What's wrong with playing from the white tees?
I’m about to turn 37 in August.
In golf years, that means I’m about 1,000. I’ve taken so many swings I’m surprised I’m not a complete amputee.
My back aches every day. My tennis (golf) elbow starts burning about the third hole. Before every round, I pop three ibuprofen to numb the pain.
Some days it’s four.
So friends out there in cyberspace, give me a little advice: When is it time to move to the white tees? Some people call them the senior tees. I call them a blessing.
My game isn’t always sharp enough to play from the blues. With two kids too young to golf and a golf-hater for a wife, there’s never enough rounds in my summer to get to the level I know I’m capable of.
The extra 300 to 400 yards between the blue and white tees for my game can mean the difference between breaking 80 and breaking 90. I won’t play white tees that are shorter than 6,200 yards, but anything from the blues that is longer than 6,500 yards beats me up like a rented mule.
My game is infinitely better playing par 4s that are 400 yards and under, not 400 and over. Get an iron in my hand on a par 3 and I’m trouble. Stick a wood in it, the ball’s in trouble instead. Par 5s are a wash either way.
Here’s a great example. On a recent trip to Seattle to play, I dared to take on Chambers Bay from the middle tees, which the starter told us played about 6,700 yards and were for anybody under a 12 handicap. Well, when you haven’t seen the course before, and it’s raining bullets, I was in the wrong zip code. I limped home just under triple digits.
A mere 48 hours and 36 holes later, I told myself to suck up the ego, and play from the whites, where the rest of the group was playing, at the Olympic golf course at Gold Mountain, a brute of a course that has hosted the U.S. Amateur Public Links and the Washington Husky Invitational every year.
What a difference a set of tees makes: I shot a stress free 80. I had no lower than a 9 iron in my hand on all my approach shots.
So I ask again: Am I a wuss for dreaming of the whites? A wimp? Or a realistic 12 handicap who can play to a 20 from the blues …
For the sake of 4 hours rounds, I think I know the answer. You should think about it too the next time you “man up” on the big boy tees with your misguided friends.
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I can relate. I just turned 49 and alternate between whites and blues all the time. Just depends on the distance posted from those tee markers and how familiar I am with the course. On a new outing I usually go whites so I don't get beat up and leave a wicked taste in my mouth. Then again, if I'm writing a story about the "real" course and score doesn't matter I'll go back to get a better flavor for what the architect had in mind. On a familiar track, I'm going blues to see if I still have the stuff to match my 'cap (currently 9.5) from a tougher set. And having a 9-iron in your hand for every approach is no fun. It's boring. The ultimate answer: Go where you feel you'll have the most fun.
Way too many poor players play from the blues. Good players shouldn't make their poor-playing partners tee it up from way back. Play from the tees that your weakest partner will feel comfortable from.
Play the blues, like the man I know you are!
I will be 49 in the fall, and the whites are way beyond consideration. Gotta be playing from 6500 yards my young friend, and learn to love the fairway wood approach shots. I do!