What’s the Difference in the Tees on a Golf Course?

For those new to the sport of golf, there can be a lot of confusion about various aspects. One of the top confusions is what are the various tee colors and distances for on the course. The US Golf Association has a set standard for these tees.


Different tee colors represent different USGA guidelines for that stroke or par to complete a particular hole. Typically, a player uses the same Pensacola tee times for the entire course. These different colors help level the playing field for beginners, advanced and women golfers. The handicap comes into play when multiple players are on the same hole but playing at different tees. A player can choose to consistently add to the higher course rating player’s strokes or subtract from the lower course rating player’s strokes to even the playing field from two different level players.


Certain tees have a higher course rating than others. Those course ratings are different for men and women. The more forward the tee, the higher the course rating. These more forward tees are meant for beginning golfers not ready to take the championship course available on the tees furthest from the hole. The USGA has a course rating database available to search specific clubs and their course ratings. A player can see how they rank with other players playing the same course.


The simplest courses only have three tee boxes to choose from. This makes it easier for golfers to choose the right tee for their game. Beginners and high handicap golfers may benefit from the most-forward tee while championship players from the furthest tee. However, some courses may offer additional tees to choose from, making the decision even more difficult for those early in the game. Feel free to ask a club member on what the different colors mean and how they affect handicap rating if multiple people in your party are playing at different levels.


It can be easy to choose the wrong tee especially if you are inexperienced. However, playing up a tee may not be the wisest choice. You may spend more time chasing after sliced balls playing at the championship level than at the appropriate level. It can be more fun to play at your current level and work on improving your game before moving up to the next level. Like any sport, golf is one that requires patience and practice to perform well. Choosing the right tee can help make the game fun and enjoyable.

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