Course Management: Tee Box Strategy

Dan Gold
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Course Management Strategy 101

A round of golf can be broken down into a couple components throughout the week. One of these components is playing the tee box!

When you tee the ball up and then play it, you’re utilizing what I like to call “caveman” strategy. Plain and simple, you’ll take the brute force approach and hope for the best! This strategy typically yields you a pretty ugly shot, and then the rest is up to the game of golf.

In this segment, we’re going to talk about strategy that will push your tee shots out of the caves and into the land of common sense!

The first thing we need to touch on is course management.

Course management is an art form, and it can be applied to almost any shot on the course. On the tee box it’s very important to select a tee shot that is appropriate for the hole you are shooting at.

A lot of new golfers tend to play a shot from the tee box that will get them on the green as quick as possible. It just so happens, that a lot of the time, this does not work out in their best interest because they may be too far from the green or in a spot that will make it difficult to hit the green in regulation.

Tee Box Strategy

A Quick Explanation

In’ golf, course management is another term used to describe how a golfer goes about playing the course. Course management is more than just a matter of how well you play golf, because it involves where, how, and when you play.

For example, if you play the par-5 hole with two drives and two balls, that is a different strategy than if you play the par-5 hole with two drives and one ball.

A more advanced strategy would be to bury your tee shot in the fairway on the par 5 hole, which then allows you to lay up short of a difficult approach and therefore give yourself a better chance to reach the green in two shots.

So it’s a matter of how well one plays, but the question is how one plays. And Tee Box Strategy is the art of developing proper Tee Box strategy that allows a golfer to play their best.

Tee Box Strategy and Course Management is the art or strategy of how you play the tee shot on each hole. It involves putting all the pieces together and identifying the target on the golf course that gives you the best chance to shoot your best score.

How to Score Low on Each Type of Hole

There are three types of holes:

Prohibitive (Hole occupies half your Par, E.g. a 5 on a par 4). Even (Hole is 3 shots below Par, E.g. a 4 on a Par 5 ).Shootie (Hole is one shot above Par, E.g. a 4 on a Par 4).

Prohibitive Holes

If you have a hole that is Prohibitive, you need to correctly play to a certain level.


When the Closest Hole to the Pin is Prohibitive, the easiest way to play the hole is to hit a 3-iron off the tee to allow a reachable approach shot. However, if the approach is into the wind and a shot will find trouble, that shot needs to made regardless of how difficult the approach is.


The best strategy on a Prohibitve Hole is to size up the risk/reward.

On an approach shot into the wind, for example, opt for a layup if the green is narrow.

If the approach is short into the wind and there is trouble or a narrow landing area, you need to go for it.

On an approach from the fairway, the shot needs to be carefully selected and may demand a short iron or long iron depending on the distance of the obstacle.

Start Practicing Course Management Today

Too often we get away with bad shots on the Golf course because we are capable of hitting a good shot at will.

Let me be very clear: the pros hit terrible shots on the golf course all the time! I’m sure you’ve seen a professional golfer take an extreme divot after a poor swing.

A golfer can hit a great shot in the fairway and a terrible shot in the rough.

When starting to manage our game from the tee, the lesson is, don’t be too quick to judge if you are going to play with a shot and don’t feel the need to punish yourself even if you get into a bad situation.

Establish a go-to routine and practice regularly.

Here are some things to practice:

Think about trajectory and distance.

Do you want to hit the ball on the ground or get it up.

Which line is going to give you the best look for your shot?

Don’t breakdown on the first bad shot.

Keep your head down, and focus on the shot.

Arriving at the tee box ready to hit a great tee based on the tees you have selected will have a huge impact on your decisions.

It is easy to have a go to routine as you approach the tee box.