Golf - How High to Tee the Ball

Golf - How High to Tee the Ball

Dick Moss

I never know how height to tee up my golf ball, and I'm sure other golfers are confused about this too, because I see a lot of variation in my golf partners, with tee heights ranging from low to inches above the ball.

Fortunately, the confusion now ends. A study conducted at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro has determined that a high tee-height is most effective for the new large-head drivers that are now most commonly used.

The Study
The study involved 27 golfers, from the age of 25 to 71, with handicaps ranging from zero to 29. Most had previously employed a mid-tee height, although two had used a high tee height.

Each golfer hit 10 shots at each tee height, and the best five drives for each height was recorded. Golfers used their own drivers, with clubhead sizes ranging from 410 to 460 cc. Accuracy for each drive was also recorded.

Tee Heights Defined
This is how the different tee heights were defined:

  • Low: Top edge of ball and club were the same height. Entire ball is below the top of the club.
  • Medium: Half the ball is above the top of the club.
  • High: Bottom edge of ball is slightly above the top of the club. Entire ball is above the top of the club.
Tee Heights: Low (Left), Medium (Med), High (Right)
Tee Heights: Low (Left), Medium (Med), High (Right)

Results
Driving distance for the high tee height was significantly higher, yielding an average of 12 more yards per drive than for the low tee height and 3 yards more than for the medium tee height. The greatest improvement was found in the high-handicap golfers, with an average of an extra 18 yards over a low-tee height and four yards over the medium tee height.

Accuracy was not compromised with the higher tee heights.

As a result of this study, one third of the subjects decided to change from a medium to a high tee height.

Left: Fairway Woods & Hybrids—Tee 1/2 Inch Above Ground
Middle: Long Irons—Tee 1/4 Inch Above Ground
Right: Short Irons—Leave Only the Tee Head Above Ground
Left: Fairway Woods & Hybrids—Tee 1/2 Inch Above Ground
Middle: Long Irons—Tee 1/4 Inch Above Ground
Right: Short Irons—Leave Only the Tee Head Above Ground

Explanation
If the ball is aligned off the front foot and teed up just above the top of the driver, the club will make contact just above the center of the face - the sweet spot for the new larger drivers. The club will also be moving upwards as it makes contact. The result is a higher launch angle and less spin, which produces better distance.

Tee Heights for Other Clubs
The above study gives the best tee-heights for large-headed drivers. But what about your other clubs? Here are Golf Digest's recommendations:

  • Fairway Woods & Hybrids: leave 1/2 inch of the tee above the ground.
  • Long Irons (to the six-iron) leave 1/4 inch of the tee above the ground.
  • Short Irons (6-iron to wedge): leave only the head of the tee above the ground.


    Reference:

    1. Alan Bastable, "Tee it High or Low?" Golf Magazine, Volume 48, Issue 6, 2006. 

    2. Daniel Falcon, "300 Yard Drive: The #1 Golf Driving Blueprint For Hitting The Driver WAY Longer!" Kindle Edition, VL Media, 2015

     

    To download the pdf version of this
    article, click here: Download Now

     

    © Physical Education Update, www.peUpdate.com

  • Printer-Friendly Format