Scoring from the reds

I’ve been intending to play my home course from the red tees for ages, and have decided to get it done in the next couple of weeks.

From the blues (6250m / 6900y), I tend to shoot 80-84.

From the whites (5950m / 6550y), I tend to shoot 78-81.

The reds are 5550m / 6100y — what’s a reasonable expectation for my score? Am I kidding myself to think around par is doable?



My pro made me do it thinking i would score lower but i showed him and scored the same. Prior to the round he thought i would easily score 6 shots lower.


Really depends on how good your short game is!! You’re going to see different challenges, that’s for sure


I’ve thought about doing something similar. Like teach myself to get in the mindset of making birdies. Don’t know if it will actually work.

So often I can get happy with pars and bogeys and never feel like I have that next gear to go low and score when I have too.

Be interested if practicing up like that could help build that.

I image many of the saved shots would maybe be from just not losing tee balls rather than significantly more birdies.

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I think everyone should do this, at least a few times to mix it up. I’ve found that it makes for just as much challenge. I hit a lot more long irons, and had to take some funky driving lines. Tons of fun though!

First time from the reds was close to my average score, but once I got a little more comfortable with the lines, the scores came down significantly.

Enjoy a different look at your home track!

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I strongly encourage golfers to do this fairly often. It’s fun, teaches you to get comfortable breaking scoring barriers, and makes the golf course appear new to you in a very different way.


Depends on the course and your skillset. It’s a very fun exercise though.

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We did this on Saturday. It was crappy (cold and rainy). So we played much faster and saw some new shots. I would recommend it in any weather.

I am currently a 7.6, course 9. Our blues are 72.9/138/~6600, and our reds are 66.5/121/~5300. There were some holes that were way shorter, and some others that were blocked by angles from the up tees.

I am in a distance slump, so it was great to take the pressure off the driver and try to score. I shot a 76 that could have been a couple lower but that is always the case. I posted it (75 ESC) and it was a 7.9 differential. I have an 82 from the blues that is a 7.5 differential.

I think your most likely score is your course handicap (based on slope only) added to the rating. I was an 8 from the reds and that would be a 74.5, so it was pretty close.

Everyone should do it. It gives you some different angles and distances, and it should be a faster round.


I do this several times a year since I play with my wife most often and it’s easier to just play her tees sometimes. Plus nothing boosts the ego more than nuking mid/long irons past her drives.

Score improvement probably depends on your game. My driving is atrocious so doing this and never hitting driver = 8-10 strokes better.


My wedge game is currently so garbage I pretty much shoot the same score relative to par regardless of the distance or rating. Tough scene.


Let us know how this turns out. I’m definitely going to try next season.

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Can I ask what you say to those who score exactly the same from the reds? I’m willing to do it but I’m not sure I’m doing it right? Am I not supposed to use driver? Am I supposed to leave myself 60 in every time?


If you score exactly the same when you move up, then something is off. When you move forward you should be hitting more fairways, or have less club into greens, or both.

If you club down off the tee, then you should be hitting more fairways and scoring better for that reason. (If not hitting more fairways, work on your long irons / hybrids / layups.) (If hitting fairways and not scoring, work on short approaches and short game).

If you don’t club down off the tee, and don’t score better from closer to the green, work on your short approaches, partial wedges, and short game.


I’ve done this a handful of times and find that I end up shooting the low end of the spectrum from my regular tees. Maybe it is an attitude thing - like I think I should easily shoot 65 - but it hasn’t happened that way for me.

Similar to what @tombudsman said - the angles are off and a lot of the time I’d hit to the same spot I’d hit to if I was playing the regular tees. It’s the same course from there.


Every course is different. For me, only a couple of holes put me in the same spot in the fairway.

One would have been somewhat drivable over trees, but my trajectory would not cooperate so I hit an iron to where I usually hit a 3 wood. The other hole only gave the reds a 20-30 yard advantage, and in the crappy conditions was the same. Most others were like @nandersen said, shorter different clubs into greens with some being weirder shots (angles and obstalces) to get to the same place.

This was also my first time (of many more) to do this, so I have a sample of one. The scorecard was interesting to look at, because the strokes given on holes were different. The reds got 100 yards on the #1 handicap hole, so the red 1 stroke hole was something different. The bummer was the par 3’s ended up being in a narrow range of 85-95 yards.


Right, I think your explanation makes a lot of sense, and I’m glad you added the disclaimer about “sample of one”.

If you were to do this 100 times, then the advantage yielded from hitting an iron instead of a fairway wood would be much more obvious, and you would then see the scoring advantage manifest. (And the advantage from 80 vs. 100 yards, 100 vs. 120 yards, etc, etc. “20-30 yard advantage” really adds up over the course of multiple rounds.)

You should probably do at least 2-3 rounds from the front tees (maybe even 5 or more) before really drawing conclusions about your own play. (Just because you can pull off that shot once doesn’t mean you can do it again.)


I don’t want to spoil any #ForthcomingContent, but I did this recently and it was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. Depending on the course, it actually takes driver out of your hands a ton and makes you hit a lot more different clubs than you would normally. Like you mentioned, it’s a great way to test whether you can go low when you’re expected to go low (most of us can’t).


I think it’s important to note that, at a lot of courses, the reds have very little advantage distance-wise. I’ve played par 4s that have the reds on the same tee box as the whites (10-15 yrd advantage or 5-7 yrd advantage per shot). Or sometimes a distance advantage will mean a bad shot angle.

Maybe if you’re not scoring better from the reds it has nothing to do with you and just show that the reds tee boxes at that course suck.


Definitely acknowledge what you’re saying, and think that you raise some really good points.

The data does show that even this is significant, though, over the course of multiple rounds.

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Ding ding ding. Winner!

I grew up playing with my mom and some courses are hilariously bad about this.