The game of golf is about getting the ball into the hole in the fewest strokes, and not necessarily about how far the ball goes. That’s why trying to shoot the lowest score can be so much fun for people of all ages and abilities. Juniors and beginners can play holes that are 100 or 150 yards long and enjoy the wonderful challenge of the game. Great players can also find it rewarding to play a shorter course, as this is a great way to develop skills around the greens.
Golf is a game of opportunity, challenge, risk and reward. When people play from tees that are too long or too difficult, they deprive themselves any scoring opportunities. All they get is penalty strokes, lost balls, shots from the rough, slow play and a lack of confidence.
I worked at a great course in Southwest Florida that was very long. In wet and windy conditions, at sea level with high humidity I often had long irons and fairway woods into many of the par fours; I had to lay up on all par fives and the course played very difficult for me. When the course finally dried-out and played a little shorter, I had more opportunities to score. My previous struggles caused panic when I finally got the chance for a birdie putt or a chance to save par and I continued to struggle.
This course had six different sets of tees. To keep our games interesting the staff had competitions from all of them. We threw a few bucks into a pot and everyone on staff had a chance to be competitive. Playing from these shorter tees also gave me the opportunity to use wedges on all par threes, I could reach some of the par fours and get to ALL the par fives in two. I now found myself putting for birdie and eagle on many of the holes. Some of these putts went in and I slowly became more comfortable with these opportunities. My scores came down and my confidence went up. When I played again from the longer tees and had scoring opportunities, I was in a better emotional state to execute.
Not everyone hits the ball 300 yards. Power is but one of the many factors that go into determining the appropriate set of tees to play. Golf is supposed to be fun, so consider what you want from the game. Playing different tees can be a great way to handicap a match. If you want to feel like a tour player, play from the tees that give you a chance to shoot a good score. If you like to play all golf courses from as long as possible no matter what the yardage, consider the conditions. Is it particularly cold or windy or wet or all of the above?