What distance tees do you play?

I’m over 70 and a good drive with roll out is 180-200. I have seen a formula where they say take your good drive distance and multiply it by 28 so far me that says 5500-5700 yards. I’ve put my long-hitting days ego aside and "play it forward’ like both USGA and PGA of America recommend. My enjoyment factor has increased a lot since I am not hitting hybrids into every par 4.
I’d be interested in what some of you are thinking about this subject.


6000-6500 is my preference. ShotScope says I average 239 but it sure seems like 225 to me. I guess that’s why we measure.

League story: We play a pretty difficult course. Everyone plays from the blue tees (6800). Three years ago we said that 50+ could play the whites (6300) and some of our older golfers were appreciative (including me). Two years ago a scratch member turned 50 and just destroyed the course from the white tees. Last year, we changed the rule to be 50+ and 10+ handicap. That put Pat back to the blues but it put me back there too. And it was the least enjoyable season I’ve had in a while.

We’re using age and handicap as a proxy for driver distance and it’s not perfect. I think driver distance is the best indicator of the tees you should play, but it’s impossible to measure. And I’m not buying everyone in the league a ShotScope watch.

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That formula is not working for me. According to the x 28 factor, I could play close to 7,000 yards and I had not been anywhere close to that yardage for more than a decade, even in the Summer months.
I still carry my tee shot 230-240 + roll out. My dilemma is with losing distance with my irons. I should take a second look of changing the shafts in my iron set.
My favorite and time tested shafts in my iron sets were the old Rifle 6.0 flighted in one set and none in the other set, of course all Hogan irons were Apex-4 with one set being Apex-5.
I think it’s time to go graphite shafts in the irons, not so much for the flex but more because of the weight.
This will present an issue of “feel” when changed to a light weight graphite shaft from steel shafts. I might need to find a new set of irons instead trying to reduce the head weights on the old ones.

I’m very comfortable with length of the golf course up to 6,600 yards in the warm and dry months and nothing over 6,300 yards for the cooler wet months.

I started golf on golf courses under 6,400 yards with persimmon woods and muscle back irons. Been increasing to close to 7,000 yards with the newer drivers and newer golf balls in recent years. Now, regressing back to the -6,400 yards, still using the newer equipment.
My guideline is that if I could reach most of the par-4 with irons / hybrids, I’m okay with it, Not when I’ll need to pull out a 3 wood or a 4 wood for approach shot on a par-4 hole.
Maybe, realistically speaking, the multiplier factor of a 25/26 is more applicable in my case.


I play the 6700 tees at my club… 7100 is a beating and the 6500 introduces some weird distances… but I hit the ball about 280.


Interesting league story. When Pat shifted to the whites and had his way with the course, did he go from scratch to a plus 3/4/5 handicap index?

Personally, I generally play 6500-6700 yd tee boxes, but may vary by course. I’m a 9.8 index and my course handicaps usually run maybe 9-12. My average Tee ball is 240-250. On the courses I play, playing up a tee box is a good change / challenge and the course handicaps usually seem to make sense.

I agree with one of the other commenters that playing back a tee box usually makes for a tough round. A good challenge now and again but difficult on a regular basis. Especially when playing with guys hitting 280+.

I’ve played 45 different courses this year and my question for the pro/starter/caddie always is “I’m a xx index, what tee boxes should I be playing?”


In Jon’s book he includes a lotta stats, charts, tables, graphs, etc; including this one from the PGA on suggested course length based on average driver carry…


Age 63. I built my distance off the tee box back up last year. I use a monitor to see where I’m at distance wise and hit the Driver 235-255 on average. I know that sounds like a big spread, but when we tee off and I’m not very loose, I’m on the low end by 6th hole I’m on the higher end. I have found for fun sake I’m maxxed out around 6400 yds. Anywhere from 5800-6400, I’m ok. My new Golf club plays a very long 6280 and I’m getting used to it. The course is completely rebuilt and is just beautiful, alot of the greens are rebuilt, they are raised and have alot of false fronts… Once I dial the carry distance in, I’ll get better, but for now alot less GIR…But if I got offered to play like Augusta or Pebble Beach and the caveat was play them at 7200 yds I wouldn’t turn it down…LOL. My competitive days are long passed, no ego here, it’s about reality and fun. That chart is pretty spot on. One other thing, and I know I’ve been lambasted on here for it, anyone just move around? I do, especially playing against my partners. For instance, They play the par 3s from the middle tees and they are 140 to 170… 170 for me is a 6i, for them its a 5w. That’s a huge advantage, so I drop back to the tips and play the same hole from 215 which is a 5 hybrid for me …evens life out. When I can, I move to where I’m hitting the same club they are. I can reach a 500 yd par 5 in 2, with great strikes… they cant. So I move around A/N.


Quick question… so when you moved back, that should have increased your handicap by alot, which then should have moved you forward no? Do you guys use the rating and slope to figure out where u should be? I mean you can play a course from 6500 and a rating of 120 and be ok…You could play Pine Valley from the front tees at 5700 yds with a 152 rating and if you arent very smart you will not have fun, you might break a couple clubs and you won’t break 100! So, in all reality, it really just depends

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Quite a few golf courses around here will move the member’s tee around in the Summer months. By using a different color for the designated “Members Tee”.
By that, the “member’s tee” will be a mixture of white, blue and black tees with the 18. Being many of the golf courses are built on hilly/rolling terrain, Summer months will play quite different with a lot more rolling out distance.
Playing the “member’s tee” will really make a golfer rethink how to manage the golf course.
Somedays, when we got bored, we’ll alternate the tee boxes to add a little spice to the game. One week we’ll play all even numbered holes on white tee and the rest on blue tees… or to play white tees from all par 3 and play all par 5 from blue tees…
Club selection off the tee box will sometimes be forced to change when we mix the tee boxes in a round.
Of course, some of the guys will hit a driver regardless of which tee box we selected.
But for the most guys, when we play a forward tee, often times it’ll take out the designed hazards all together. Those fairway bunkers and lateral hazards will no longer be a concern if a good tee shot could carry the distance from the forward tee.
Try that sometimes, mix your own “members tees” . It’ll be a lot of fun if you choice the right hole to change the teeing distance.

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I think you make a good point here. These distances shouldn’t necessarily be handicap-based. Judging by my ball speeds and distances (slow and short) i should rate out as an 18-20 index and maybe more but my index is 10.8 because I can still score with golf sense

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I remember seeing this. It seems too short to me in practice at the </= 175 number. Is that carry or total?

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I think that’s total, in Jon’s chart.

I’ve heard 28 X Driving Distance or 36 X 5-iron distance. You’ll get different numbers with those, and it’s sort of an upper bound/lower bound deal.

I play from the Whites, for now, though I have the distance on well-struck balls to play anywhere that isn’t designed to be ridiculous (E.g. 7700+ yd courses).

Lengthy forced carries are a pain. I mean, I can carry it 260 through the air, but being forced to do it—or eat an OB/Hazard—isn’t fun at all.


66 year old here. I moved up to the senior tees this year (the golds on my course), a change that I have really enjoyed. Frankly, I cannot reach any Par 4 over 340 yards or Par 5 over 445 in regulation, and at that I am hitting a hybrid or lofted fairway wood as an approach shot. It is much more fun to reach in regulation with an iron…good for GIR too.


Trying to look up if that chart referred to carry or total, but the articles I’ve found only say “driver distance” … so I’m guessing it means average total…?

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Here’s an fyi of the three main methodologies that have been discussed in here…

"Tee it Forward sounds like a really good idea on paper. And, there are a few methods you can use to determine what tee you should play:

  1. Rule of 28: The distance you should play is based on how far you hit your drive x 28. So if your drive is 200 yards, then you should play from a tee that is close to 5,600 yards.
    [Here is the rationale]

  2. Rule of 36: The distance you should play is based on how far you hit your 5 iron x 36. So if you hit your 5 iron 160 yards, then you should play from a tee that is close to 5,760 yards.
    [Here is the rationale]

  3. Rule of The PGA: The PGA put together a chart based on driving distance. For example if you drive the ball 200 yards you should play from a tee that is 5200 – 5400 yards long, and if your drive 175 yards then the course yardage should be 4400 – 4600 yards.
    [Here is the rationale]

So, it would appear that these various methods of calculating what tees you should play from, come up with very similar results."

…then the article goes on to say…

"However, even if these numbers are correct, in practice, the every day golfer is not going to play a course that puts them at the first tee box. There seems to be a disconnect between the way golf course tees are set up and the Tee It Forward initiative. I’ll bet there aren’t too many regular 18 hole golf courses with tees that are 4600 yards for the guy who hits a 175 yard drive. So what’s the real basis for these recommendations?

According to the the United States Golf Association, since 2005, the average male amateur’s handicap has been between 14 and 15. Golf Handicap and Information Network (GHIN) shows similar numbers of 15.3 handicap in 2003 and 14.3 handicap in 2012. Trackman statistics report the average club head speed at the 14-15 handicap level is about 93.4 mph, yielding an average total distance of 214 yards per drive. I don’t know about you, but that seems longer than most of the guys I play with. So maybe, just maybe, it’s these “average golfers” who can hit 214 yards drives, and think they can play from the tips, who should really move up a tee or two.

Of course we all know some friends who are playing from the wrong tees and should move up. And we should encourage them to do so, because they will have more fun and be more competitive. But if you really want to get players to move up just change the colors of the tees. That’s what happened at our club. The blue tees became black, the green became blue, the white tees became green and the red tees became white. Little by little we all migrated up a tee, while still playing the same color tees. Pretty clever."

This was posted at:


Majority of the golfers don’t have an iron game for more than 170 yards.

I would think the calculation for which set of tee best suited for the golfer should be exam from the distance of the approach shots on all the par-4s , left with the golfer’s ideal driving distance in calculation.

If a golfer is under the development of his/her skill, then I’d encourage the golfer to play longer yardage if possible. Not the case if the golfer is anticipating regressive physical condition from age/health.
Stretching the comfort zone of the yardage is the same as playing a tougher rated golf course. It’ll help you develop skills. Same reason why we are encouraged to golf with better players then ourselves.

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Makes sense.

Another quick & easy method I’ve learned about is to look at the Par 3 yardages – what’s the longest distance you’re comfortable with … while still giving yourself a decent chance to hit the green…?
(…and of course being honest with yourself and setting your golfer ego aside…)



There are 4 par-3 and 4-par-5 with 10 par-4 in a traditional 18 hole design.
I’m okay with a long yardage for par-3 as long as there is a bailed-out area and not all par-3’s are over 170 forced carry. The length of the golf course is one side of the formula, as we could see on many of the well-known shorter par threes are among the toughest holes to score a par.
The 155-yard, par-3 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club.
The 137-yard, par-3 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. …
#7 at Pebble Beach [plays as short as 97 yards, one tough hole to score well if the element of the ocean breath is present.


Yes, a positive step in this is to ditch the sex or age named tees. I also like the idea of blended tees ie. blue/white where a rating and slope can be attributed. I do this in practice by playing no par 3s greater than 180, no par 4s greater than 400 (a tough challenge for me at 400-almost always a 20-30 shot in) and no 5s greater 500. But, if not given a course rating or slope, it plays havoc with posting scores for GHIN.

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I think he went from a -2 to a +1. He’s obviously a good golfer so he did pretty well from the longer tees. He just demoralized his opponents (me three times a season) with 60 yard approach shots.