Play the Correct Yardage for a More Enjoyable Experience

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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Do you ever feel beaten up after a round of golf? If you experience this maybe you are playing from the wrong set of tee markers. Consistently having fairway woods and long irons for second shots can become overbearing. The average driving distance on the PGA Tour is roughly 285 yards and 240 yards for the LPGA players. That means the average male tour player has 155 yards left for his second shot on a 440 yard par 4 and 160 for the ladies on a 400 yard par 4.

It is safe to say that most of the golfing public hits the driver 240 yards or less. That means a par four would have to be 385 yards on average, in order for you to have the same second shot distance as the average tour player would on a hole that measures 440 or 400 respectively.
If you play a course that averages 385 yards for the par fours, the overall length of that golf course would be 6250. (This is if the par 5s average 450 and the pars 3s 150)

The lesson here is many of you are playing the golf course from tees that are too long. The best thing to do is to look at the scorecard. Pick the set of tees that best fits your driving distance average. Below is a chart that I have come up with to help in intelligent tee selection. These are simply suggestions that will make this game a lot more enjoyable.

In addition to making the game more enjoyable, this will help with the pace of play. One of the single biggest complaints by golfers that play public or resort style golf courses is pace of play. There is no reason an 18-hole round of golf should take more than 4 hours.  

I hope this simple concept makes playing golf a much more enjoyable experience for all of you.

John Stahlschmidt is the PGA Head Instructor for the TOUR Academy TPC Scottsdale. Comments: email John at