Don’t get peer-pressured into playing the wrong tees

Playing the right tees is something you should do.

(Getty Images)

Playing the right tees is an important part of golf. You’ll have more fun playing the course from a yardage best suited to your ability, and it’ll also help you play faster — which means your fellow golfers on the course will enjoy themselves more, too. But sometimes, teeing up in the best spot can be hard, especially when your playing partners are pressuring you into playing with them further back. Enter GOLF’s resident mid-handicaps, who are here to offer some helpful advice, golfer-to-golfer.

1. Stop taking it too seriously

Tim Reilly (11.4 handicap): Simply put, I just don’t play tees I’m not comfortable with. It’s that easy for me. If I see 7,000+ yards and that’s where my low-handicap friends want to play from, great, good for them. I just won’t be joining them.

This isn’t professional golf. We’re out here to have fun in our free time. Golf can be frustrating enough as is. Don’t make the game harder for you than it has to be. Find a yardage range you’re comfortable with and stick with it.

Don’t give those first hole tee box jokes any attention. Once you show they won’t get into your head they’ll stop real quick.

2. Stretch, but don’t break

Josh Berhow (17.1 handicap): I’m always honest. There’s no shame in being truthful about your game. I’d much rather play 6,400 over 6,700, and have no problem telling the group that. But I’ve never felt pressured into playing a set of tees I wasn’t comfortable with.

Sure, I’ve played tees that definitely stretch my game in order to stick with my group, but it’s never been a ridiculous distance, and if it were, like the tips at Erin Hills or something, I’d have no problem heading a tee or two up. Golf is camaraderie and of course you want to stick with your group, but it’s also four-plus hours and sometimes expensive. It’s supposed to be fun. Don’t dampen what should be a nice day at the links because you were too afraid to speak up and play in a way that would maximize the fun for you.

3. Make a self-deprecating joke

James Colgan (17.2 handicap): “Hey guys, I don’t know about you, but I actually want to enjoy the next four hours. I’m going to play from the whites today for both my sanity and yours.”

It’s quick, honest, self-deprecating and not at all inappropriate. Sure, you might get poked fun at, but if you didn’t want that to happen, you probably should’ve spent some more time on the range.

Tim Reilly Photographer

Reilly is GOLF’s social-media editor. In September 2017, he took over the reins to the brand’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. He manages GOLF’s short- and long-term social strategy and produces social video content. Beyond the social space, he contributes to and GOLF Magazine as a writer. His ranking of the best golf scenes in Seinfeld is his magnum opus.

Josh_Berhow_webheadshot.jpg Editor

Berhow is the managing editor at, the site’s primary homepage editor and the edit team’s on-site lead during major-tournament weeks. He plans the site’s daily coverage, marquee story placement and long-term content rollout for magazine pieces and special projects. He writes for both the website and magazine, edits and assigns stories. Berhow also contributes to podcasts and appears on camera for a variety of digital programming. The Minnesota native attended Minnesota State in Mankato.

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