What Is The Rule Of 85 In Golf?

Speaking about the rule of 85, it is the maths equation to evaluate what tee position one should hit the golf ball on the golf courses. 

The 85 formula says that if your age and current handicap index are equal to 85, you need to use the senior tees or the next closest set of tees.

You might be wondering at what age you should use senior tees closest? A senior golfer is more than 50 years old for the PGA tournaments. 

In the game of golf, you will not find any set of age when a player can move up to the senior tees. However, it happens around when you are 70 years old. 

Keep reading to know more about the role of 85.

What Do You Mean By The Rule Of 85?

Rule Of 85

This determines the tee position to hit the ball. On golf courses, the senior tees are marked as gold or yellow. It is an excellent idea to check with the golf club pro if you don’t know much about this rule and whether it applies to you.

Most local clubs follow the rule of 85 golf in an informal away, which is not legally enforced. This is different from the rules mentioned in the USGA or R&A handbook.

One of the main ideas behind the rule is to assign a golfer or a bogey golfer to a tee box position who is a senior golfer and has a high handicap.

Younger golfers have strong muscles, and they can attain better distances. But when you age, your muscle stops functioning at the maximum level, and you will not be able to attain much distance. 

This is where the rule of 85 golf comes to play, which helps with a forward tee position.

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What Tees To Play Based On Handicap Index?

You can play the white tees if you are a mid to high handicapper. On the other hand, golfers with a low handicap can go for the blue tees.

In general, most women golfers play on the red tees. However, playing gold or yellow tees is good for senior handicappers.

Some experts also suggest using the driving distance as an alternative to the tee box position system. Here, 200 yards of base drive distance determines the tee position. 

You can play on the red tees if you can hit the ball 200 yards.

How Far Should A Senior Golfer Hit A Drive?

Golfers 40 to 50 years old can attain a driver distance of 220 yards. If you are 50 to 60 years old, go for 211 yards of driver distance. If you are more than 60 years old, then 196 yards will be a good distance.

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How To Choose A Correct Tee Box?

As per the rule, if you hit the driver under 200 yards, then you should play the game from the closest tee box. If you generally hit from around 200 to 230, go for the next farthest tees. 

For 300 yards of driver distance, the recommended course yardage tees are 7150 yards to 7400 yards.

How Do You Break 85 On Golf Courses?

If the golf ball is within 15 feet of the hole in four shots on par 5, three on par 4, and two on par 3, you need to hit some GIR- Green In Regulation

For example, four GIRs can be a good idea. If you can play that 18 times, then you can break 85. Besides, good course management and short games are important.

What Is My Handicap If I Shoot 85 On The Golf Course?

To calculate the handicap for shooting 85, you can consider this example and a simple maths equation. Suppose the course slope value is 113, and 72 is the course rating.

To calculate the golf handicap, first, you need to know the handicap differential. And the differential here will be:

(85-27)/113 x 113= 85-72 = 13

Now, you can evaluate the golf handicap for 85 by multiplying the differential by 0.96. So the result is 13 x 0.96- 12.48.


Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the rule of 85.

At What Age Do Golfers Hit From Senior Tees?

As per a club rule and National Golf Foundation, you can use senior tees at 70 years. This is also called the age rule. Most golf clubs in Europe and the USA follow this rule, which is also very effective for regulating tee positions for players.

How Far Behind The Tee Makers Can One Hit The Golf Ball?

As per the rules, you can go for two club lengths when placing the tee behind the tee markers inside the tee box. However, some players prefer to create more room based on the hole, weather conditions, and slope.

Does The Height Of A Tee Affect Driving Distance?

In general, the tee’s higher can affect the swing path with the driver. This will affect the spin that your golf ball will have. As per the experts, it is teeing the golf ball up can lower the spin on the drivers and attain better distance.

What Percentage Of Golf Players Can Break 90?

As per a report submitted by the National Golf Foundation, around 26 percent of all golfers average consistently shoot below 90 on a regulation 18-hole course. And only 2 percent of them can break 80.

Can An Average Golfer Break 80 Or 85?

Yes, the average golfer can constantly swing as well as break 85. However, they need to practice and understand the right tee boxes to play the shots.

Final Words

The game of golf has some non-official rules on many golf courses, for example, the rule of 85 golf. And after going through this article, you can develop a good knowledge about this. 

Experts encourage golfers to follow the rule and understand their tees before hitting the golf courses.

See also What is a shamble in golf?

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