This is so random but I was thinking about this while traveling the other day. Are holes measured from the front of the teepad to the pole in the middle of the basket or the front of the basket itself?
I thought it would refer to the distance from the middle of the tee pad, but I really don't know. Another distance question I have is how do course designers treat doglegs when they list distances? Do they measure in a straight line as the crow flies, tee box to basket, or measure up the middle of the fairway to the middle of the dogleg, and from there straight on to the basket?
There's no need for more accuracy than the nearest 5 feet because you have up to 3m (~10ft) back from the front of the tee for releasing your throw. On doglegs, the proper way to measure it depends on whether the shortcut is truly a legit route for the skill level of the players the tee position is designed for. If it's gold level tee for top players, then maybe several of them can go over the top and you might have to estimate the straight line distance or use GPS. However, for wooded doglegs, just follow the fairway route. Designers usually measure about 5-10 feet into the fairway from the trees that define the inside edge of the dogleg as we measure around the corner.
One thing to remember in the woods is that when you take your stance, the line of play is still on a line thru your mini from the basket. So if you haven't made it to the corner of the dogleg, the proper stance for you might be to the side of your mini rather than behind it. That can sometimes give you a little better angle to get around the corner on your next throw.
So what about holes with multiple routes?
What do we measure?
For instance on my own course I'm opening up a tunnel-hyzer ace run (a shorter route over swamp alder marsh) on a hole that has always been two big anhyzer shots around a wooded corner to the putting circle. The smart three through the fields is nearly 400'. The ace-possible route is about 275'. Direct line about 260'
I believe the right thing to do is to inform the players of distance via each distinct route as well as a direct line measurement to the goal. Scorecards don't have enough space usually, so this info should be on a Tee sign.
But then what do we put on the scorecard?
Coming from someone who has measures or helped measure the 'official' distances on 3 course, I can tell you that they are all measured very different. I try to laser to a landmark from the front of the tee, and on and on until the basket, down the main fairway that the hole was designed to be thrown on. Never measure tee to basket-in a straight line throught the woods because that would be very irrelevant. Some people use wheels, which will measure hills and bumps and be innacurate in their own way.
Re: Measurement in General:
I've used laser range finders from the front of the teepad. Worrying about distance from basket to pole is insignificant because it amounts to a little over one foot over what, 300ft? That's an error of less than 1%, where less than 5% would likely go unnoticed.
On whiteball courses, they'll measure distances from an official teepad marker (normally a colored stone sunk into the ground) to the front of the green. If they measure differently, it'll be noted on the score card.
I've created course maps before, and what you do is measure how you mark it on the map. Always draw a line that shows how you measured the course, not how you imagine people playing it. Do the golfers a favor and put the actual distance to the basket from those dogleg points too. They'll appreciate the added detail.