Carson Valley Women's Golf Club


Tee Selection Analysis and Calculator

Many golfers struggle with choosing which tees to play from. Obviously, playing from tees that are "comfortable" is important. But if they are so comfortable that there is no challenge, learning and improvement may be stifled. If you play too far above your comfort zone, frustration is very likely to set in and the desire to play may be at jeopardy. The goal is a "Happy Medium". Play a bit above your comfort zone, to challenge yourself and stimulate improvement while not playing so far above your ability that you dread playing.

The calculator below uses the following three (3) commonly accepted, methods to determine which tees to play from:

  • Average driver distance. (see USGA video)
  • Average 5-iron distance.
  • Current handicap index.
All three methods are discussed in more detail below in addition to the Tee it Forward chart.


Please enter your average Driver and 5-Iron yardage (xxx) , and Handicap Index (xx.x) below.
* Required Entries

Tee Selection Calculator
Club Distance Course Tees
Driver : *
5-Iron : *
Handicap : *  

USGA Driver Distance Formula

The USGA offers a tee selection methodology based on a golfers average driver distance. The Driver formula is as follows:

Driver Distance x 28 yards = Course Yardage

Here's another general guideline for choosing the distance at which to play a golf course using your average 5-iron distance, the Iron formula is as follows;

5-Iron Distance x 36 yards = Course Yardage

With these two (2) formulas, the following chart has been constructed using the actual course distances of the tee boxes (Blue, White, Combo, Red and Gold) at the Carson Valley Golf Course. So, to use the chat we'll look at the Red tees which is listed on the seventh (7th) row. The first (1st) column is the "Tee" designation, in this case the Red tees. The second (2nd) column, Yardage, is the actual yardage of the Red tees at Carson Valley, 4677 yards. The third (3rd) column, Distance, contains the average driver yardage, in this case 167 yards, that would equate to the 4677 yards of the Red tees, using the Driver formula above. So, if your average drives are in the 160 to 170 yard range, you should be playing form the Red tees. But at what point do you start looking to step up to the next level, in this case the Combo tees, at 5094 yards? This is where the "Mid" distances come into play. The Mid distance between any two (2) tees is the Transition Threshold. In the sixth (6th) row of the chart, under the Tees column, is the W-C Mid entry. This entry represents the average or median, distance, 4886 yard, between the Red tees yardage at 4677 yards and the Combo tees yardage at 5094 yards. Furthermore, the Driver Distance, which equates to this W-C Mid distance, using the above Driver formula, is 175 yards. Therefore, when your average drive gets to be around 175 yards, you should be considering moving up form the Red tees to the Combo tees.

The same process would be used to select which tees to play from when using the 5-Iron Distance method.

Club Distance Tee Selection
Driver 5 Iron
  Tees Yardage Distance Range Distance Range Tees  
Blue 6020 215 >206 167 >160 Blue
B-W Mid 5760 206 160
  White 5499 196 >189 <=206 153 >147<=160 White
  W-C Mid 5297 189 147    
Combo 5094 182 >175 <=189 142 >136 <=147 Combo
  C-R Mid 4886 175   136    
  Red 4677 167 >146 <=175 130 >114 <=136 Red Tees  
  R-G Mid 4094 146   114    
  Gold 3511 125 <=146 98 <=114 Gold Tees  

Handicap Course Selection Chart

Another method of selecting which tees to play from is based on the golfers Handicap Index. Many golf courses use this method rather than, or in conjunction with, a set of Men's and Women's tees. In-fact, the Nothstar at Tahoe Golf Course uses such a system in conjunction with their standard Blue, White, Maroon, etc. tee designations. The premise for this methodology is, as your handicap goes down you should be moving to longer, more challenging courses, where ultimately a scratch golfer (0 handicap) should be playing from the longest available tees.

The table below sets forth a recommended tee selection for Carson Valley Golf Course based on handicaps.

Handicap Tee Selection
Min HI Max HI Tees
9.9 Blue
10.0 19.9 White
20.0 26.9 Combo
27.0 39.9 Red
40.0 Gold

Tee it Forward Course Selection Chart

The Tee it Forward is a chart using your average drive distance to determine the recommended total course yardage when selecting which tees to play from. You can use this table, but there are lots of "holes" in the table. While there is consistency for each of the nine (9) drive distance entries, which are all 25 yards apart, and the delta between each the Min/Max Yards for each Drive Distance entry is 200 yards, with the exception of a 250 yard delta for the 300 yard drive entry. The consistency of the table ends there with the following;

  • The difference between the Max Yards of one entry and the Min Yards of the next higher entry varies from a low of 200 yards at the 225 Drive Distance entry (4.) to a high of 700 yards at the 150 Drive Distance entry (7.).
  • Calculating a yardage "multiplier", similar to the 28 yards used in the USGA Driver Distance method above, results in a range of yardages from a low of 21 to a high of 27.
  • And finally, all of the CVGC Tee yardages, with the exception of the Gold tees, fall between entries. In fact the Red and Combo tees both fall between the same entries making a tee selection even more challenging.
Tee it Forward Driver Distance Chart
  Drive Distance Min Yards Max Yards CVGC Tees Yardage
1. 300 7150 7400
2. 275 6700 6900    
3. 250 6200 6400
  <250 >225     Blue 6020
4. 225 5800 6000    
  <225 >200 5401 5799 White 5499
5. 200 5200 5400    
  <200 >175 4601 5199 Red & Combo 4677 / 5094
6. 175 4400 4600    
7 150 3500 3700 Gold 3511
8 125 2800 3000    
9. 100 2100 2300