Golf Tee Box Colors | What They Mean And Which To Play

Golf tee box markers come in different shapes, sizes, and colors; with each color standing for a different level of difficulty for golfers. These colors help you pick the right place to tee it up based on how good you are on the course.

In the article below, we’ll explain the the difference between each color, how courses can change them, and give you tips on how to pick the best tee box for your game. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, this article will help you make the best choice for your game. We have a lot to cover so lets jump in!

What Does Each Colored Tee Stand For?

Golf tee boxes are typically color-coded to indicate the various levels of difficulty and the corresponding yardage for each hole on a golf course.

The specific color-coding can vary from one course to another, but there are some general conventions that are commonly used in the golf industry. Here’s a typical color-coding system:

Red Tees: Typically referred to as the “women’s” tees, these are often the shortest and easiest tee boxes. They are typically used by beginners, juniors, and golfers with lower swing speeds. The yardage from the red tees is usually the shortest, making the course less challenging.

Gold or Yellow Tees: Gold or yellow tees are often positioned slightly ahead of the red tees and are traditionally referred to as the “senior” tees. These tees represent a moderate level of difficulty. They are suitable for golfers who have some experience but may not have the distance or skill to play from the longer tees. The yardage from these tees is longer than the red tees but shorter than the white or blue tees.

White Tees: The white tees are typically considered the standard or “men’s” tees. They offer a moderate level of challenge and are used by many male golfers. The yardage from the white tees is longer than the red and gold tees but shorter than the blue or black tees.

Blue Tees: The blue tees are often positioned further back on the course, making the holes longer and more challenging. They are used by experienced golfers and are often considered the “championship” tees. The yardage from the blue tees is greater than the white tees.

Black Tees: The black tees are typically the longest and most challenging tee boxes on a golf course. They are often used for professional or highly skilled amateur tournaments. The yardage from the black tees is the longest and provides the most challenging experience for golfers.

Some courses may use additional colors, such as orange or green, to create more variations in tee box distances and difficulty levels. The specific meaning of these colors can vary from course to course.

Do All Golf Courses Follow The Same Color Coding Of Tee Boxes?

Not all golf courses follow the same color-coding system for tee boxes. While there are general conventions for tee box colors and their associated difficulty levels and yardages, there is no standardized or universal system that all golf courses adhere to. The specific color-coding of tee boxes can vary from one golf course to another.

Golf courses may use the basic color-coding system, but they have the flexibility to adapt it to their course’s layout and designs. Some courses may use different colors, additional colors, or variations in tee box placement to create a customized experience for their players.

Because of this variability, it’s essential for golfers to check the scorecard or inquire with the course staff to understand the specific tee box colors, yardages, and difficulty levels for the course they are playing. This information will help golfers choose the tee box that best matches their skill level and provides an enjoyable and challenging round of golf on that course.

What Color Tee Box Should I Play From?

Choosing the appropriate tee box to play from in golf depends on your skill level, playing experience, and, to some extent, your driving distance. The goal is to select a tee box that provides a challenging but enjoyable round of golf. Here are some general guidelines to help you decide which tee box to play from:

Skill Level:

If you are a beginner or have limited golfing experience, consider starting from the forward-most tees, often the red or gold tees. These tees typically offer shorter yardages and a more forgiving playing experience.

If you are an intermediate or casual golfer with some experience, you can choose the white or yellow tees, which offer a moderate challenge.

If you are an experienced and skilled golfer, you may opt for the blue or black tees, which provide a greater challenge.

Driving Distance:

Consider your average driving distance. If you can comfortably carry the ball to the fairway from the tee box you’re considering, it’s a good sign that you’ve chosen an appropriate tee box. If you consistently struggle to reach the fairway, you might want to move up to a tee box with shorter yardage.


Ultimately, the goal is to have an enjoyable round of golf. If you find a particular tee box too challenging or not challenging enough, don’t be afraid to adjust. Golf is meant to be a fun and recreational sport, so choose a tee box that allows you to enjoy the game.

Pace of Play:

Selecting the right tee box can also impact the pace of play on the course. If you are playing from tees that are too long for your ability, it can slow down the pace of the game for you and the group behind you. Conversely, if you are playing from tees that are too short, you may feel rushed by groups playing from tees further back.

Remember that there is no shame in playing from tees that match your skill level and abilities. Golf is a sport that can be enjoyed at various levels, and choosing the right tee box ensures that you have a more enjoyable and satisfying experience on the golf course. As you improve your skills and gain more experience, you can gradually move back to longer tees if you wish.

Final Thoughts

The color-coded tee boxes on golf courses serve as a guide to help golfers select the appropriate level of difficulty and yardage based on their skill and experience. While there are general conventions for tee box colors, not all golf courses follow the same system, and they have the flexibility to customize tee box placements.

Choosing the right tee box is a crucial decision for an enjoyable and challenging round of golf. It depends on your skill level, driving distance, and the pace of play you desire.

Remember that the primary goal is to have fun on the course, so don’t hesitate to choose a tee box that best suits your abilities, and as you progress, you can always adjust to more challenging tee boxes. Enjoy your game of golf!

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