Golf courses have multiple sets of tee boxes. The different tee boxes correspond to different yardages, which also means different playing abilities. How to choose appropriate set of tees (yardage/course length) to play from to make a casual round enjoyable?
Some courses publish the recommended tee set based on the player’s Handicap Index. If such information is not available, the selection becomes a little more complicated. This especially applies to courses with more tee sets (five, six or seven).
Course length calculation principles
There are a few methods and guides to choosing the tee set that best suits golfer’s skills. One of the simplest method uses an average distance of a 5 iron shot. The most adequate total length of the course is the average distance of 5 iron shot multiplied by 36.
According to our observations, the factor 36 works well for scratch and low handicap golfers allowing them to score par on course. For middle and high handicappers the factor could be bit higher (their target is net par). The calculator below increases the factor by one for each six points of Handicap Index.
The calculator allows to determine the appropriate course length based on:
- 5 iron shot distance,
- driver shot distance and
- swing speed (driver).
The calculator use the statistical values of shot distances and swing speeds. It limits the calculated course length to the range between:
- 3,000 y (2,750 m) – the shortest course which can be rated for handicap purposes
- 8,750 y (8,000 m) – the longest courses in the world
Naturally, this method is not perfect for all golfers and it should be considered a “rule of thumb”. However it gives the most appropriate range of course lengths guidelines. Please remember about the most important factor in the calculation and enter the AVERAGE, NOT THE HIGHEST shot lengths or swing speed.
update: January 2022