What Are The Golf Senior Tee Box Rules?

The new handicap index system has cleared the way for any golfer to play from the Senior or Forward tee box.

To put it bluntly, we no longer have a golf handicap but rather a golf Index.

The calculation of the index is very similar to that of our previous handicap,

but with a few changes introduced.

Advantages of The Senior Tee Box

The new system allows the golfer to choose from which tee box he wishes to play, on any given day. This means the golfer has options, which is unlike before.

To bring this into a  real scenario, consider the following:

On many coastal courses, the wind can play havoc with your score and your swing.

So the golfer can now choose to play from the forward tee, normally blue, when inclement weather is forecast.

This simple decision can reduce the length of the course by as much as 600 meters.

Playing off the club tee the length is reduced by over 300 meters.

These are actual distances from my home links course.


In the old days, before the index system, age was the main contributing factor determining the use of the forward tee. What this achieved was to keep aging members from leaving the game completely, mainly out of frustration.

Many golf clubs today still apply an age rule for the use of the forward tees, especially on competition days. 70 years of age was the benchmark for most.

Some senior golf societies have an age entry level of 55 years and most members play from the forward tee box.

Further reading – At What Age Do Golfers Play From The Senior Tee?

Concession of Strokes

Most of us have played this magnificent game for many years and derived great pleasure and personal achievement.

Therefore we understand and play to the rules with integrity and etiquette.

So with all these new advantages of selecting our tee box, determining our handicap, we expect there to be a concession somewhere.

Moving to the forward tee box you will forfeit a stroke or 2 for the round. Unfortunately, we do not determine this.

Index Chart

Every golf course has its index chart based on the new slope system of that particular course.

Without going into too much complex detail, and in simple terms, the slope is influenced by the difficulty and length of the course.

The wind is also factored into this equation.

When you arrive to play your round, you will determine your handicap for that day, by your choice of the tee box.

Match your index with the color tee box on the chart and you have your handicap for the day.

One golden rule is that you may not change from one color tee box to another color during your round.

In Summary

A few specific rules apply when you play off the forward or senior tee box, and I have covered them in this article.

It has now become common practice for the tee boxes to be renamed, back, middle and front.

The main purpose is to encourage golfers to move forward to the tee that matches their ability without any stigmatism. ( This is my version of the word ego.)

This move will also speed up play.

In any round of golf, the same rules apply to all golfers, irrespective of the tee box they elect to play.

Tee Box Etiquette

To those of you who are fairly new to the game of golf, here is a list that I have compiled of the can-do and can not- do on the tee box.


  • Allow the winners or the player that scored the lowest score (medal) on the previous hole, to move onto the tee box first.
  • The player who is about to play his tee shot “ owns” the tee box.
  • Always stand on the ball side of the player when he is addressing the ball.
  • Keep quiet when the player is at address.
  • Stand still.
  • Watch your shadow.

Do Not

  • Stand behind a player about to tee off.
  • Move or shuffle your feet.
  • Stand too close.
  • Fiddle with coins or pegs in your pocket. ( this is called Gamesmanship)
  • Sneeze, cough, or blow your nose.
  • Drop a ball or peg when the player is at address.
  • Whisper or talk.
  • Make comments about the player’s set up, stance, or swing.

These may sound trivial, simple, or a “bit over the top”, but you do not want to be rebuked by a player who is fastidious about his game and life in general.

Etiquette- Slow Play

No golfer should ever forget the importance of etiquette on the course.

Golf is a time-consuming game and unfortunately, the speed of play on the course, is the number one area of concern throughout the world.

  • Always consider your fellow golfers behind you and try to keep up with the covey in front of you.
  • Sure it is polite to assist your partner to look for his ball in the rough, but make sure you know where your ball is.
  • Walk up between shots and even play “ready golf” especially if you should have a slow player in your covey.
  • Enjoy every round you play.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.

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