A tee is a tee…. right? Well not necessarily. Just like all of golf equipment, there are a myriad of options. Regardless of which tee you chose, the first thing you need to do is tee the ball at the right height for the club you are hitting – and be consistent.
According to the R&A rule book: “it must not be longer than 4” (101.6mm) and must not be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate the line of play or influence the movement of the ball”. In fact, the development of the tee was the last major change to the rules of golf. Before this, balls were teed up on little piles of sand. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there were many variations that were either deemed illegal or didn’t catch on - until the 1920’s when the “Reddy Tee”, the humble wooden tee as we know it today, took off.
good one! Ideally you want your ball sitting just above the cut surface because “you still need to hit down to make it go up”. If you tee your ball too high with an iron, it makes it very hard to hit a solid shot.
Fairway wood: just a little higher than for an iron/hybrid. Remember you’re sweeping the ball, you’re making contact as your swing bottoms out – not before (iron) and not on the way up (driver). So you want the ball teed up like you’ve got a peachy lie in the middle of the fairway.
Driver: most of what is written about tee height for your driver will tell you – you want about half the ball above the crown of your driver when you place the club on the ground behind the ball. This is a general rule as some players like more and some less. Remember the aim with the driver is to catch the ball just after your swing bottoms out and the driver head is starting to come up.
So armed with the above information, what’s right for you. You basically have two options re the material your tee is made out of - wood or plastic - and this is purely personal – though the “greener” option is wood.
Plastic- certainly a better option for longevity, as a plastic tee won’t break as easily. Plastic Step Tees are a good option for consistency as they have a predetermined height regulator so you can’t help but tee the ball at basically the same height every time. They come in varying step heights from very short for irons and hybrids, mid-range for fairway woods and the longer steps for your driver.
Then there are: wedge tees, long-life tees, spike tees, rubber tops, low friction, tees with moulded ribs for height regulation and believe it or not – anti-slice tees (an illegal gimmick?? You be the judge).
Wooden – still the most popular tee worldwide. These also come in varying lengths depending on club and preference, but as mentioned earlier, consistency is the name of the game. There are of course plain wooden tees with no markings, but a simple stripe of “paint” has been added to tees so consistent heights can be attained. These also come with varying heights depending on club and/or preference.
Personally, I use the latter for my driver. As mentioned, if I’m hitting an iron or a fairway wood off the tee, then most of my tee is in the ground so a mark on the tee isn’t really required, it’s when I’m hitting driver that it matters most. There’s certain things I can do EVERY TIME I step into a drive (I’d love to have that consistently repetitive swing but like most of us…. I don’t) – I can make sure I have precise target, I can align my feet and body accordingly, I can put the ball in the correct position, I can make sure my grip is sound– and I can tee the ball at the same height! Every time.
So let Al have his naked lady tees and you get yourself something that just might help your game, at least a little.
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