Tips for teeing off

There are a few things that you should think about before taking that first swing

by Trevor Moore
With female golf champions like Annika Sorenstam, it’s no wonder the forward tees got a name change. — Keith Allison photo

On the first tee box, club selection for the opening shot is all too often the only thing that is ever given consideration; however there is another very important discussion that should take place but rarely ever does.

How does your group determine what set of tees they should play from? Do you simply tee off where everyone else does? Is it a decision based on ego or do you simply feel that you routinely play from the same tees so why change now?

Traditionally golf courses had three sets of tees, and they are often referred to as the women’s tee, men’s tee and the championship or tournament tees. Courses have slowly began the practice of providing more than three sets of tees and in some case as many as five, six and seven options exist.

In the modern golf era it is no longer appropriate to call them women’s tees, they are more fittingly named the forward tees. Contrary to popular belief, this change in wording was not done to protect the feelings of the women at the club. It was a trend that developed in order to get the men to swallow their pride a little more often and not be afraid to move forward when the situation suggested it.

When it comes to playing from the wrong tee boxes I will be the first to admit that men are the biggest culprits…something to do with testosterone I am told. Tees should be selected based on your personal skill level, the overall skill level of your group, the difficulty of the course and the playing conditions that present themselves.

It is important to remember that your decision does not simply impact your group, so be sure to think outside the tee box for a moment and consider the groups playing behind you as well. If you bite off more yardage than you can chew, you will play at a slower pace, and slowing down the pace of play for those behind you should also be a strong consideration in your decision.

I am a big advocate of having players play from tee boxes that they wouldn’t normally utilize. This challenges them to play from different positions, hit different shots, utilize different clubs and also requires them to think while they play rather than just coast on auto pilot. Rotating your tee box selection is a great way to round out your skill set and improve your game.

The problem however is that when players decide to try a new set of tees, they always look backward rather than forward. I assure you that the test from the forward tees will be every bit as good as it is from the set behind you. You will not be able to overpower the course and a strong emphasis on your short game will provide you with a healthy test. You will hit a wider variety of clubs in your bag and will be forced to swing with a purpose that extends far behind power.

The next time you play I highly encourage your group to consider moving to another tee box. Take the walk 15 yards forward rather than backwards on occasion and your game will thank me for it.

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