What Tee Yardage Should You Be Playing From?

Tee Box Selection Based On Driving Distance

In recent years we have all heard about the distance debate in golf. Are golfers hitting the ball too far? Or is it just the pros that are? Should courses be redesigned to provide longer yardage options? Or do we limit equipment for sanctioned events? While this has been a hot topic, we’ve got some brutal truths about how us mere mortals (amateur golfers) are actually playing in regards to this topic. 

My Golf Spy has published the 2021 Arccos Distance Report for amateur golfers. Their first key takeaway was ‘In general, golfers are not playing many long courses, but many golfers are still playing courses that are too long given their median driver distance.”

When looking at course yardages, players have their own habits or routines when it comes to selecting the tee box to play; it can also be influenced by who you are playing with. 

Tee It Forward is a joint initiative between the USGA and The PGA of America that encourages players to play from a set of tees best suited to their driving distance. In addition to setting up players for more successful rounds (which is always more fun), teeing it forward also can be one of the most important steps that golfers take in improving pace of play for everyone.


USGA Tee it Forward


After examining the median driving distances for Arccos Members, we overlaid the recommended yardages from the Tee It Forward Initiative to see just how many players should loosely be playing what yardages. 

Arccos Amateur Median Driving Distances against USGA recommended tee box yardage

Convincing players to move up a tee box is not always an easy feat. But it could mean your game actually improves. By removing some of the distance ‘slog’ players can begin to hone their skills instead of focusing energy on bigger hits. We investigated how well Arccos Members followed the USGA’s Tee It Forward Recommendations. 

Course yardages played by amateurs against USGA Tee it forward recommendations

While this is also potentially an issue of availability of local/accessible courses with tees at specific yardages, the graph is showing that players with the shortest distances are more likely to play the incorrect yardage. For big hitters it's not always easy to find 7,000 yard loops, but for shorter hitters, it's likely more of a ‘tee box selection’ issue. 

Regardless of how far any player hits the driver, it could be beneficial for players of any distance to be more adventurous in switching up their tee boxes. By changing your typical course length, you could actually get better at some distances that would otherwise be a weak spot for you. Additionally, if you play the same course for most of your rounds–switching tee boxes is a great way to essentially ‘play an alternative course’ by utilizing an entirely different course management strategy. 

Here is an interesting perspective from some male players who recently Tee’d It Forward and why it could be just the variety that your game needs! (clip from ‘The Real Housewives of Golf’ Podcast, hosted by Tori Totlis and Sarah Held) 

Real Housewives of Golf - men tee it forward

Click the image above or follow this URL (starting point 8:45) 

If you are interested in improving your game, it’s worth experimenting to see what works for you. Knowing your distances is a great starting point, and making smarter decisions on the course based on data is the best way to really improve your scores. Get started with an Arccos Membership today by purchasing our Starter Bundle: Smart Sensors + Link!