In this article, we examine the different areas of the golf course that need to be taken into account when setting up at course for a competition.
Ideally, the Committee will have decided on the teeing areas to be used for each hole in advance of the competition. This will have allowed the greenstaff to protect the teeing grounds from play in the run up to the event.
If players are playing practice rounds, it is suggested that the Committee places the tee-markers for practice as far back on the teeing areas as possible, while still enabling a stroke to be made. As the teeing ground is an area two club-lengths in depth, when placing the tee-markers for a competition they should never be closer than two club-lengths from the back of the tee. So, if the tee-markers are a club-length from the back for practice rounds, the area that will be used for the competition will be unaffected. This allows the players to play the course at its full length when practising.
If the tee-markers are placed well ahead of the competition course length during practice, the players are more likely to go back and play from where they think the tee-markers will be for the competition, causing damage to that area in advance of the first round.
Whether it is the Committee or the greenstaff setting the tee-markers on the competition days, it is important that the markers are set pointing towards the ideal hitting line. This can be achieved by eye or, to be absolutely sure, by using something like a T-square.
It is important that, where possible, there is consistency in terms of the width of the teeing areas. The R&A recommends that tee-markers are positioned six or seven yards width apart (seven tends to be for par 3s). If the tee-markers are much farther apart, it increases the area of damage and also increases the likelihood that a player may tee up in front of the tee-markers.
If the teeing area is small, and there is, for example, four days of competition, it is necessary to plan out where the tee-markers will be for each day to ensure that there is enough undamaged space remaining for the last day.
It is also important to keep a close eye on the weather forecast. If there is a strong wind forecast, it could mean that players may not be able to reach the fairway from the planned teeing ground, so give serious consideration to moving the tee forward for that day’s play.