It is one of the first questions that gets asked when arrive at the course for a round with your friends – ‘What tees are we playing?’. Often, this questions evolves into a full-on debate, with each member of the group offering a different opinion on which tees should be selected for the day. Play the short tees and increase the chances of shooting a good number? Play the back tees and really test your skills? This might seem like an easy question to answer, but the debate often rages all the way until the group arrives at the first tee – when a decision must be made.

If you and your friends regularly engage in this debate, you can use the points below to help solve the riddle and pick out the perfect set of tees to have an enjoyable round of golf.

Look at the Par Threes First

It is tempting to look at the overall yardage of the course when trying to decide which tees to play, but a more useful technique is to look at the yardage of the individual holes. Specifically, check out the distance on all of the par threes and compare that to the ability of the players in the group. Would everyone in the group be able to reach the green on all of the par threes? Would some of the players need to hit a driver? It isn’t much fun to play par threes that are completely out of reach, so check those yardages right away. If there are multiple par threes in the 230-250 range, and some of your players can barely hit it that far with a driver, you would probably be better off moving up a box.

Check the Slope Rating

The course rating listed on the scorecard isn’t going to tell you too much about which tees you should pick – but the slope rating will. If the slope is up in the 130’s or beyond, you should probably have all single-digit handicap players in your group. A slope rating in the 120’s is much more reasonable for the average golfer, so that is a good place to look if you have players of varying skill levels. For groups that have beginning players, try to find a slope rating in the 110’s or below if at all possible. Not only will an easier course setup make for a more enjoyable day, it will also make it easier for the group to keep up with the pace of play.

Don’t Try to Prove Anything

You aren’t going to impress anybody by walking to the back tees, so simply pick the set that you think will allow the group to have fun throughout the day. Would you feel better about just trying to break 90 from the tips, or would you rather break 80 from the blue boxes? Most of the time, you will have more fun playing from the tees that are slightly forward of the tips. Check your ego in the parking lot and set yourself up for a relaxing and enjoyable day on the links.

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