to play in less than 3 hours WALKING.

If anyone has any other suggestions for Mark regarding how to persuade his playing partners to move up, please share them below.

Mark, please let us know how the experiment goes. I am sure it will help you and your playing partners enjoy your game more.

14 thoughts on “Shorter Tee Challenge

  1. Frank, I try to limit my distance at 6200 yds enve though my home course I play at 5700 yds. The difference in length is not a problem for me as my short game is my buggaboo at the present time. I am quickly approaching 70 yrs young, I can still hit my drives 230 yds on a regular basis and on ocassion an additional 10 to 15 yds. But from 100 yds in it is anybodys guess what I might do. Because of this I shoot in the low to mid 80’s on a regular basis with score in the upper 70’s once in a while. I give a lot a credit to the fact of the equiptment I have been fitted to, and finnally getting it through my thick skull that just because I swing as hard as I can will not mean that the ball will go farther, in fact the opposite for me is true. It took a lot of years to grow smart..

  2. The long ball is ruining golf–longer rounds, slower play, less enjoyment. Move up and enjoy the game as it was originally designed to be played.

  3. I couldn’t agree more about moving up and having fun again. I am 69 years old and I have a 4 hcp. It has been four or less for more than 40 years. When I turned 60 I moved up one tee from championship to white and the game was fun again. I still play the back tee occasionally, but only when I have to in a tournament. Most of the group I play with is older than I am and they have moved up another tee to the senior tee and they are having a ball. Once in a while I move up with them and my scores improve just as they did when I moved from blue to white. To be honest, with the drive being of less importance I have more fun playing up. We regularly play in 3 to 3 1/2 hrs. We usually have two foursomes and we finish within 10 minutes of each other. As I tell people, “try it, you might like it once you get your ego out of the way”.

  4. As long time golf chairman, handicap chairman, and slow-play sheriff, I have been battling selected player tees for too long. Absolutely, a large percentage of the field should move up to tees presenting a shorter track, as many others have commented herein. But not one person has commented on a serious problem I have encountered. Almost all club competition is played using handicaps. My beef is with course ratings, where a move up takes away too many handicap shots…why? Because our current handicap system calculation is based more than 80% on course length, which needs revision (for information only, I am a qualified course rater in my section). My club members do not want to give up say 3 or 4 shots to move up…and rightfully so. The trade off in distance is not equitable to the change in handicap.They do gain in yardage but in no other category. They have to avoid all the trouble spots, still have to hit the green, and still have to putt the same greens they did before move up. A solution is to not weight course length as heavily as is now done in calculating slope and rating. Moving up is necessary, but we have to keep handicap competition fair while doing so. Its a complex package that needs to be addressed in whole, not in part. We did not reach this conclusion on our home course only. We actually played groups of players at different courses and pretty much came up with the same conclusion. I have been in this battle for a decade. Respectfully tired.

  5. Your latest posting on which set of tees to play is very sensible. Most players play from AT LEAST one set of tees too far back for their skill level. As a result, the rounds tend to be less enjoyable AND take too long to play. Normally I play from the blues (6463) which does not pose any problems for me, but it does for quite a few of the guys in my golf league. Yet they refuse to consider playing the whites (6129). Occasionally, I play from the whites for a change and score about the same as I do from the whites. Today I decided to play from the whites after a 1 month lay off because of a neck/shoulder injury and apart from pain issues I had a great time finishing in 3 hours and 20 minutes and posting one of my best scores this year (42/41) with 17 putts on the front 9 and 11 on the back 9. I mention this because I have been unable to do anything but chip and putt for the past month. I mention this because it supports your position that the short game and putting in particular is THE key to scoring. When I looked at my scorecard I realized that I only hit 4 greens in regulation on the front and none on the back.

  6. I reasoned with a friend that we should be hitting the same irons into the greens that the pros were and so , by moving up, we had the same approach shot values for all intents and purposes. Even in so doing, we still have long par fours that bring a hybrid or long iron into play. Hitting a seven iron in is always more fun than hitting a 5 iron in on some of the more challenging par fours. It still even outs. The challenge remains.

  7. I have a suggestion. Mark should tell his playing partners he is moving up to see if it improves his game. Once he starts shooting better scores they should get the idea.

  8. Mark, I’d suggest you toss around the idea of a few small wagers to your group-mates, if you don’t already do so … small $ amounts, or “points” instead, redeemable for who buys the first round of drinks at the 19th hole … moving to shorter tees could, theoretically, increase chances of driving in the fairway, or having a shorter, more controllable shot into the green, which might earn you or your buddy a “greenie” or a “bingo”, first on, or a “bango”, closest to the pin once everybody reaches the green, or a “bongo”, first to hole out … and of course the old favorite Nassau … and remember to watch the total time of the round to see if you finished quicker (thereby allowing for another round of drinks while still leaving the course at the same time as when playing the longer tees) … and I’m sure a Google search will turn up lots more ways to wager amongst your buddies.

  9. I recently moved up. One parameter I used was how many par 4 greens was I able to reach in regulation without using a 3 wood. We have 8 par 4’s. I could only reach one par 4 using a mid to short iron. The other 7 par 4’s required driver, 3 wood and a short pitch. It became ludicrous. Now I have a chance to reach every green in regulation with a range of second shot distances from 120 – 160 yds. Golf is fun again.


  10. I’ve moved up to a closer tee and now, I’m able to reach most of the greens in regulation. The slope and rating for that move isn’t that much AND I’m shooting better scores. I shot my best round in 6-years by that move. I played a round in 2 Hrs. 10 Min. by myself and 2 Hrs. and 50 Min. with my wife. It does make a difference in time spent on the course.

  11. At 64, but still a strong golfer, I have resisted moving up tees. This year I did the “experiment” as you described Frank. It’s a VERY different game. Driver only occasionally, lots of finesse shots from 80 years and in, and putting is critical. Results: lots of rounds in the 70’s, several eagles…but the triples can come calling. And in outings, everyone wants to be your friend! Move up while you’re still strong. I’m a believer! Check the ego at the desk…and have fun!

  12. Hi Frank and Valerie,
    300 yds does not seem like much of a difference. I would be more interested in the difference in slope rating. At my local muni, the back tees are 6255 and the white tees are 5740 – neither are overly long. The slope ratings are 118 and 113. Where the difference comes into play are on the par 3s. For instance, on one short par 3, the white tees are 130 across water while the back tees can be 160 across water. This hole and the next hole (with water on both sides and in front of the green) account for much of the slow play and backups. Prideful players trying the back tees spend much time searching for balls or reloading when they rinse a ball. On the weekends, all tees should be moved forward to force playing from a forward position. My suggestion for choosing tees is simple…if you can’t hit the fairway bunkers from the tee, then you are playing too far back. Using that as my standard, I am now playing the white tees and I suggest that Mark use that approach with his friends.

    • You guys are lucky to have a choice of tees! In the UK the ladies play only from Red tees, so for most of us it’s a matter of slogging our way round as we get older because using the Junior tees would be frowned on. Happily though, some clubs are beginning to build proper tees for Seniors and Juniors.

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