Is it time to scrap the current tee system?

The Scoop

Should golfers play off tees suited to their ability? Or, better yet, just whichever tees they want? The Niggle team discuss

Steve Carroll: Why does it matter at all what tees we play off? Why can’t I play off the reds if I want or have a bash off the blues if the mood takes me?

Alex Perry: I’ve been quite outspoken on this matter. I’m sure it will disappear as we move onto the next generation of golfers, but this stigma surrounding which tees you play off is pathetic. Tees should be based on your handicap, not your gender.

Jordan Elliott: I play off 4, and if I play a championship course I want to play it off the tips. I want to enjoy the course from the same tees that the pros do.

Alex Perry: I play off 14 and if I play a championship course I want to play it off tees that aren’t going to make me feel like I’ve been beaten up by the 3rd hole.

Steve Carroll: How often have you played a championship course off the tips, Jordan?

Jordan Elliott: Not enough! Too many clubs don’t let you play off the “proper” tees. If I do ever play off the yellows – which is very rare – it doesn’t feel like a genuine score.

Alex Perry: I just think any sane golfer would go off the tees fitting of their ability. If you get a few mad ones who decide to play off the back then so be it, more than likely the course will have it’s way with them and they won’t do it again.

Angry golfer throws club

Jordan Elliott: This reminds me of when you are a child and your dad lets you take a penalty from much closer and lets you stand closer to the dart board to give you a better chance! “Please play from the yellow tees to make it easier for you!”

Alex Perry: It’s not a case of making it “easier” for you though, is it? It’s more about not making unnecessarily difficult for yourself. In recent weeks I’ve played two championship courses off the whites and shot 93 and 91, and two parkland courses off yellows and shot 80 and 82. I play golf to enjoy it, not feel like I’m going 12 rounds with Mike Tyson.

Jordan Elliott: So I should just play off the forward tees, shoot 75, and feel great about myself?

Steve Carroll: Who’s saying you have to play from the forward tees, Jordan?

Alex Perry: …because you play off 4.

Steve Carroll: Play from the tee your handicap indicates you should. Rather than flexing your little biceps. There is no one watching… or caring.

Tom Lenton: I play off the semi-tips for a knock, but off the very back for competitions. I agree with Jordan. It feels like cheating when you hit it onto a par 5 in two with a mid-iron.

Alex Perry: No one is saying that should be the case. On the flip side, who wants to play a par 5 than involves going driver, 3-wood, 3-wood and you’re still barely on the green?

Jordan Elliott: I don’t really care if I shoot 59 or 99. At least I’ve played the course properly.

Tom Lenton: And we would take more than five hours. And we would love it.

Steve Carroll: I’d be standing behind you, waiting on every single tee. I wouldn’t love it.

Tom Lenton: We’d let you play through…

Jordan Elliott: What is the issue with wanting to play off the back tees? Why would I go to a course to play be told I have to play off forward tees?

Alex Perry: Except you wouldn’t, because you play off 4 and hit it a country mile.

Jordan Elliott: I played at Carnoustie a few weeks back, played off the yellows and none of the bunkers or hazards came into play. They might as well have not been there. Whereas off the back tees, you have to actually play taking bunkers/hazards into consideration.

Steve Carroll: What did you shoot?

Jordan Elliott: 35 and played poorly.

Steve Carroll: What is 35? How come we are all macho about the tees but not the format? Surely for consistency the Lenton/Elliott view is back tees, scratch medal? Stableford is for the weak and worried, no?

Jordan Elliott: 35 chickens, of course. So what tees do you play off?

Steve Carroll: Yellows wherever possible. I can’t hit out of my shadow, and get bored easily.

Tom Lenton: Ideally a stableford off the back tees for me. If I was getting to play football at Old Trafford, I’d want it to be full pitch 11-a-side, not play width ways seven on seven. I am weak and worried but pretend to be macho. 25 points later, scrambled well around the greens, and ‘really enjoyed that thanks for the game guys’.

Jordan Elliott: I suppose we are coming at it from completely different perspectives. I am a 4 handicapper. Tom is off scratch. Steve is an 11 handicapper. All perspectives. I could understand if you didn’t want to play off the back tees, Steve, if you couldn’t reach the fairway, so you wouldn’t choose to play off them. Whereas I would feel like I’m cheating if I play off the yellows and hit driver wedge into every par 4.

Steve Carroll: I love how you managed to completely belittle the golfing ability of every mid-handicapper out there in five words. Kudos to you, sir.

Steve Carroll: Just play off different tees and adjust the shots based on the different SSS.

Tom Lenton: Does this settle the debate? Play off what tees you want? Except the very backs at some courses. I appreciate they need to be kept as holy ground for Opens and club championships.

Alex Perry: I think we should all go for a drink.

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