Why Tee Height Is Important

By Steve Silverman

Tee height is one of the most hotly debated topics in golf. The conventional wisdom is that to hit an effective tee shot, you must tee the ball up high so your drivers--the biggest and bulkiest clubs you have--can make a clean pass at the ball. It's hard to argue that strategy when a high- or medium-handicapper is hitting the ball. However, when a low-handicapper or top amateur is teeing off, a lower tee height may suffice.

Medium- and High-Handicappers

When medium- and high-handicap golfers tee their ball up on a standard tee, which is 3/4-inch high, they sometimes have a hard time hitting the ball consistently with their driver, because the club head of the driver has little loft, and it is difficult to get the ball in the air. By teeing the ball up on an oversize tee--1 1/2 inches--the golfer has an easier target to hit and he is better able to get the ball up high in the air. If you are new to golf or you struggle with the driver, use an oversize tee to get your tee shot soaring.

Low-Handicappers

Low-handicap golfers, as well as tournament professionals, may not always opt for the oversize tee. They believe that changing the height on the tee shot has a negative impact on their swing and stance. "I tend to balloon the ball and lose distance when I tee it up too high," said PGA pro Dean Anderson in the July/August 2009 edition of Golf Tips Magazine. "It changes the angle of impact and I lose distance when I change the height of the tee." Many experienced golfers believe that teeing the ball at a low or standard height allows them to get more distance.

Width of Fairway

For golfers who fall between the two categories, the best determining factor on the height of the tee may be the width of the fairway. If you are playing on a narrow hole with bunkers and hazards on both sides of the fairway, you will be better off teeing the ball up high and improving your chances of hitting the ball accurately. However, if you are playing a wide fairway, tee it up low and take a run at a long drive. You have a wide margin of error and you may as well take advantage of it when attacking with your driver.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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