Explaining 'Alternate Tees' On a Golf Course

The term "alternate tees" in golf refers to a golf hole that has two separate sets of tee boxes. For our example, we'll call them Tee Box A and Tee Box B. Both tee boxes have the full set of tee markers: Tee Box A has forward, middle, back tees; Tee Box B has forward, middle, back tees.

And they are on the same hole. What's the point of alternate tees? The point is to give golfers a different look at the start of a hole during different rounds.

Most commonly, alternate tees are employed by 9-hole golf courses. To play a full, 18-hole round on a 9-hole golf course you have to, obviously, play the course twice.

So alternate tees give the golfer a different look the second time around such a course. In your first loop around the nine, you would play from (sticking with our example) Tee Box A on each hole. When you go around again to complete your 18, you would play from Tee Box B. And the golf course is just giving you a different look so the two nines you play feel a bit different from each other.

Alternate tees on the same hole, therefore, can have different yardages and provide different angles of play to the fairway, perhaps opening different options.

Alternate tees on a golf hole are sometimes provided for other reasons, typically related to maintenance, but 9-hole courses are where they are most likely to be found. (Even then, however, alternate tees are not all that common.)

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