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How to Select the Best Course for Your Game

By Keith Stewart, PGA
Published on

It seems the LPGA Tour has fallen into a habit of setting up tournament venues with length as a priority. We’re not here to get into the debate, but there is a valuable lesson for all of us. 
Are you playing the correct set of tee markers for your game?
As any PGA Coach will tell you, there is a very defined line between enjoying the challenge golf presents and creating a frustrating scenario.
The PGA of America guidelines for choosing a course length are very specific and based upon the length of your drives. For example, the average female player who drives the ball 175 yards should play a course of approximately 4,500 yards in length for 18 holes. Similarly, the average male who drives the ball 225 yards should pick a course about 6,000 yards in length.
What do all of these numbers mean? Simple, if you follow these guidelines, you will enjoy your round. That means have fun! Your approach shots, or shots into the green after your drive, will be with clubs you can reach the green with. 
Here’s a quick scenario for both and men and women players: If you consistently hit a wood/hybrid into the green after your drive you are playing a course that is too long for you.
Golf’s popularity is based upon player enjoyment. Not grinding for par, not losing golf balls, but rather having fun and feeling fit. Start with your home course. Whether it is one or two local public courses or a private facility you belong to imagine your regular round. Start with the scorecard. Look at the total distance of the course. Use the chart above and determine the correct set of tees for your game.
If you don’t know how far your drives go, then next time you play, evaluate your distance from the green on an average drive and subtract the difference. If you can, get two or three drives measured. That’s the number you need for the chart. Get the course length determined by experts that best fits not only your game but also maximizes your enjoyment level!
Now comes the best part. Go play from the correct set of tees. Do it a couple of times. Do not only measure your score but take into account your enjoyment level. If you are playing with friends, consider how much extra time you had to interact with them. Speaking of time, your round experience will take less of it.
Understand, it isn’t the first time this subject has been brought to your attention. That’s important because whether you play every day or you are anxiously awaiting your first round of 2021, making this change will improve your golf. Here’s the best part, if you try it and you don’t like it, you can always play another set of tees. But what if it does make a difference? What if it really is more enjoyable?
The men and women of the PGA of America work hard every day helping golfers improve. Each one of those expert coaches will tell you the simplest change you can make to improve is to play the correct length golf course. Measure those drives, check the chart and take the most important first step toward game improvement this year.
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