The decision of which one to play should be made by knowing how far you hit your shots and how that can help or hurt you from certain tees. The tee that is farthest back will be the most challenging and should only be played by highly skilled golfers.
Picking what tees to play from is a decision made mostly by feel. However, a good rule of thumb to use is if you cannot reach a par three green in one shot because of distance, it is a good sign that you should move up a tee. Also, the lower your handicap is, the further back you should probably be playing. Further tees are for experienced and skilled golfers, so the more you practice and the better you get, the faster you will move back a tee.
If you are unsure and are looking for an exact way to pick a tee, Brent Kelly and other golf experts have said that if you multiply the distance you hit your five iron by 36, that number will be around the yardages you should play from. For example, if you hit your five iron 180 yards, 180 x 36= 6,480. This means that if you hit your five iron 180 yards, you should look to play tees with a total yardage of around 6,500. These total yardages can be found on the scorecard and will vary depending on the size of the course.
In 2011, the PGA of America and the USGA released a set of recommended distances to play from based on average driving distance. If you know how far your average drive goes, you can use this table to see what distance is best for you.
|AVERAGE DRIVE||RECOMMENDED TEES|
|300 yards||7,150-7400 yards|
|275 yards||6,700-6,900 yards|
|250 yards||6,200-6,400 yards|
|225 yards||5,800-6,000 yards|
|200 yards||5,200-5,400 yards|
|175 yards||4,400-4,600 yards|
|150 yards||3,500-3,700 yards|
|125 yards||2,800-3,000 yards|
|100 yards||2,100-2,300 yards|
Golf courses typically have around 3-5 different tee boxes available. If there are only three tee boxes, the choice of which to play is simple; if you are inexperienced or a high handicap golfer, play the shortest tees, if you are a mid-level handicap golfer you should play the middle tees, and if you are experienced and a low handicap golfer, play the back tees. The back tees are known as the championship tees or "the tips" and these are the tees used on the PGA tour. Distances decrease all the way down to the front tees.