How to Pick Your Tee Spot Wisely

By Rowena Pedrena

golfer makes putt
Have you every played a round of golf and never taken the time to select your tee spot when teeing off? Maybe you are nervous and anxious and quickly want to get the hole started, or maybe you're just unaware of what you're doing. Whether you're a beginning or someone who's been playing for years, selecting your tee spot is key to starting a hole off right.

There is an art to teeing the ball. It can make a difference in the flight, and the spin of the ball.

Prior to the invention of the wooden tee it was really an art. The player had to make his own tee constructed from wet sand. At each teeing ground there would be a tee box. This box would have two sections - one for a bucket of water, and the other section a bucket of sand. To form a tee, a player would place a gob of wet sand in the palm of his hand and by curling his thumb around the sand would form a mound that would be shaped like a teepee. The height was adjusted by the pressure in setting the ball on it.

With the wooden tee it is so much easier not only to tee the ball, but to obtain the desired height.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

  1. Take a look at your score card before even setting foot on the tee box. Observe the layout of the hole, particularly on a par four or five. You won't hit the green on your tee shot, so you want to land the ball to set up for your second or approach shot.
  2. Focus on which side of the tee box you need to stand in order to achieve the shot you're trying to create (such as a draw or fade). Where the tee markers are lined up on the tee box in reference to the pin will guide you to which side to stand to align yourself properly for the type of shot you normally hit.
  3. Take several steps backwards and observe the level of the ground. Find the area that is the most level. Unlike the driving range, a tee box is not guaranteed to be completely flat.
  4. Stick your tee in the ground and place your ball on top of it.
  5. Address the ball and adopt your full stance. Check your alignment one more time and make sure the spot you picked is where you want to be. Take a look at your target and confirm that you're standing where you envisioned before teeing the ball.
  6. Check your footing. Do not to stand on a divot (more common on par threes). Sometimes you may misjudge the length of your club relative to your stance. If this happens and you find yourself standing in a divot. readjust your teed ball.
  7. Swings are different so you may have to adjust - but as a general rule when using the Driver, tee the ball high enough so that at least half of the ball is above the top edge of the clubface. If the ball is teed too low the ball is contacted too low on the clubface resulting in a "thin" or possibly topped shot. And when teeing too high the ball is contacted on the upper portion of the face creating a "skied" shot - or high floater.
  8. On a par three always use a tee. Push the tee into the ground until the head is just above the ground. This will give more solid contact, creating more backspin on your shots.

Teeing secret: For lower trajectory, lean the tee forward. For a higher trajectory, lean the tee slightly backward.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be aware that USGA rules allow the player to tee the ball up to two club lengths behind the start of the tee markers. In addition, only the ball must remain within the tee markers--your stance does not--so take advantage of the entire length of the teeing area.

About the Author

Rowena Pedrena is currently working with The First Tee Metropolitan New York as a program manager and instructor. She played division one women's golf at Mount Saint Mary's College in Maryland, and has over seven years instruction experience, teaching adults and childrens both individually and in group classes.