“Playing from the tips” means to play from the farthest tee box on a golf course. The “tip” of the golf course. Alternatively, it means to play the entire distance on a golf course. For example, if a golf course is 6,100 yards, “playing from the tips” means playing the whole 6,100-yard course.
This phrase can also be described as a golf course that “tips out” at 6,100 yards.
There are three and sometimes four tee boxes on most golf courses if they include junior/beginner tee boxes. Playing from the tips means to play from the tee box that is farthest from the hole.
The junior/beginner tees will be closest to the hole and provide an easier time getting to the green in a reduced amount of strokes. For beginner players, this can take one or two strokes off each hole compared to playing from the tips.
Other names for the tips include:
Who should play from the tips?
Generally, playing the tips should be reserved for people with a low-handicap. It doesn’t serve a high handicapper or beginner right to play from the tips because it will cause unneeded difficulty in getting the ball to the green.
Even if a course is shorter, say one that is 6,000 yards. It may still be challenging, with lots of curves, uphill holes, and hazards. Playing from the tips will include all of these challenges, providing another reason for beginner golfers to opt for the closer tees.
Even for experienced players, playing from the tips may not always be the best idea.
Despite all of the competition and crazy wedge shots we see on tv, golf is supposed to be fun. Some days we just don’t hit as well as others. Playing a closer tee box may be better for casual games where you are just trying to have fun and not emulate the pros.
I know experienced golfers with low handicaps who still play from the tee one up from the tips. It all just comes down to preference and what kind of game you want to play.
Should beginners ever play the tips?
Yes! Some days of golf, you may be feeling great. You know the feeling. Where you step up to every tee and smoke a straight shot down the fairway, you feel on fire and want to see how good a game you can play.
Trying out the tips is never a bad idea. You may get some extra practice in with a few additional strokes, but that is alright! It is all about getting better and having fun.
Knowing what golf terms mean (like up and down) can be particularly helpful when fitting in at golf courses. We hope learning what playing from the tips means helps you!