How to choose your tee box?

In golf, the choice of the tee box is essential in the progression of a golfer. Indeed, a bad choice of color can lead to a long and difficult game, or on the contrary a very fast and not very interesting one. Choosing the right tee box is therefore essential to have a good time on the course while progressing!


Initially, tee boxes were split by the gender of the golfer, but nowadays tee times are mixed. This allows for a much wider range of possibilities and games. Thus, in competition, anyone can start from the back-tees, or front-tees. This choice will normally directly impact the number of shots needed to finalize your round but it will be compensated by the extra shots given depending of the color of the tees (we talk about a NET score). For a given level, the lower the Scratch Score Standard (SSS) and the Slope are, the less the player should make shots to reach his level. Conversely, the higher the SSS and Slope are, the wider your margin of extra shots will be. So, what should be the tactic to get your points?


How do I choose the right tees?

There are no specific rules. The most common one is that the lower your index, the more likely you are to tee-off farther away. However, the distance must also be taken into account to allow a real balance in this choice.

Thanks to Hello Birdie’s Smart Caddie, you are able to compare these data to find the ideal tee box by looking at the number of extra shots. If the number of extra shots is too low, the tee-off might be too easy for you. If the course gives you more than the third of your HCP (in addition to the extra shots based on your HCP), tee-off is probably too difficult.


Easier with an example on a golf course

3 tee boxes have been simulated thanks to Hello Birdie GPS app on the Albatros, host of the 2018 Ryder Cup. For a 20 HCP player with an average distance and shot dispersion. In addition, for each tee box, we determined the odds of achieving a good performance: playing 5 shots under 20 HCP. Here are the figures:


🔵 From the blue tee: 21 extra shots

A 20 HCP male-player is not used to start from the blue tee (second color from the front). And yet, it seems to be a good alternative on certain courses, like the one at Le Golf National. Even if you start from the blue tee, the course gives you back a number of strokes higher than your HCP. The tee shot is just as suitable as your “usual” tee shot: the yellow balls. You should try it next time!

percentage of feasibility of your game plan (save 5 strokes): 93%.



🟡 From the yellow tees (Men – Front Tees): 25 extra shots

The player should be in his comfort zone as it is between his HCP and one third over it (27). This tee box seems to suit his level of play.

percentage of feasibility of your game plan (save 5 strokes): 79%.



⚪️ From the white tees (Men – Middle Tees): 29 extra shots

The course returns a number of shots higher than 27. The white tees don’t seem to be the best choice. However, a performance is still within reach for a player of this level. You can still have fun if you start from the white tees with your friends but it will be tough!

percentage of feasibility of your game plan (save 5 strokes): 50%.



The choice of tee box is something to consider on each of the 40,000 courses around the globe. You can play yellow one day and blue the next. Remember to look at the most suitable tee box with Hello Birdie before starting your game to be sure that you will have the best golfing day! 😎