When Do You Move Up Or Down A Tee In Golf?

What Tee Box Should I Play in Golf?

The decision of which tee box 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 teeing area is where golfers start each hole by hitting a drive off of the tee. The tee box 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 personal preference and ability. A good rule of thumb to use is if you cannot reach the green on a par three 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 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.

USGA Recommendations

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.

300 yards7,150-7,400 yards
275 yards6,700-6,900 yards
250 yards6,200-6,400 yards
225 yards5,800-6,000 yards
200 yards5,200-5,400 yards
175 yards4,400-4,600 yards
150 yards3,500-3,700 yards
125 yards2,800-3,000 yards
100 yards2,100-2,300 yards

Tee Box Colors

Most courses will have tee boxes arranged by colors indicating which length the golfer will be teeing off from. Red tee boxes are typically the shortest yardage, while black boxes are the furthest. The colors of tee boxes usually found on the golf course are listed below, ranked by shortest to longest yardage.

  • Red
  • Gold
  • White
  • Blue
  • Black

Beginner Tee Box

A beginner in golf should hit from the closest tee box because it is almost always the easiest path to the hole. Since most beginners don’t have a great technique yet, it is more important for them to focus on their aim and consistency than it is to focus on their power.

When beginners try to hit a ball too hard, they tend to “top” the ball - which results in the ball barely moving - or they tend to “slice” or “hook” the ball, which is when the ball veers off into an unintended direction. Since the beginner tee boxes are closer to the hole, they encourage players to focus more on their aim than their power.

Hitting from a closer tee box also makes it easier to correct mistakes. If a golfer’s first shot is bad, it is easier to make a better shot on the next one if they began closer to the hole.


What are the different tee boxes in golf?

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, you should play the back tees. The back tees are known as the championship tees or “the tips,” which are the tees used on the PGA tour. Distances decrease all the way down to the front tees.

What is a tee box in golf?

A tee box in golf is where golfers start every hole by hitting a drive off the tee. There are typically 3-5 tee boxes on each hole of the course, which represent different distances from the hole. More experienced players usually play from the tee boxes furthest away from the hole, as they are able to hit further drives and maneuver the course with more ease. Less experienced players should hit from tee boxes closer to the hole, as they will typically have a more challenging time maneuvering the course and hitting long shots.

How do you decide what tee box to play in golf?

Deciding what tee box to play in golf depends on your individual abilities and preferences on the golf course. A good reference for choosing the correct tee box is as follows: if you have trouble reaching the green with your drive on a par three, then you should move to a closer tee. The closer tee boxes are usually red and are meant for less experienced golfers who can’t drive the ball as far. The further back tee boxes (usually white, blue, or black) are used by experienced golfers who are capable of hitting long drives.