Definition of 'Championship Tees' or 'Back Tees' on a Golf Course

Brandt Snedeker tees off from the championship tees at the Sony Open
Playing from the championship tees, or back tees. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The "championship tees" or "back tees" are the most rearward set of tees on each teeing ground of a golf course. Taken together, the 18 back tees on an 18-hole course are the tees from which the golf course plays the longest.

Most golf courses provide multiple sets of tees on their teeing grounds. Most common is three sets of tees, which can be referred to as forward, middle and back, or by a color-coding system employed by the golf course (for example, the red, white and blue tees). A highly skilled golfer would most likely want to play the course at its maximum yardage, and, therefore, would play from the back tees, or championship tees, on each teeing ground.

In addition to being called the back tees or championship tees, these most rearward sets of tees are often called, in slang, "the tips" or the "Tiger tees," or might be called the "blue tees."

If you play from the championship tees, you are playing the golf course as its maximum length. And that means that only highly skilled golfers should play from the championship tees. A 24-handicapper who tries to play from the back tees is only making things much harder for himself and, likely, for others by slowing down play.

The term "championship tees" derives because the back tees are often the ones used in tournament play - club championships, for example. Hence, "championship tees."

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Examples: "The golf course measures 7,210 yards from the back tees." "It's a par-73 course from the championship tees."