We talk to General Manager Gary Beves about Goodwood’s move to a new tee box system based on handicap and carry distance.

Staying true to its ethos of making golf simple, flexible and accessible, Golf at Goodwood is redefining the way golfers approach its challenging championship courses.

In a bold move away from the traditional gender-based tee box system, Goodwood has made its red, yellow and white tees redundant. They've been replaced instead with dynamic front, middle and back tees, with recommendations of which one you play from depending on your handicap and carry distance.

The innovative approach is designed to enhance the enjoyment of the game for members and guests, making golf at Goodwood more accessible and engaging for all.

Can you explain the new tee box system and what you hope it will achieve?

For us, it was very much about improving the enjoyment and wanting to maximise the fun our members and guests were having on the courses here at Goodwood.

We’re very fortunate to have two wonderful championship courses, but both can be very challenging in their own right. We were certain by removing the stigma of certain colours of tees and making them accessible for all, that we would see increased use of the various tee boxes.

Of course, the pace of play improving is certainly a by-product of the ‘front’ tees being used more, but this was not the driving force behind our decision.

We took that one step further a couple of years ago and also introduced tee recommendations to coincide with our new tee colours. The tee recommendations factor in things like how far you carry the ball and your handicap index, and then give a steer on which tee you’ll get the most enjoyment from. These recommendations are on the first tee of both courses as well as our scorecards. 

What drove the decision to implement the new tees?

As I mentioned, we have two wonderful courses here at Goodwood but primarily, it was The Downs course that was in our minds when discussing whether we should be introducing front, middle, and back tees rather than the traditional red, yellow, and white.

The reason for that is that the course is very challenging, and we felt that encouraging more people to play from the forward tees would be more enjoyable! 

Have you noticed both men and women playing from different tees than they would have done previously?

Most certainly, by changing the phraseology and colours to front (green), middle (orange), and back (purple) we’ve seen many members move forward a tee box, and indeed, some of our very talented women move back a tee box too.

Factor in the tee recommendations initiative and we are happy with the volume of members that have moved forward a tee box, although, of course, we ultimately just want people to play from where they will get the most enjoyment.

Overall, how successful has implementing the new tee system been so far?

Overall, we’re really happy. I am certain more of our members would benefit from moving forward a tee box but ultimately it takes time to change behaviours and routines.

We will continue to encourage people to play from the tee that they will enjoy most and as I always like to tell our members and the team here – no one has ever had less fun moving up a tee box!

Is it time to ditch traditional tees and moved to ability tees instead? Sidcup Golf Club are also making the move. Read their article now >