What is it with the red tees on some courses?

Having just finished ten days golfing at the excellent Belle Mare Plage resort in Mauritius, my wife and I were reflecting on some of our on-course discussions during our eight rounds of golf!

Most typically they settled on the position of the ladies tees on some holes. Let’s take The Links course for example. A great golf course, but some, we feel, anomalies, in the position of the ladies tees.

This the same as courses we’ve played in the US. There are no extra shots given for the red tees, just much shorter holes in many cases. An extreme example of this is the par 3 14th hole. 137 off the whites, just 90 yards off the reds with most of the water taken out of play.

Overall here is how the The Links course measures up to our home course

White Red
Henbury 6,001 5,527
The Links 6,112 4,594
5th hole at The Links at Belle Mare Plage
5th hole at The Links / Belle Mare Plage

So almost 1,000 yards shorter off the red tees.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not moaning just making observations about the way some holes are designed.

Take for example this hole, the par 4 5th hole. From the white tees the it’s 360 yards. For me that’s a strongish 3-wood to the fairway and then an 8/9-iron to the green (with a one club following wind).  Let’s ignore the fact that in two of my four rounds I managed to miss the green completely, but did manage to get up and down both times!

For MrsG the hole is just 231 yards. So with a good drive & a decent roll she had just 54 yards to the flag.


13th hole at The Links at Belle Mare Plage
13th hole at The Links / Belle Mare Plage

Contrast that with the par 4 13th hole. 384 yards from the white tees and 319 from the reds. The landing area is mostly up slopes and it’s mostly into the prevailing wind. So on this hole MrsG was getting around a 150-160 yard drive. Leaving a second shot into the green, that’s longer than her  drive, over a large expanse of water.

My point here is that it’s fine to shorten the course but give more thought to where the red tees are positioned. I just wonder whether when Rodney Wright & Peter Alliss designed the course they had a woman golfer on the team?


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