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Placement of tees on the course?


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I had a bit of rant this morning on another thread on how most courses do not and sometimes can't use any imagination when placing their tees on the course. I'm just curious if anyone plays at a course that uses some creativity with their tee placement?

In my experience most courses don't move their tees very much over the course of the year. The tips are always at the back and every other set of tees is usually spaced out without much variation in their placement over the year. I personally think this is a disservice to golf but in my experience course are hamstrung in their ability to shift tees around due to course rating and handicapping issues. The superintendents I've talked to say there are usually a handful of players that get real pissy when they try and get creative with tees because it may affect their or others handicaps. I've helped with some national Mid Am tournaments in the past and really had my eyes opened when they had placed the some tees on the forward tees for the course on some par 4s and a par 3. It didn't occur to me immediately until I played from those tees the next day but I realized that it totally changed the dynamic of the course. It make some par 4s a real risk/reward scenario instead of just a driver/wedge hole and brought in certain hazards that I had never even thought of before. It really made me realize that one golf course can play in significantly different ways but most never experience it because the tees never really move. Yes, the back tees should still be the longest tees on the course but there is no reason that their can't be some or a lot of variation.

I would be really curious if anyone golf at a course that has been creative with tee placement and how they were able to manage the handicapping issues. I'm not against handicaps but I would really like to see a way to manage handicaps while making courses more interesting or different. In a world of technology, I don't see any reason there couldn't be formula or algorithm that would adjust the course rating based on where every tee on every hole was located. Of course, this would require additional effort and add complexity to the handicapping system that may not be feasible. However, has anyone found a happy medium on this?

 

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The only thing I've seen around my area is that the courses that are very long, say 6700+ hardly ever have the tees set back that far. There's a course by me that's 7400 from the tips, last time I played it, they had those black tees up two boxes. I understand it from pace of play issues.

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39 minutes ago, Kansas King said:

I had a bit of rant this morning on another thread on how most courses do not and sometimes can't use any imagination when placing their tees on the course. I'm just curious if anyone plays at a course that uses some creativity with their tee placement?

 

I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean just moving the tee positions back and forth within the tee box or really moving the tees to other tee boxes. As an example my course has different separated teeing boxes on many holes ( Blue, White, Gold, Red). So you can move the tee markers probably 10 -15 yards within the box. Then you can move the flag forward or back on the green to change the yardage as well. We also have a couple of holes where you can move the tee markers to another parallel tee box that makes you hit a different shot into the fairway or green on par 3's. I know our tee positions move at a minimum of once a week. (I see them do it every Sunday while I'm playing). So on a par 3 you could be hitting a 9 iron to a 6 iron depending on the positioning of the markers and the flag. I think this is what you are referring to?    

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I like the idea, and it happens a lot in the tournaments I play in. However for the everyday golfer the handicap system does dictate this to some extent. If you take a par 4 that is 350 and move the tee to 280 most players are going to score better on the shorter hole. Which in turn will make their handicap not reflect the actual course they played. On top of that a lot of golf maintenance workers don't have any idea about how the game is played (at least in my area) so then you have to have someone with knowledge of what to do and when. 

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In the USGA Handicap Rules they suggest that tee markers should be within 10 about yards of the permanent markers on each hole, and that the total yardage should be maintained within about 100 yards of the rated yardage.  I can see moving things more than that, as long as the total yardage balances out to some extent.  In that way the Rating and Slope would remain reasonably appropriate.  But to do something with ratings and slope based on tee positions on a nearly daily basis seems to me to be impractical.

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24 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean just moving the tee positions back and forth within the tee box or really moving the tees to other tee boxes. As an example my course has different separated teeing boxes on many holes ( Blue, White, Gold, Red). So you can move the tee markers probably 10 -15 yards within the box. Then you can move the flag forward or back on the green to change the yardage as well. We also have a couple of holes where you can move the tee markers to another parallel tee box that makes you hit a different shot into the fairway or green on par 3's. I know our tee positions move at a minimum of once a week. (I see them do it every Sunday while I'm playing). So on a par 3 you could be hitting a 9 iron to a 6 iron depending on the positioning of the markers and the flag. I think this is what you are referring to?    

I'm talking about moving tees to completely different tee boxes. For some courses there may seem to be quite a bit of variation by just moving the tees around the same box and moving the flag but that rarely changes how anything actually plays. However, only keeping a tee in a 15ish yard rectangle is unlikely to ever bring in different hazards that would change how play a hole. I would like to see courses be a little more creative and maybe on a hole or two move the tees upwards of 50 yards to maybe bring in trees, bunkers, or other factors to think about. I'm not saying this has to be on every hole but I think it would be nice to see on one or two holes. I think it could really give a breath of fresh air to some courses. Sure, it may not change anything on some holes but most course have a handful of holes where a significant tee box would make you have to think instead mindlessly pulling out the driver.

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24 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

In the USGA Handicap Rules they suggest that tee markers should be within 10 about yards of the permanent markers on each hole, and that the total yardage should be maintained within about 100 yards of the rated yardage.  I can see moving things more than that, as long as the total yardage balances out to some extent.  In that way the Rating and Slope would remain reasonably appropriate.  But to do something with ratings and slope based on tee positions on a nearly daily basis seems to me to be impractical.

I agree with you. I'm not saying a course should play 6000 one week and 7000 the next from the same tees. I would just really like to see some courses add some variation to where they place tees. This would obviously contradict keeping every tee within 10 yards of the permanent markers. However, I think if courses were rated on a slightly shorter yardage instead of the longest yardage possible for each tee, you could throw in a short par 4 or par 3 and throw a tee or two at the very tips on a few holes to compensate. I also agree it would be impractical for courses to readjust ratings every time they move their tees but I don't think it would be impossible to develop a spreadsheet or software that could do it in 2021. 

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One of the courses I play will significantly vary the location of the tees on a few of the holes;  generally it is roughly the same distance but the approach to the green is from an entirely different angle. 

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There is a course I play that has four different color tee markers (and ratings), but on most holes has six or even seven tee boxes. The two forward sets rarely get moved, but the blue and black tees get moved around quite a bit. Most of them are just different yardages, but on a few holes the angles change. Of course, on weekends the markers are almost always forward.

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We have 4 sets of markers with usually 3 tee boxes.  Silvers are their own box way up, greens are their own box way back.  Then gold and black are usually on the same box but one forward and one back.  We also have one par 3 with two green they will rotate between and one par 3 with two complete sets of tee boxes.  One on the right the same elevation as the hole and one on the left that is up on a hill above the hole.  So there can be quite a difference day to day on how some holes play.

But to be more specific to your question, we also have two combo variations that have been rated so you can enter valid scores for handicap purposes.  One uses a combination of only the 2 most forward set of tees.  Usually used for seniors and really young kids that makes the course much shorter.  

Then we also have a combo setup we occasionally use for mens league that will use all four boxes on various holes.  It's a ton of fun because it brings in a couple driveable par 4's, lengthens a couple par 3's and turns one of our par 5's into a par 4.  

I live on the course so I play 99% of my rounds at the same place.  It's fun to be able to mix it up from time to time and still enter scores for handicaps.  Another game we play is start at the tips, if nobody makes a birdie we move up a box on the next hole, no birdie again move up another box etc until you are just playing from the most forward box.  If someone makes a birdie move back to the tips and start the process again.

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@hckymeyer I love those ideas. Over the past few months I’ve tried to approach golf from a much more relaxed point of view. I’ll switch tees for a couple of holes, see how I score on a hole with no driver or 3 wood for a round etc. This mindset has made me so appreciate golf for the fun that it is. 
 

So power to the Supers! Setup the course however you want as long as it’s fair. If you don’t like where your typical tees are set, move to another tee for that hole. 
 

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If you're not worried about YOUR handicap, just play from what ever tee box you want on certain holes. Feel like playing a driveable par 4? Play from the forward tees on that hole. Feel like playing a mammoth par 5? Move all the way back. This works great on some courses where all the par 3's are the same general distance. It's bad course design but I've played courses where every par 3 is virtually the same yardage, like 150-155. That can get boring. Move around.

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In thinking a bit more, one of the best ways for course management to accomplish this is to get ratings for blended tee sets.  For instance use half blue and half white, or half blue and half gold (at my home club, white, blue and gold are all rated for men, from shortest to longest).  This gives players the opportunity to vary their hole lengths and still be able to post scores.  And it takes nothing more than selecting the tees for each blended set, and calling (or emailing) the state or regional golf association.  Rating information is retained for each hole from each tee, its a simple matter to use the existing data to develop new ratings.

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If the player wants more variety than the super gives, play a different set of tees.  Play the blues one round, the whites the next and the yellows the next.  The different tees will have different ratings, so playing the different tees shouldn't impact handicap all that much.   Blended tees are also great--my Florida course has a red/white combo tee that gets a lot of use from older players who aren't ready to move up to the reds full time.  

My home course has three main sets of tees, I play from all of them depending on who I'm playing with.   It changes up the course and makes me think instead of just pulling a club automatically.    

 

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3 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

In thinking a bit more, one of the best ways for course management to accomplish this is to get ratings for blended tee sets.  For instance use half blue and half white, or half blue and half gold (at my home club, white, blue and gold are all rated for men, from shortest to longest).  This gives players the opportunity to vary their hole lengths and still be able to post scores.  And it takes nothing more than selecting the tees for each blended set, and calling (or emailing) the state or regional golf association.  Rating information is retained for each hole from each tee, its a simple matter to use the existing data to develop new ratings.

This is becoming more prevalent. We have 4 sets of tees but there are 6 different ratings (2 combo sets). The one thing that I will say is that the most of the combos I have seen cater to senior/family tees vs regular set of tees. Would be nice to include all sets in the combos. 

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The biggest thing at the course I play mostly in regard to tees, is the placement will sometimes aim you into the woods (which border nearly every hole), and can require to really try and shape your shot. The tees aren't always set that way, but when they are at the markers, that's how they're setup. I have played at courses where the tee boxes just don't allow for much change in the look of the hole. It's not necessarily the super's fault, it's the designer's.

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On 6/11/2021 at 7:34 AM, garyt1957 said:

If you're not worried about YOUR handicap, just play from what ever tee box you want on certain holes. Feel like playing a driveable par 4? Play from the forward tees on that hole. Feel like playing a mammoth par 5? Move all the way back. This works great on some courses where all the par 3's are the same general distance. It's bad course design but I've played courses where every par 3 is virtually the same yardage, like 150-155. That can get boring. Move around.

I remember when I was a kid. Many times we had the course to ourselves. We would make up our own holes. Like from 7 tee to nine green and 2 tee to 4 green. We had a great time.

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On 6/10/2021 at 2:59 PM, Kansas King said:

I had a bit of rant this morning on another thread on how most courses do not and sometimes can't use any imagination when placing their tees on the course. I'm just curious if anyone plays at a course that uses some creativity with their tee placement?

I have said the same thing in this forum several times.  For those of us who aren't concerned about "our official" handicap courses could once every couple of weeks have two sets of tee markers that they move around, in addition to the official sloped and rated tee markers.  One set could be placed out at between 4900-5500 yards if possible for short hitters, and seniors etc. and another could be placed out  between 5900-6500.  Courses just need to want to contribute to the enjoyment, and be willing to put in the time to move the markers.  I mean move the markers to different teeing areas, not just within a single box.  Sure I know you can simply tee off from other tee boxes during your round, but it would be nice to be challenged by the set up person, from week to week.  Different angles, and distances. Any given week some par 4's shorter, some longer, 3's longer or shorter etc. etc.

Anyone who wants to play from only the sloped and rated boxes could still feel free too.

 

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There is a swanky club in Utah called Victory Ranch  that I have played a couple of times.  They have so may tee boxes on the par 3s it is ridiculous.  It really allows a lot of variety for angles and how you play them.  The 17th has 14 tee boxes 

14th.PNG

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I had a similar thought where I wished for more variety. I was typically playing from the blue tees at my course (6300 yds) and wanted to actually be able to reach some of the par 5s, have a driveable 4, etc. So I played the senior tees (5400 yds) and it was so much fun I haven't gone back. 

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