Thanks to a little thing called the USGA Course Rating and Slope Database it is possible for any golfer to play from any set of tees and still record an acceptable round.
Many golfers feel that they are only allowed to play from a certain set of tees based on their ability, age, or sex. While generally speaking you should only play from tees that will make your round most enjoyable and maintain a good pace of play, Handicap Index speaking it is okay to play from the fronts or the backs without penalty.
You may be scratching your head and wondering how that’s possible but no need to sit and ponder. The Handicapping system was put into place to create equitable play regardless of the aforementioned. Simply put, if I’m a 4 handicap and my mother is a 16 handicap it is perfectly acceptable for me to play from the front tees since we are in a cart together and that’s more enjoyable to our round of golf. At the end of our 18 (or an acceptable 9-hole round) I would still enter my score into the GHIN system the same as any other round I post. I notate the course and tees. The calculation within the database will take into account the course rating and slope rating per the tees I played as well as my gender.
Feeling up for an extra challenge? Go for some tees a little further back. Feeling like you want to shorten the course a bit and try your hand at some more short game opportunities? Try the front tees. There is no penalty to your Handicap Index because it will adjust based on the difficulty of the tees per course.
The only time you may be required to play from a certain set of tees is if in tournament and the tournament committee makes that determination.
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