Tee Height Test
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Tee Height Test

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Tee Height Test

Tee Height – A Solution to the”Distance Problem”?

Could tee height solve the USGA’s “distance problem”?

The question came from one of our Twitter followers (yes, we do read your messages). It’s an intriguing propositon.

MyGolfSpy Labs tests are born from questions and curiosity. And given the context of the larger distance debate, it only made sense to grab a couple of tees (of different heights, of course), bring in some testers, and see where the data leads us.

Not only does our data reveal some significant differences that suggest that limiting tee height could help throttle distance on TOUR, we also found some insights that could help you hit the ball farther and more consistently.

Tee Height Test – Parameters

For this tee height test, we tested two heights: 1.5 and .5 inches (measured from ground level).

Key Findings

1. Distance

Our data suggests a 1.5-inch playing tee creates 14.19 more carry distance on average than a .5-inch playing tee. That is a massive difference. Furthermore, the same data reveals that total distance of the 1.5-inch was 14.66 yards longer on average

Bottom line, a tee that’s 1-inch shorter produces significantly less distance. The next few points will explain why.

2. Launch Angle

Tee height affects launch angle because, simply put, it influences where you hit the ball on the club face. With a higher tee, you’re more likely to hit it higher on the club face and vice versa.

It’s not particularly surprising that shots hit using the .5-inch tee launched appreciably lower (3.54 degrees on average). The largest contributing factor to the lower launch angle was low face impact. With the .5-inch tee, impact location was more than 4mm lower on the face than with the 1.5-inch tee.

3. Backspin

Low face contact is a recipe for increased, often undesirable, backspin. For many golfers, backspin is a distance killer and that’s what we observed.

In our test, backspin was 326 rpm higher on average with the .5-inch tee. In addition to the lower impact location, with the shorter tee our testers delivered the club with a slightly more open face which further increases spin and compounds the distance loss.

4. Angle of Attack

The guys at Foresight Sports define “angle of attack” as “the descending or ascending path of the clubhead measured in degrees.” How much are you hitting up or down on that ball? That’s the angle of attack measurement. A more positive attack angle typically produces higher launch, less spin and ultimately more distance. We told you all of these things are related, right?

Backspin is a distance killer and a negative angle only adds to the problem. When you hit down on the ball and add unwanted spin, distance suffers.

So how does this factor into tee height?

With the taller tee, our testers’ average angle of attack was 1.68 degrees more positive. At a ball speed of 150 mph, the change in launch conditions attributable to that difference will result in nearly four yards of additional carry and five yards of total distance.

If you’re looking for a better understanding of how ball speed, launch angle, backspin, and angle of attack work together to influence distance, PING’s “Unlocking Distance: Launch Conditions and Angle of Attack” is an excellent resource.

5. Strokes Gained/Accuracy

Who likes to hit fairways? We all do. You know what else we like? Gaining strokes.

We found the 1.5-inch tee produced higher strokes-gained values, fairways-hit percentage and better forgiveness. What does this have to do with distance?

As we have seen, the .5-inch tee was significantly shorter across the board. Multiple distance metrics were affected by the tee height difference as were other key metrics. The .5-inch tee is worse in strokes gained, fairways hit and forgiveness.

Tee Height Impact

Bringing this all back to our original question; yes, absolutely, limiting tee height is a viable way to limit distance, though we suspect it wouldn’t take long before TOUR players and equipment manufacturers find a workaround. Call them mini drivers, big fairway woods … it doesn’t matter. They’ll go every bit as far and, because of the smaller, more aerodynamic shapes, Tour players might actually gain distance.

For the other 99.99% of us for whom the only problem with distance is a lack thereof, a taller tee could be part of the solution.

Our results suggest that golfers using shorter tees could be leaving upwards of 15-yards on the table. A shorter tee also produced less consistent results.

While there is some individual preference (and comfort level) when it comes to selecting the right tee height, there’s definitely something to the adage “tee it high and let it fly!”

We can’t recommend enough that you grab some tees of varying heights, run your own lab, and find out how much you stand to gain by using a taller tee.

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      Bond

      3 years ago

      The Yellow 4 Yards More tees are set to a height of 1.5″
      Their blue ones are 1.75″

      Reply

      derek gzaskow

      3 years ago

      well I am one of those that hit down on the driver and if u get those pop ups they arent fun so I tee it down a bit

      Reply

      Jackie Santopietro

      3 years ago

      Science doesn’t lie, thanks for taking the time to do the tests and take the guesswork out of the equation.

      Reply

      Pete

      3 years ago

      Some of the comments on here absolutely false and ridiculous
      Distance is not a problem.
      Someone please correct me if I’m wrong
      But I’m pretty sure in the last 40 years of golf every top ranking Pro golfer was also top 10 in longest drives?
      We don’t need any new rules
      especially ones that are going to impact amateur players, I think it’s been proven that amateurs haven’t seen an increase distance in years now
      And we’re not getting any better?

      If they’re really hell-bent on taking away distance advantage they could require that every pro across-the-board use regular flex shafts in their woods then it would Near impossible to hit long and accurate??

      Reply

      Ed Burke

      3 years ago

      Not sure why you’re comparing a 1.5″ tee height against a. 5″. I don’t know any ordinary Club golfer that uses a. 5″ tee height for a driver unless they’re driving into a very strong headwind maybe. Most tests using the modern high faced drivers have shown that the ball needs to be hit higher up on the face and very slightly toward the toe. The crutial part is your angle of attack but consistency for this varies considerably for the ordinary Club golfer.

      Reply

      Sharkhark

      3 years ago

      The measurements are referring to the amount that actually sticks out of the ground. The length tees are sold refers to the total length do you know anyone who doesn’t stick it then into the ground? Did it levitate? If you want example 1.5 inches height ground to ball you would need a 2.5 inch tee. That’s what they are referring to.

      Nobody buys half inch tees lol

      Reply

      Ken

      12 months ago

      1.5 inch Tee in the ground represents the Golf Ball’s total Height or Half the Ball above the crown at 2.5 inches…

      michael

      3 years ago

      Penalty for left right misses is rough tall grass.
      For Pro tournaments only, why not invoke tall Fairway Grasses at a distance the tournament chooses. That would be a penalty for missing the best shortest grass playable choice of the playing hole.
      Sometimes a pro purposely chooses a non-shorter grass tartget location for next shot angles in to the pin or avoiding a future hazard. Maybe even have 3 faiway landing zones and two fairway Rough zones. That will challenge with a premium the professinal skill of distance control as much as changing flag position on the greens.

      Reply

      Rappers

      3 years ago

      With respect, Michael, having long rough and narrow fairways did not prevent De Chambeau from winning the US Open last year. In fact, I think the course set-up suited the bombers because they would rather hit a short iron out of the rough than a medium iron.

      Nor does it address the fact that courses are getting longer, which means more real estate, maintenance, cost, etc. In about 2004 Augusta employed Tom Fazio to lengthen the course to ‘Tiger proof’ it against his long hitting. For example, Tiger was hitting a drive and a wedge to the 405yd 18th hole. So they added 60 yards. I bet De Chambeau, et al could hit a drive and a wedge now 15 years later.

      I like many others enjoy seeing pro golfers smash the ball prodigious distances. However, for the sake of the future game there must be something done to reduce the distance a ball travels. Otherwise in several decades time drives of 350-400 yds will become the norm. Reducing quality courses to a drive and a pitch, unless they keep lengthening courses….

      Reply

      eric

      3 years ago

      The problem with the us open setup was that the fairway was so tight for the “shorter hitters” also. Ive read most of the materials out there on strokes gained and course management. The authors of those materials largely shaped the way that bryson (and others) assesses risk/reward on holes. The general rule of thumb is this, even pros need ~65 yds of dispersion to safely land a driver. In the US open you had the fairway being 30? yds wide where bryson was landing but also 30? yds wide where say zach johnson was landing. With that tight of a fairway ZJ is going to miss the fairway nearly as often as bryson, the difference is bryson is so much closer that the additional loft on his approach shot mitigates the some of the penalty of being in the rough. If you want to address it with rough and fairway measurements, make the fairways wider further back and the rough deeper closer to the hole. One of the big factors you try to avoid when planning out a strategy are fairway bunkers (yes they are great out of fairway bunkers, but the risk of being against the lip etc is too high, FWY bunkers yield a big drop in strokes gained). IMO, the easiest way to take away some distance advantage is to add fairway bunkers to tighten the required dispersion in the landing area from 320 – 350 or so. Its an easy fix for some of the holes that are becoming obsolote. Most of the people commenting on rolling back the ball or club don’t understand the numbers game these guys are playing when they manage a course.

      Wade Link

      2 years ago

      And that was when Tiger was hitting a 42.5″ steel shafted driver.

      Rappers

      3 years ago

      Andy Sullivan, European Tour player, was filmed by Sky Sports hitting a driver with no tee on the range. The results were amazing, so much so, the interviewer asked why he bothered with a tee. Not so sure all tour players could hit it so well without a tee. Anyway, the notion that reducing tee height or even hitting a driver without a tee is a best problematic and worse it will solve the problem.

      There are many interventions that could have an impact on distance off the tee for pros. Most of these are not really the answer either in my opinion. The gains in distance off the tee have come about because of technology – ball and clubs. On average there has been a gain of 10 yards every decade since 1980 by tour pros. These distance gains are unsustainable and something needs to be done.

      The simple solution is to reduce how far the ball travels through the air with a change of dimple pattern – job done. However, the reason the authorities have not yet taken this route is because they cannot agree on whether to have a tournament ball for pros, possibly elite golfers as well, or to have just one ball for all golfers. Although the problem of hitting the ball too far only affects 0.01 percent of golfers!

      Reply

      Brett

      3 years ago

      Just make Tour Player play Clubs that don’t have the level of forgiveness.

      We use to have to have the ability to throttle it back to 75-80% because an off hit drive would be punished immensely. The goons that did not have the ability to control there emotions at times going 100% played themselves out of competition for the fact they would hit 12 good drives but 2 OB. There should be some reward for hitting it on a dime vs getting same reward for hitting it all over the face. I also believe if they made a 12yd wide optimal fairway right down the middle and then have a level say 6-8 yards either side that took just enough spin off the ball to make ball release 10-20 feet more than if you were in the perfect center cut. Other than that have deep rough that penalizes everyone. How many times do you just pure it exactly down the middle and your competitor toe hooks it down the left one yard from the rough and there is no difference in your second shot you each have. He should have some penalty for not hitting it to the quality that you just did.

      Reply

      Erock

      3 years ago

      Would love to see this test expanded. To .
      0.5”, 1”, 1.5”, 2”, 2.5” and 3” just to see if there is an “optimal” tee height. Or if there are diminishing returns at some point.

      Reply

      333pg333

      3 years ago

      Was thinking exactly the same thing. This test is interesting but not totally conclusive. Also different swing speeds per height.

      Reply

      chad

      3 years ago

      where can you even buy a half inch tee? Standard tees are all 1..75 inches or more. this test is useless for the average golfer

      Reply

      Matt

      3 years ago

      What? You push the tee deeper into the ground.

      Harkshark

      3 years ago

      Are you serious or joking. Push 3 inch tee into the ground 2.5 inches…. Or push a 2 inch tee into the ground 1.5 inches…. Or if you need longer buy longer but put into ground less

      Terry

      3 years ago

      Seven years ago, one of my daughters wanted suggestions on her project for her Middle School Science Fair. I suggested doing an analysis on tee height and if there was a change of distance. She thought this was a good idea as she was interested in the game at this time. Through the resident fellow PGA member I arranged to use the facilities at a nearby golf course which had a good range plus he also used Trackman which he made available for our use. Our testers were his Trainee Professional, some low handicap amateurs, both male and female, plus myself.

      The trainee pro, most of the amateurs and I had positive angles of attack (AoA, whilst the best of the amateurs had a negative AoA.. The positive AoA’s ranged from 1o to 3.7o and the negative one was -1.5o on average.

      We used 3 tee heights; 1 inch, 2 inch and 3 inch (2.5, 5 & 7.5 cm) and all players hit a minimum of 30 balls (Pinnacle Range Balls) from each tee height over a 3 week period as testing could only be done on the weekends.

      We found that the negative AoA player lost 8 metres from changing from the 1 inch to 2 inch heights but gained 9 metres from the 3 inch tee. Thus an overall gain of 1 metre.

      All the positive AoA players gained an average of 6 metres form the 1 inch to 2 inch tee plus a further 8 metres from the 2 inch to 3 inch height. The minimum gain for these players was a total 8 metres (that was me as a 70 year old cancer sufferer). and the best was the Trainee Professional whose total gain from 1 inch to 3 inches was 25 metres..

      My daughters project won a medal and she was very proud of the work she did. I realise that her testing was not up to your rigorous standards. The amateurs handicaps ranged from +2.4 to 1.6 and the Trainee Pro had a PGA better than required playing standard of 71.4 in Trainee events. so I believe the standard of players was good.

      Sadly, both my daughter’s interest in golf has been transferred to music but they are excelling with that and will progress it to University next year.

      Reply

      David

      3 years ago

      Simple distance control for The Tour: Increased Difficulty
      – Narrower fairways
      – Deeper rough

      Reply

      Vmc

      3 years ago

      And plant more trees… bring angles back j to the game

      Reply

      Darren Cannon

      3 years ago

      This data is based on current driver design. All the club manufacturers would do is just adapt and design clubs for a lower tee height.

      Reply

      Graham Riley

      3 years ago

      Just read through some of the answers here and am amazed that the info given by MGS has gone over most golfers heads as to what tee heights can do. If it can restrict the Pros even slightly it ‘could’ have an effect but is not going to solve the total problem. Making the courses play harder for these guys is the only way they are going to win this one.
      On a different tack – for those of you who think tee heights don’t affect your game go and try this. Set your tee height a few times on the range till you get your best result – distance and accuracy – make a note and the next time you go play set those heights for each of your clubs……. I will gaurantee you will drop 3 to 5 shots on your course…….. don’t believe the info….. go try it.

      Reply

      Glenn

      3 years ago

      I agree completely. Make the rough longer, the fairways narrower and make balls hit onto other fairwayside out of bounds.

      Reply

      No one

      3 years ago

      This is idiotic. All that would happen is drivers for tour players would be reduced in head size similar to a fairway. You’re just burning the amateur.

      The only thing that makes sense is to limit ball compression to ~65.

      Reply

      Carolyn

      3 years ago

      I think your compression idea has some value, I got paired with two young men just Yesterday who drove 50 or more yards passed me and were playing one tee box behind me….of course they were playing ProV’s…on one of the widest fairway holes I gave them each one of my Wilson mussy soft balls and both of them said they were at least 20 yards shorter then their balls…came home and found this posting and it made sense to me….

      Reply

      No one

      3 years ago

      Also, even if you can hit it as far, it has the tendency to be riskier for the longest hitters – which is exactly what you want. Rebalance risk-reward.

      Hurts the bombers (like me), doesn’t affect mid-cap+ amateurs.

      Leigh Glasspell

      3 years ago

      We already limit the speed off the face of clubs. in the rules. I think that rather than massively modifying, lengthening the courses, which makes them unplayable to lesser golfers, it would be cheaper for pros to use a ball that is slower. like a range ball. But then I think that handing out identical GPS devices to all the pros at an event would improve speed of play. My guess is that the companies (both balls and devices) would compete to supply in return for a mention on the screen. KISS principle. Fix the problem…weekend warriors are NOT the problem, pros are!

      Reply

      Satpal Singh

      3 years ago

      The game of squash has balls of varying speeds

      Reply

      No one

      3 years ago

      Pros won’t use GPS. Not accurate enough. As a caddy, I’d rather have the yardage book. Also, it isn’t as noticeable but courses have a lot more “markers” than normal play.

      Reply

      Leigh Glasspell

      3 years ago

      I find my Garmin S60 super accurate and my previous S3 was too although they give slightly different distances. The difference IS consistent however, so by the time the pros played 3 rounds they would have a handle on the relationship between the device and their clubs…. I did and I am a 69 year old 19 handicapper. You say they won’t use them, I am saying make them use them… Enforce time violations, after all tennis does!
      And every one of us knows all too well what a PITA slow players in a group in front are.! I regularly see seniors waiting on a green they couldn’t reach with their driver 99% of the time., with a 3wood they cannot hit in their hand!. I bet you do too…

      Tommy Gun

      3 years ago

      1. Trees…Plant more trees.
      2. Raise the mowers on fairways, rough, etc.
      3. Add more water during tournaments to fairways.
      Solved.

      Reply

      No one

      3 years ago

      Nope.

      1. Money, or useless saplings for decade+
      2. Sort of. Lost balls inbounds are the #1 cause of slow play.
      3. More water, more money.

      The courses are fine. The clubs are fine. The ball has become a rock hard thing nothing like balata. I’m not suggesting at all we go back to balata, but the courses don’t need more things. Amateurs aren’t getting better suddenly, and they keep courses in business.

      Reply

      Tommy Gun

      3 years ago

      1. Not all trees take decades.
      2. 1/4″ higher grass makes a difference and this isn’t about slow play. Taller grass would reduce rollout.
      3. Did you miss the during tournaments part?
      This is about reducing distance at the highest level. PGA events high-level amateur events and not your Sunday foursome.

      Jimmy Pickett

      3 years ago

      With a driver, fairway wood or hybrid, I ground the club. I place the center of the ball even with the top line of the club and that seems to give me the best results. Tee height changes based on club face height.

      As far as tee height being “regulated”? Ummm no. What are they going to do, put lasers on the tee box? The first time Patrick Reed gets an ant stuck to the bottom of his tee and is half a mm off, the world will melt. Fairways on tour are like public course greens. Better athletes that have trained specifically for the golf swing just hit it longer.

      Reply

      Joey

      3 years ago

      They could just limit the size of the tees used.

      Reply

      GA

      3 years ago

      This is nonsense.
      Smaller greens, longer, narrower fairways rougher rough.
      Distance mitigated.

      Reply

      sam jones

      3 years ago

      maybe if you varied the rough: made it much rougher in the long hitter’s landing areas, less punitive in the shorter hitters areas, so that shorter hitters hitting it out of shorter rough with middle irons might have it a bit easier than longer hitters out of a much deeper rough with shorter irons/wedges.

      Reply

      The Physicist

      3 years ago

      Great article, and consistent with my personal experience. I have been using long tees with great results for years. For driver, I always tee up so that the equator of the ball is even with the top of the driver head. Through multiple driver changes, regardless of make, this gives me a consistent center-high hit on the face, allows for my ascending angle of attack, and results in a high penetrating ball flight..
      .

      Reply

      J Reeves

      3 years ago

      Concur with Jerry above, stop the roll out. Most carry the ball less than 300 yds, but get 40+yds of roll out. Throw some sand or keep them wet. I have never played a course where i get over 5 yds of roll out. Always amazed by this and roll out is totally in golf course control at low costs.

      Tee it low and stop the roll.

      Reply

      Justin Purvis

      3 years ago

      Which tee produced more big misses? I mostly play desert courses, I usually shoot in the high 70’s, I look at the data A LOT and most rounds I will cost myself 4 or more strokes by hitting it in the desert off the tee. I would be shooting scratch golf if I could get rid of the big miss off the tee. Curious which tee height had a greater number of outliers in the data. I know the data said that forgiveness and number of fairways is better for the taller tee but playing from the rough isn’t an issue for me and it’s becoming less of an issue for many. So, again, which tee produced more big misses?

      Reply

      Andrew Han

      3 years ago

      I learned from Chuck Quinton from Rotary Swing Golf, and he had a series, Bomb Your Driver. Goes in line and validates with what you found here. He mentioned to move the tee up on your stance slightly as well. I didn’t read that here, and would it be interesting to conduct tee up and move forward? Here’s a video of what he’s talking about, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTJftyM-ZAw

      Reply

      PhilT

      3 years ago

      New versions of Martini tees have collar that allows for consistent height of 1.75. I DID notice an improvement in distance and control. Age 70+ Whats not to like about them….

      Reply

      TOP PAK RAT

      3 years ago

      Didn’t MY GOLF SPY recently test different tees from several manufacturers and found that on average the Martini Tee was 5 yards shorter???
      Correct me if I am wrong..

      Reply

      Jack

      3 years ago

      Oh..no….I’ve been using those tees…I’ve been wondering what’s wrong with me !

      don

      3 years ago

      That was the one part of the test they got wrong because they did not tilt the tee towards the target like the manufacturer says to. By teeing it up straight up n down it hits the front lip coming out reducing distance and accuracy. They need to retest that one tee.

      Jerry D

      3 years ago

      Have the pros play a different ball. Like a 2 piece super soft ball, or a ladies ball, or a hard top flight ball. It would be interesting to see how they handle a course with a ball that doesn’t spin.

      Reply

      Westy

      3 years ago

      So yes for the Ping G410, tee it high – let it fly! But, go back a few years and many of us playing the TM SLDR (lower hcps to) found that it needed a lower tee height to work its best. It was a dog of a driver if I teed the ball in the position I’d use for all other drivers.

      I’ve been saying for years its time to get the pro’s at highest level playing Balata style balls again; game was more fun to watch with crazy spin, easy to work both directions, but shorter for sure.. I want to see pro’s able to play a wide range of shots, not just smash it and gouge from rough.

      Reply

      Streetcred

      3 years ago

      Agreed … I have found that my TM4 produces a far more powerful flight and distance when teed down a little lower

      Reply

      Richard

      3 years ago

      So the simple solution is to BAN tee’s for the PGA Tour. They will be forced to hit 3 woods and high lofted drivers. Meanwhile, for the LPGA and us mortals, just leave the rules alone.

      Reply

      Jerry Dushane

      3 years ago

      Slow down the fairways, so they don’t get the 40 yards of roll. Or keep them really wet. Make the fairways tighter, so they will hit the driver less. Make the rough more penal. They do this for the majors all the time. No need to change equipment or balls, since there will be people finding ways around that, just like they did with the long putters.

      Reply

      Bob Pegram

      3 years ago

      I agree with you completely. The USGA seems to want to meddle when it is unnecessary and, worse, hurts golf.

      Reply

      Gebby

      3 years ago

      Totally agree, let them rip up every course they play but make the majors more penal. Don’t need to change a thing…

      Reply

      Michael Pasvantis

      3 years ago

      Interesting article however what’s to stop manufacturers from making jacked up “3 woods” or something like TMs Original One club or ball manufacturers from producing a ball to counteract the tee height characteristics? There is no distance problem. Golfers are just becoming better athletes. Every 4 years the Olympic Record for the 100 meter dash gets broken and it gets broken multiple times throughout other smaller events. You don’t see them pushing the finish line further away. Golf will suffer a ratings hit if they launch an attack on distance. I don’t tune in to watch DJ hit a 270 yard bomb…I can do that, it’s not compelling. Narrow the fairways, grow the rough and speed up the greens. Then you’ll see who the best players are.

      Reply

      Johnny Penso

      3 years ago

      The 100m record hasn’t changed in 11 years.

      Reply

      RATOUR7

      3 years ago

      I have found that the when I tee the ball with the tee and ball in my hand the middle index finger extended the ball is about 1-.1/4 to 1-1/2 ” inches off the turf gives me great ball flight and distance plus accuracy . ..

      Reply

      Golfinnut

      3 years ago

      What if you have been using a 3 1/4″ tee all along but still want that extra 15 yards you’re talking about? What then? Not as simple as using a bigger tee. LOL :)

      Reply

      Will

      3 years ago

      Have you tried going lower? Recently installed a sim with Skytrak in my garage and have tinkered around with tee height all winter. First I found I hit farther with a tee 2.5 inches out of the surface (high enough that none of the standard birtees worked and I had to improvise) This week I tried a teeclaw and had a batch of plastic tees laying around (Pride Golf 2 3/4) with probably a half inch below the surface, so somewhere around 2.25 height when all finished and legit had an extra 16-20 yards with every other factor being the same.

      Reply

      Jose

      3 years ago

      Just as the “anchoring the putter” was a non issue, except for people like me (seniors that have tremor issues with one or both hands), this issue of “too much distance that has to be reigned in” is also a non issue.. when I started playing golf (1948), George Bayer) out drove everybody (incl. Sam Snead by 40 yds). So, did George win everything?? Absolutely not. Then Jack came and out drove everyone. But he won mor because of the high trajectory of his irons and was able to hold more greens ( also because his is the GOAT).. Golf course superintendents know how to make courses more difficult. Green design can be a huge factor. But, when that has happened, the Phil’s of the Pro game make a lot of noise and their “Union” ( PGA Tour) exerts pressure with the powers to be to make condition more “playable”. The PGA Tour is bent on presenting courses to their members so their “stars” Can shoot low scores by shooting darts to every pin position. Merion and Schinnecock Hills are examples of “short courses”, where the winning score will usually be around level par. My opinion: this is “Much Ado about Nothing”.

      Reply

      Jim

      3 years ago

      Seems like a moot point when Bryson, Rory and others still carry their 3 woods nearly 300 yds. Which plenty long even on todays longest courses. They changed groves on wedges to stop pros spinning the ball so much so the pros just became better at spinning the ball. Tee height rules will make a difference until the big hitters find a way to hit it further again.

      Reply

      Leroy Wordlaw

      3 years ago

      Excellent article! I agree!
      Tee height is really important to me.
      .1/2 inch on par 3’s with an iron.
      1 inch forward and I catch it on the upswing to produce height, distance, and less spin.
      1 inch back of center produces a descending blow and stopping spin.
      Driver 1.5 tee front of stance produces hit on the upswing results in a high flight and more distance.
      1 inch tee and 1 inch back from normal procures a lower ball flight to bore through the wind.

      Reply

      Bubbly Pop

      3 years ago

      The pro’s will always find a way to adjust and then optimize their performance within the allowed rules, it’s their livelihoods they are protecting (i.e. adjustments made when anchoring putters was implemented). As for tee height, it makes a huge difference if your using a tee correctly. I only use a short tee for iron shots and when I’m so intimidated on a hole by the obstacles off the tee with driver, that keeping it low can minimize how long my ball is in the air and therefore how far off line it might travel.

      Reply

      ED

      3 years ago

      I have been making my on tees since two years ago – a about two finger’s width higher: My buddies were laughing at me but stopped after they saw the result.. I gained about 15 to 20 yards and were more consistent. It is just easier to hit the ball on the up slope , at the same angle and it is easier to release the club through impact. Try it and you will see!

      Reply

      Rich

      3 years ago

      Interesting data and while I expected the higher tees to do better, it was not that much better. Now, what is the most effective tee/ball height. Many golf stores sell tees of a couple heights (I buy 2 3/4″). Is too high also less efficient also?

      Now, what about iron performance off the tee vs ground, and of course what height?

      Who would have thought that the tees you bought and height you use would also be so important. You guys rock on the data front.

      Reply

      Chris

      3 years ago

      The only thing that surprised me was the higher tee being better for accuracy. I had always heard tee it lower for better accuracy, understanding that you would give up optimal launch conditions, specifically by increasing spin and lower launch.

      It would be interesting to see what impact smaller increments would have. Would 1.75, 2 or 2.25″ see additional gains? Where does additional tee height start to hurt you?

      Reply

      gticlay

      3 years ago

      So, yeah – tee it up higher. I do.. I also like to compare myself to the pros. I like to play the back tees, and play by the same rules they do. I am 100% against separate rules. I guess if they do that, I won’t be able to compete in mens club or tournaments again. Anyway, you should try the test with some clubs that were designed back when people teed it much lower – you can get the TM 300 drivers on the 2nd hand club sites for $17 and test those – there were 3 different face heights – 300, 320, 360. Plus that deep face tour only version. Last – Dean Snell, I think in an interview with you guys, had what I consider the best answer. Here’s a link https://youtu.be/I_6pSjuv-gE

      Reply

      Mike

      3 years ago

      I don’t understand. If you play golf “by the rules” then aren’t you playing by the same rules as the pros play?

      Reply

      Majduffer

      3 years ago

      A shorter tee will not prevent the powerful golfers from dominating the game. They hit 3Ws off the fairway 280+. It’s all about swing speed and reasonable accuracy. Anything you do to decrease the distance off the tee plays even more into the hands of the big hitters. If I with my 125 mph swing speed and you with 110 are 190 out, I will be hitting a 9i versus you hitting a 7i. My proximity to the hole will be alot closer. They need to make the game lots more penal for missing fairway and greens and landing in hazards( 2 stroke penalty, OB also )

      Reply

      Will

      3 years ago

      Why do people feel the need for it to be harder and the pros score worse? They make the greens slicker, the rough substantially thicker and in most places the fairways narrower. A tournament where the leader is -2 and everyone else is even par two strokes back is no different than the leader being -18 and everyone else two strokes back. I watch golf on tv to see amazing things, not a toned down version of it. What’s next we make footballs heavier so qbs can’t throw them as far?

      Reply

      Max R

      3 years ago

      Excellent review. Yes, the Pros & their manufacturers would tweak the equipment to adjust for anything that would diminish distance, etc. However, the big takeaway is for the majority of us who play a game for fun, leisure and exercise etc. Tee it up whenever you can and for drivers hit it up with the equator parallel to the top of the driver’s crown!

      Reply

      Archie

      3 years ago

      Can’t see this working.The Pros would just change to a shallow face driver or use a 3 wood with a low loft and longer shaft.

      Reply

      joe

      3 years ago

      is there an opportunity to test the very very low teed ball.
      Laura Davies hit the driver off the deck to hit it straighter, guarantee a fade….old timers had a go to tee it low, very low, to make sure it is going left to right under the heat…

      Reply

      Evan

      3 years ago

      Does the degree on the driver affect this as well? Would there be a smaller difference in distance using a 10.5* driver with a .5″ tee vs a 9* driver with a 1.5″ tee?

      Reply

      Randy

      3 years ago

      I actually have mine a little lower than 1.5. If i go higher, i need to move it further up in my stance and then i tend to loose the ball. Utilimately everyone has their sweet spot. 0.5″ seems way to low as that is likely where someone may tee up a FW or something. would like more tests on this with more tee hieght varyiation and then if it gets too high, how many sky balls do people get.

      Reply

      Bob Pegram

      3 years ago

      I agree. I swing level through the ball. If I try and hit up on the ball with a driver I have trouble controlling where it goes. I hit it plenty far enough to reach all par 4s and the shortest par 5s in two. Teeing the ball with the equator of the ball at the top of the face works fine.

      Reply

      Ell

      3 years ago

      Reducing the weight of the ball also produces a significant change in distance. A pro will see a significant reduction in distance while a regular golfer with a slower swing speed won’t. For info on this get the book “Search for the Perfect Swing” by Alastair Cochran & John Stobbs. Pages 169 -171..

      Reply

      They sort of did that 40-50 years ago when the small ball was banned. Though the weight was the same the small ball was denser and more aerodynamic. Who is going to spend hundreds to buy a driver that goes shorter. Balls however are always replaced. The bigger ball actually helped the hacker as the slightly higher center of mass helped get the in the air. It has been suggested a ball that floats in fresh water. Make them lighter and/or larger.

      Reply

      Gunter Eisenberg

      3 years ago

      For me, I tee mine up just enough to the ball hits it dead center. In other words, I tee it up just high enough so the top of the tee is at the same height of the center of the driver’s face at address without a ball.

      Reply

      Steve M

      3 years ago

      I presume you’re referring to how much of the T is above the big ball earth?
      Otherwise the results can’t be easily duplicated.using standard wood tees.
      Half inch is for my 3Wood….not a driver!
      I have the tee set 1 inch above ground as my swing plane is more level – hitting it midline and avoiding pop-ups. I think the challenge is figuring out what each person’s angle of attack is and matching the tee height to that. You can a 2 inch T for every player and they simply adjust.

      Reply

      sam

      3 years ago

      How does the height of the grass affect the setup? Are we measuring tee height from the top of the grass in the tee box?

      Reply

      Moe Hickey

      3 years ago

      Interesting test & data. I would like to know the loft of the driver and the clubhead speeds. Gains are much greater for higher club head speeds than they are for lower swing speeds. (carry distances indicate a high club head speed). However a positive angle of attack allows you to use a lower lofted driver for more carry & roll, regardless of clubhead speed. Slower swings need more back spin for greater carry. I checked and am using a 1.5″ tee. :-)

      Reply

      Pete

      3 years ago

      I think a positive angle of attack would be better at almost any swing speed. But you are right that the benefits are greater at higher speeds.

      Reply

      Jefka

      3 years ago

      If you’re tee is only 1.5 it won’t be 1.5 above ground as you probably put. 0.5 to 0.75 into the ground.

      Reply

      Joe I

      3 years ago

      Not playing golf at the moment but when I was, I was teeing it high. However I was compensating that with placing the tee more forward in my stance.. You guys I assume tested this with the same placement. Is that right?

      Reply

      Vic

      3 years ago

      I was playing a round with my buddies in November when I was teeing my ball up and the bottom part of the tee broke. I did not have another tee on me so I just used the broken tee. It place the bottom of the ball 1″ off the ground. I was gaining 10- 20 yards on my drives. No lessons same old driver.
      It worked for me and still is working!!!!

      Reply

      WiTerp50

      3 years ago

      Is this more of an academic rather than a real world exercise? This works w/o changing the equipment, but what would happen with smaller heads and increased loft? The top pros are still generating 125+ mph clubhead speed on a 44.5-45 inch shaft. Maybe finding something like a 5 yr old mini-TM driver at 13.5 degrees to compare what the actual impact would be with equipment designed for the test conditions?

      Reply

      This Right Here

      3 years ago

      Now you’re asking the real questions. How do things look when equipment is allowed to adjust to the change in conditions..

      Reply

      Jack B.

      3 years ago

      I like articles like this. Were the test golfers permitted to play the higher teed ball more forward in their stance? What would be the result if an iron byron did the hitting?

      Reply

      Mike B

      3 years ago

      And a quick follow up to my previous comment… When TM comes out with their SIM3-SF-P, I expect my royalty checks!

      Reply

      Mike B

      3 years ago

      I was also waiting for a test like this, ever since Faldo said reduce tee height a month or two ago. It just makes sense, and it’s time for bifurcation in some aspects of the game. If those who want to play exactly what and how the pros play, and are against bifurcation, let them use a 1.5″ tee, we will stick to our 4″ tees, and good luck with that. Very simple answer to the distance “problem” on tour. That is till next year at this time when TM comes out with. shallow face SIM3 (SIM3-SF-P). The “P” is for pancake, because that’s what it will look like, at the end of a stick.

      Reply

      Mike

      3 years ago

      It’s cool to have the research that backs up what we’ve heard for years. I’m going to mark some tees at 1.5″ & see how that works. The trick is always to keep it at the same tee height so it might come down to me marking each tee. Not a big deal, something to do while I’m watching the snow come down here in the Northeast.

      Reply

      Bob Pegram

      3 years ago

      You can easily control tee height by extending one of your fingers one joint. Choose the finger that gets the ball to the height you want.

      Reply

      Lou

      3 years ago

      Great Insight. but really does this help? I have to believe this can’t be as simple as it seems. In addition, this is just one area the driver manufacturer will look to move the launch angle on the clubface to accommodate the tee height and make lower tees go further. The science will catch up if the USGA goes to this TEE HEIGHT limit.. What the USGA should consider is simply lowering the PAR on the golf course from 72/71 to 70. Grow the fairway grass higher and stop these 30 to 50-yard rolls.. We all want longer and further tee shots but no matter how much money the USGA spends, to study the effects or make these changes, they are looking at this all wrong in my opinion. .

      Reply

      Matt

      3 years ago

      Different pros have told me to tee down to be more accurate. I would be interested to hear the view of a teaching pro regarding the article.

      Reply

      Mike Claymore (Doc )

      3 years ago

      I have been under the impression that USGA has already limited the max height of a legal tee

      Reply

      Paul

      3 years ago

      What about different driver lofts? High tee low loft vs. low tee higher loft?

      Reply

      Ray

      3 years ago

      I went from a 10.5 to a 8. on my driver and hit the ball 15-30 yards farther with top spin

      Reply

      Spartan2021

      3 years ago

      If I am playing a dogleg right and have to hit a fade to find the fairway, am I more likely to hit a fade if I tee the ball lower? A good golfer told me this once and this test leads me to believe there may be some truth to his advice.

      Reply

      Patrick Butler

      3 years ago

      OK, for the sake of argument, the USGA/RNA reduce allowable tee height. and driving stats with tall faced drivers (with sweet spots high in the face) are reduced consistent with your study. The day that USGA/RNA send this rule change out for comment, every single manufacturer will revised their driver head designs to create drivers with sweet spots lower in the face. After we all trash the $800 drivers (because we all now get properly fitted and don’t use the crap stock shafts our $500 drivers come with) we bought in the last couple of years and spend $800 more on a low sweet spot driver we restore our driving stats and the USGA/RNA have accomplished nothing. Tell me I am wrong.

      Reply

      Mike

      3 years ago

      The USGA has again proved itself useless. They could have set limits on clubs years ago yet with the popularity of Tiger, etc in the early 00’s, they chose not to.. So now they’ve finally taken their head out of their ass. Oops, too late. And it’s not just the clubs and balls that are driving this distance gain, guys on the tour are in much better shape than a generation ago. And it depends on your mindset. I have no problems with someone winning the Masters or US Open at say, 12 under par. At Marion, the US Open site in 2013, each day, the average score was 4 over par. Rose won at +1, Tiger was +13 for the week & Rory +14. Yet that course is now said to be obsolete.

      Just let them play. You play 4 days & the guy.with the fewest number of strokes wins, plain and simple. It really doesn’t matter what par is. Unless you’re the, “gotta protect par” USGA.

      Reply

      Barry

      3 years ago

      You guys are amazing. Very good article and interesting insights.

      Reply

      Ceg_123

      3 years ago

      This makes sense. Never seen a long driver competitor use a Short tee. This is pretty neat to see the rest of the statistics that were provided. For any Golfer I believe it’s about the launch angle so they might benefit from a shorter tee in some instances.

      Reply

      Jamie

      3 years ago

      Would love to see this test expanded to include 1″ and 2″ heights.

      Can you explain the math behind the Strokes Gained? If it is +0.029 and I hit driver 14 times a round does this mean I gain about 0.4 strokes (0.029 x 14) over the course of the round? That seems low given I am getting 15 yards extra per hole in addition to more accuracy.

      Reply

      AWW

      3 years ago

      Why not take this a step further?

      No tees allowed in pro tournaments!

      Reply

      Jim Brown

      3 years ago

      This is great information for those that have high clubhead speed, however, does this apply to all golfers at any clubhead speed? What about the 90-100mph guys or the seniors? Thanks as always for your honest and insightful information!

      Reply

      Graham Riley

      3 years ago

      Hi Guys
      Just a quick one. In 2000 I came up with a accessory called the T-Set which helped golfers set exact heights starting at 10mm and then topping out at 35mm – this has now changed with the new T-Set which sets tees up to 2 inches/50mm has a hidden divot tool and allows for branding on 2 sides – everybody laughed when I said that the unit helped golfers across the board with distance, direction and also helped with confidence……… now you guys have just proved me right. i did all the tests back in 2000 and nobody was listening……. thaks guys!!!

      Reply

      Steve S

      3 years ago

      Graham, tried finding your product on line but came up empty. What name should I search under?

      Reply

      Willie T

      3 years ago

      Good info – what about the other side of the coin, i.e. how high is “too” high. Is there a place where you are theoretically on the other side of the optimum height “curve’? For me, I tend to about 1 ball high, or the 1.5” height. What helped me get to this was what is stated here – get some tees and find out what is your optimal height/distance combo.. As I don’t have access to a launch monitor as such, I used the old fashioned powdered foot spray on the driver face. Have even played some rounds with it – to track “real world” flight in relation to impact off the head of the driver.

      Reply

      Chris

      3 years ago

      Love this study! Any consideration in doing further testing to determine the point of diminishing returns with tee heights? Is a 2 inch tee better than a 1.5? 2.5>2?

      Reply

      Eric Granata

      3 years ago

      1/2” is pretty low to the ground and probably looks weird d compared to today’s driver. Would love to see how much 1” (probably closer to what most golfers are doing today) affects it.

      Reply

      Amir

      3 years ago

      Great info – how does different weather conditions effect? I.e. when its windy or wet or dry? Common sense would say that in windy conditions a lower ball carries further or in wet conditions where there is less roll, higher ball is substantially better. Was there any testing with different elements?

      Reply

      jonwgee

      3 years ago

      Curious what the average driver tee height is on the pro tours……

      Reply

      Thomas R. Jennings

      3 years ago

      Geez, now I don’t know whether I should tell my opponents in my group about this, or not. This week – bad guys. Next week – PODGE!

      Reply

      Patrick Kohlman

      3 years ago

      Great data and info once again. I’m always interested in the science of Golf.. Next test is 2.5 inch, see if the result diminish with a higher tee height. Find that optimal tee height and then make MGS tees that give every player that perfect 1.77685422 inch tee height they deserve.

      Reply

      Hook DeLoft

      3 years ago

      I’d like to see a test of the 1.5 inch tee versus a 2.5 inch tee to see if there is a point of diminishing returns. Of course, the results may vary by club head speed. I’ve always teed it up higher than most and think it is a benefit with my lower club head speed.

      Reply

      Shane Harvey

      3 years ago

      But still hit 8 iron 200

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