What Is a Tee Used for in Golf?
Golf is a great sport whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner. Often, the jargon that comes with the game of golf can be overwhelming, but the purpose of tees is simple. So let’s swing into it!
Simply put, a tee is used for elevation and support for the golf ball, as having the ball off the ground allows for less resistance. Likewise, golfers will use a tee from the tee box for every respective hole's first shot. Then, the golf ball is placed on the tee before the player strikes it.
The golf ball's height - above the ground - is up to the golfer's discretion, depending on the club used for that first stroke. And interestingly, different clubs may require different heights.
Do You Need To Use a Tee in Golf?
Not necessarily! You're not obligated to use a tee when playing golf if you don’t want to. However, most golfers will use a golf tee for the first shot of every hole to avoid an errant shot. The tee is especially helpful when trying to deter a heavy hit, which happens when the golfer strikes the ground before hitting the ball.
A point of note: once you use the tee for your initial shot, you won’t be able to do so again, so it’s worth taking advantage of the tee while you’re allowed to use it!
Rules Surrounding Golf Tees
One of the most important rules? Once you’ve used a tee for your first stroke on that hole, you can't do so again. You can understand why taking that initial stroke count is crucial. The only exception to this rule is when a penalty is given, and the golfer returns to the tee zone or box to replay their shot.
Golfers don’t have to use a tee, but if they do, the tee must be a device that raises the golf ball off the ground and cannot exceed 4 inches. Tees also can’t be used in any manner to influence the movement of the ball.
Different Types of Golf Tees
With a range of golfing tees, deciding on the best and most suitable material for you and your golfing game is essential.
The most common type of tee on a golf course is the wooden tee. If you know you’re prone to breaking tees, purchasing hardwood tees would be the better investment. Why? Hardwood tees don’t break as easily as standard wooden ones, so you shouldn’t have to buy many new ones.
1. Bamboo Tees
The use of bamboo is booming. This versatile material is used worldwide to make various items, from socks to house beams. The golfing world has also adopted bamboo as a more environmentally friendly material.
Even though they’re a little more expensive than standard wooden tees, bamboo makes a stand for the environment. And with the material providing additional strength, the tee is less likely to split, so these tees help to save the planet and your bank account. What’s not to love?
2. Plastic Tees
It’s no secret that unlike environmentally-friendly materials, such as bamboo, plastic continues to impact the environment negatively. When golf club makers look at ways to reduce plastic waste, they note that plastic tees can often be found on the course, contributing to plastic waste.
Additionally, plastic tees are more expensive than wooden ones and are just as likely to break. Coupled with their negative environmental impact, there aren’t many benefits to investing in this material. We recommend purchasing wooden tees and moving more towards a plastic-free golf game.
3. Rubber Tees
We've made it to the least popular option out of all the materials. Rubber tees may not break as often as other materials, but they’re more expensive and often frustrating to use. Their rubber material makes them more likely to fly off with the ball once you’ve made your swing. While we've used them in a pinch, that’s a gaffe nobody wants on the course.
4. Specialized Tees
A specialized tee is simply a tee crafted for a particular purpose. For example, martini, brush, or rocket tees are designed for longer drives and offer better accuracy. Certain tees, such as step-down tees, can be designed to get the ball in the perfect position, which can change your game on the green. Hybrid and adjustable tees can be used with hybrid clubs, allowing you to adjust the height when needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use a Tee on Every Shot?
No. Sadly, once you’ve used the device for the initial swing of that hole, you can’t use it again. The only exception would be if you received a penalty and had to return to the tee box or zone to replay your shot. It’s worth taking advantage of the tee while you can use it!