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Mar 23

Understanding the “Ladies Tees”

How Does the Course Play From the “Ladies Tees”

There are a lot of misconceptions about playing from the ladies tees. The first problem lies in the name itself. Not all ladies play from those tees, and in fact, some men SHOULD be playing from them. If the idea is to make the course fit the abilities of the golfer by using different sets of tees, then golfers should choose their tee box by ability, not by gender. A shorter course would make the game more enjoyable for some men, if it weren’t for the stigma of playing from the ladies tees that would hang over their head.
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However, most women are best suited to play the ladies tees simply because they don’t hit it as far as the average man. There are exceptions to that rule, of course, but for sake of this article let’s assure you fall into the category of women who are well-suited for the ladies tees. Is the course the same as it is for the men, only shorter? No, not at all. You need to understand how a course is designed and built to make the most of your round.

Using Angles to Create Challenges

What golf course designers do is take the land that is given to them and try to route the holes in a manner that will be interesting and challenging. They place water hazards, trees, bunkers, and more all around the fairways and greens to threaten and intimidate the golfer. Have you ever stopped to think about how the hazards end up being placed where they are? Is it arbitrary, or is there a method to the madness?


There is a method, but it is aimed at the men. Most golf courses are designed with the idea of challenging male golfers playing from the standard men’s tee. Course designers consider how far an average male golfer will hit the ball, and design angles and hazards around that point. Since men are the majority in the golfing world, it makes business sense to cater the courses to their games.

So what does that mean for women golfers?

Knowing that the course will play different for you than it will for the men is the first key. When you see a hole with a dogleg, for example, that dogleg might have been designed to cause trouble for a driver shot from the men’s tees. You need to analyze how it plays specific to your game and your tees, and decide on a strategy from there. Can you hit your driver, or will it roll through the dogleg on a good shot? Is it a better idea to hit a three wood and stay back from the trouble? These are the same decisions male golfers make, only in different spots. When playing with male partners, you might see them hit driver on a specific hole and just assume it is a driver hole. However, the way the hole plays from the forward tees might dictate another club. Basically, you need to view the course from the ladies tees as a whole different course than from tees farther back – because it is.

Watch Out for Bunkers

Bunkers are the most defense for fairways in golf course design. They are often placed on the inside or outside of doglegs, or even stretched across the fairway as an obstacle that needs to be carried over. Again, bunkers are usually placed to affect the strategies used from the men’s tees. However, they may even cause more of a problem for the ladies depending on their placement. The key to navigating bunkers is to have a clear path away from them. If you are sure you can hit it over a bunker, then proceed with confidence and swing away. If you think your ball might go about the same distance as the fairway bunker, however, it is better to stay back and not run the risk. A shot from 20 yards farther back into the green is better than getting stuck in a fairway bunker and possibly wasting multiple shots.

Always Have a Plan

The key to successfully playing from the ladies tees is understanding that the course does not set up the same as it does from the back tees. That doesn’t mean it is inherently harder or easier – just different. Don’t assume that a hazard that presents trouble for the men will be in your way from the women’s tee. Take the time to assess the course for yourself and think about how the design of each hole affects the shots you want to hit. Playing from the ladies tees is the same as playing from another tee box in that you have to play your own game and match it to the challenges that the course presents.

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About the author

Matt Ristine

Lives in Tacoma, Washington Although golf is my personal area of expertise I Like to write in a style that is clean, concise, and informative. Has published a book on golf.