Rules and Rants

It’s OK to be different

temp fix empty alt images for attachment
(Golf Canada)

Teeing it forward and creating combo tees (sometimes referred to as blended or hybrid tees – using a mix of two sets of tees) are great ways to add more fun to the game. But can these methods be used fairly in competition? Thanks to the Golf Canada Handicap System, a competition or friendly match can be equitable played when you have golfers playing against one another from two different sets of tees (with different course/slope ratings) or having a mixed competition where men compete against women.

Here’s how it works:

Section 3-5 of the Golf Canada Handicap Manual explains how to set up an event involving two different tees or course/slope ratings. Because a course rating reflects the probable score of a scratch golfer, the higher-rated course is more difficult, and the player playing from the set of tees with the higher course rating receives additional stroke(s) equal to the difference between each course rating, with .5 or greater rounded upward. The additional stroke(s) are added to the course handicap of the player playing from the higher-rated set of tees. For example, if men playing from the middle tees where the men’s course rating is 70.3 compete against men playing from the back tees where the men’s course rating is 72.6, the men playing from the back tees will add two strokes (72.6 -70.3 = 2.3 rounded to 2) to their course handicap.

For example, Gary and Bob have identical handicap factors (10.4) but wish to have a friendly match while competing from different tees. First we have to define what their target score is. Target score is what a golfer needs to shoot in order to play to his or her handicap; it is the result of taking the course handicap and adding it to the course rating of the tee to be played. Many golfers often use an informal and incorrect version of this by adding their course handicap to the par of the course/tee they play.

It’s all about fun

Some golfers may think they aren’t “good enough” to carry a handicap or play in competitive events, but look how fun the Handicap System makes playing the game! Whether it’s friendly play, partnered events from the same or different tees, the handicap system appropriately adjusts for these parameters, allowing every player to enjoy the game. Many clubs already incorporate competing from different tees into their events, a popular move with members who are not forced to play a tee they don’t necessarily feel comfortable with in order to participate. Participation in events increases and the experience is more enjoyable for all.

For more details on how to score at events where players use different tees, please reference the Golf Canada Handicap Manual at or inquire with your golf club.