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Golf 101: How high should I tee up the golf ball?

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For plenty of newcomers to the game of golf, even before swinging a club doubt can creep into the mind. When placing the tee into the ground, beginners will often think: ‘How high should I tee up a golf ball?’

It’s not an uncommon thought and one that can create a lot of confusion depending on what club you’re using – confusion which we at GolfWRX want to eliminate.

How you tee up a golf ball is also something that can help improve both distance and accuracy off the tee. Here we’ll take a look at the general rules that will help golfers tee the ball up at the correct height for each club in the bag – each of which desires a very different approach.

Correct height to tee up the golf ball with…

Driver

The longest club in the bag demands that the clubface strikes the teed ball on the upswing. Therefore, when using driver off the tee, the golf ball will be teed at its highest.

The consensus from experts is that, when using driver, the ball should sit equal to the crown/top of the driver. When the bottom of the golf ball, resting on the tee, sits in line with the top of the driver, the ball is teed at its optimal position and allows golfers to achieve maximum distance.

The correct distance that the tee will be placed is about an inch and a half above the ground and will be lined up on the inside of your lead foot at address.

To achieve this height, golfers will need to use a tee longer than standard.

3-wood and hybrids:

For 3-wood and hybrids tee shots, you should look to sweep the golf ball. To achieve this sweep, golfers should leave one-half to one-third of the ball above the crown of the club for their 3-wood with the tee sitting about half an inch above the ground.

For hybrids and other fairway woods one-third to one-quarter of the ball above the crown is ideal.

For both at address, players should place their lead foot about a clubhead in front of the ball.

Irons & Wedges:

As you go through the bag into your irons, the tee will descend further into the ground.

For long to mid-irons (2-5i), golfers should look to leave a quarter of the tee above ground, while for shorter irons and wedges ((6i-wedges) players should press the tee all the way into the ground so that only the head of the tee remains above the turf.

Generally at address, the ball should lie in between both of your legs for iron and wedge shots.

‘Should I use a tee on par 3s?’ 

Yes. While occasionally you may see tour pros not using a tee for approaches to par 3’s, it’s not recommended for amateur golfers to do the same. Eighteen time major champion Jack Nicklaus is believed to have once said “You get 18 chances at a perfect lie – why not take them?” as “air offers less resistance than turf.” 

So take advantage and tee it up the ball when you get the chance!

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. ChipNRun

    Nov 28, 2020 at 12:10 am

    ————————–
    GM said:

    “The consensus from experts is that, when using driver, the ball should sit equal to the crown/top of the driver…”
    ————————–

    Which experts, may I ask? An instructor I work with says it depends whether you LAUNCH the ball or DROVE the ball. If you LAUNCH the ball, “the ball should set equal…” is good advice because you have a fairly steep upswing when you hit the ball.

    The instructor, who carries tee shots about 280 yards, DRIVES the ball. He tees the ball lower, top of ball is about a half inch above the crown of the driver, and has a less abrupt upswing on his drives. I get my best shots with a 10.5* driver if I tee it with ball a quarter inch above crown.

  2. Gunter Eisenberg

    Nov 26, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    That is a good starting point to tee it up according to the article but everyone’s attack angles are different so it really depends on the person. One should experiment and tee it up just high enough so it will hit the sweet spot of the club at impact. Doesn’t matter if it’s an iron, fairway wood, or driver.

  3. Steve

    Nov 22, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Whenever I see Tiger tee up his driver he seems to set it lower than I would have thought. He seems to drive it ok.

  4. Pitman55

    Nov 21, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    I use the 4 inch tees.Line up the bottom of the ball with the crown of my driver..Set my club down about 4 inches behind the ball..Play ball off front toe..Get great carry that way..Live in the Vegas area with firm fairways..Good carry and firm fairways is a nice combo..FYI..I am 61 YO..SS is 101 MPH..Average drive 260 ish..Use G400 Max..

  5. Thomas Gerstenberger

    Nov 21, 2020 at 11:24 am

    I tend to disagree with the article. All clubs except the driver are intended to strike the ball resting on ground and the swing for each club is produced accordingly. Consequently, I tee each just slightly off the ground or slightly above the grass cut. For the driver much depends on degree loft. I still prefer a sweep where the bottom of the driver just wisps at the grass. I have a 10.5 degree, but may tee it higher if I move to a 9.5.

  6. phizzy

    Nov 20, 2020 at 9:58 am

    I would also like to add that Bryson tees his ball up super high like the WLD guys and they are some of the longest drivers of the ball so like I said, nothing is set in stone although I can respect Gianni’s general guidelines written in his article as a good starting point.

  7. phizzy

    Nov 20, 2020 at 9:56 am

    The article states general guidelines for tee height, but nothing is set in stone. For me, I have to tee the ball lower with all my clubs especially driver. I’ve tried teeing it as high as the article suggests but then I end up hitting high spinny drives that go nowhere. I have a +2 AoA and need to tee the ball where the equator of the ball is in line with the top of the crown in order to get optimal launch, spin and smash factor numbers on trackman. My biggest strength is driving off the tee(175 mph ball speed, 1.48 smash factor)so take it for what it’s worth but I believe all golfers should experiment with tee length and find what works best for them.

    • Fredo

      Nov 23, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      Totally agree with your comment, I also have a AoA that requires the middle of the ball to match the top of the driver. If I tee it higher I end up having the ball scuff the top of my driver…um thats a no bueno. Great article though!

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On Spec: The Players breakdown, picking targets, and some ideas to grow golf’s audience

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Host Ryan Barath breaks down The Players final round and brings together the target golf ideology of TPC Sawgrass to you and your game and how picking a target properly can help you score better.

Also, after being sucked into the popular Netflix show F1 Drive to Survive, the discussion turns to how golf could do a better job profiling players to create more interest in the sport on TV.

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Opinion & Analysis

East vs. West: The major differences between golfers in the U.S. and Korea

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My name is James, and I am a golfaholic. More specifically, I am an equipment junkie, and I have been sober from impulsive buys for almost 48 hours.

Perhaps many of you can sympathize with the above, since who can easily resist the lure of the latest irons or the putter that claims to hole every putt within six feet? Certainly, not I. But I also know that most of you golfers seem to draw the line at iron head covers.

Well, I own not one but three sets of iron covers; and I only have two sets of irons. I can’t help myself. As you can see, my symptoms are severe. I not only worry about playing this game as best I can, but I also want to look good doing it (a matter of opinion, to be sure).

While you may find this statement strange, given that I just admitted to using iron covers, reading about the golf environment here in Korea may help you to better understand where I’m coming from. It’s just different over here—a fact that can easily be seen from these glaring examples.

Golf Accessories

Since I came out about the iron covers (no, I was not inspired by Bubba), let me start with the golf accessories that are more common in Korea.

As mentioned, iron covers here are as common as carrying a putter in your bag over there. In fact, it would be harder to spot a golf bag without iron covers than without. Also, most Korean golfers prefer to keep their rain covers on their bags at all times.

Iron covers everywhere. Bonus points for matching brands with the clubs.

You may be having a good laugh about how silly this must look. I also thought it was weird when I first started playing here 20 years ago. But when everyone is doing it, then it becomes all about conformity. So why do we do it? It’s to keep the clubs as clean and blemish-free as possible (and keep the resale value as high as I can!).

Almost all Korean golf clubs are serviced by caddies and porters. So when you drive up to the front of a luxurious clubhouse, a porter unloads your golf bag and has them sent down to the caddie master to be placed onto a power cart.

The caddie for the day then checks and records which clubs are used and ensures that all are accounted for at the end of the round. Then the clubs are cleaned, headcovers replaced, and the golf bag is placed back into the golfer’s cart while the players head off to the locker room.

In this manner, the golfer hardly needs to be bothered with club covers during a round, and we are free to show off the $200 iron covers and the latest Scotty Cameron limited release wood cover for double that amount. 

High-tech gadgets and accessories are all part of the complete Koran golfer

However, headcovers are the least of the golf accessories that we covet. Some of the more popular gadgets include GPS watches and laser range finders, as well as carry cases and golf pouches for on-course necessities. I won’t get into much detail here as there are too many items you probably can’t relate to. But suffice to say that these items are almost a fashion requirement for a typical Korean golfer and can be quite pricey.

Golf Bags

Golf bags are usually designed to be versatile during play, whether it is a light stand bag for walking or a cart bag for ease of reaching certain pockets while strapped onto a cart.

While these things are important, I think it’s more about design over functionality over here. For example, stand bags are all the rage, but they can be quite heavy. Then how can you carry them around, you ask? Well, remember I said that all golfers are required to ride the power cart on Korean courses? That’s right. We don’t walk or carry our own golf bags here.

Although it is rare for us to walk a course, stand bags are the norm.

But that doesn’t stop us from buying more golf bags—the flashier the better.

I’ve owned seven golf bags over the past year, with most of them having gone the eBay route. Prices can vary from about $200~$600, with the median being around 400-plus dollars. Another aspect that may seem weird to North American golfers is that all golfers have their rain covers on permanently over their clubs. Maybe it keeps others from looking into our bags or prevents theft. Or it may be as simple as “I paid for the whole bag, so I might as well use the whole thing.” Regardless, I myself have yet to hear a solid reason other than “that’s just the way it is.”

Boston bags, rain covers, and don’t forget the golf pouches to carry valuables on course.

The golf bag here also comes paired with a ‘Boston Bag’ (still don’t know why we call it that), which is like a fancy gym bag we carry for our shoes and change of clothes. It is not uncommon to have a matching set of golf bag and Boston bag. Bonus points if the whole ensemble is color-coordinated with your iron and wood covers.

Golf Wear

Perhaps equally puzzling, if not more, is our choice of golf wear. If you haven’t seen my article on the golf market size in Korea, it may surprise you to know that nearly half of the 10 billion-dollar golf industry is due to the golf equipment and fashion sector. We like to look good while playing.

In fact, casual golf wear is now a common sight outside of golf courses. By my simple estimation, there are over 55 golf wear brands, both imported and domestic, with new fashion brands popping up every year. Women golfers particularly enjoy a plethora of ‘field fashion’ to choose from, and men’s golf wear is also booming with colors and designs most North American golfers would not be caught dead wearing.

The norm for golf wear seems to change every few months.

Aside from well-established names in golf such as Titleist, Footjoy, and Callaway, there are dozens of exotic name brands you probably never heard of that offer their wear for jaw-dropping prices. Premium is placed on looking good, and the “tour-fit” apparel that accentuates a slim athletic look is the latest trend. And did you know PXG apparel was actually designed in Korea? They are now actually exported back to the US to be featured on their website. In addition, fashions ranging from preppy to laid-back casual all enjoy their own niche of following here. 

Are they worth the price? Personally, I cringe at the thought of a pair of golf pants costing $500. But then again, I think shelling out a $200 green fee for winter golf is a deal, so what do I know? I guess if it makes you feel good to be wearing designer clothes, and you can afford and/or pull it off well… then all the power to you. 

Golf Clubs

Last but certainly the most (see what I did there?), let’s talk golf clubs. I’d like to say that we have the best of both worlds here, with large OEM brands on one hand and the lesser-known but more exotic brands from Japan and Korea on the other.

While a vast majority of Korean golfers play household names such as Ping and TaylorMade, a surprisingly large number of Asian golfers play brands that may be unfamiliar to golfers in the West.

For example, I currently play a set of Fujimoto MB irons with Autoflex shafts. Before these, I dabbled with Axis Z2 Tour-spec irons and Zestaim Noir driver fitted with Autopower shafts. I am now eyeing a sweet set of Baldo Competizion 568 T1 irons, but secretly wishing that I could afford their latest Corza Forged MCs. It’s good to have goals.

Clubs and bags that went the way of eBay since last Fall…

The common theme with these brand of clubs is that most are quite expensive. I’m talking PXG-and-beyond prices, which can seem ludicrous to most golfers, no matter where you live. And since I am nowhere near the level of deep-pocket of some of my friends, this may explain why I covet their second-hand clubs when they move on to the latest and greatest.

If you’re muttering that I should invest a fraction of that money on lessons to improve my game, you’re probably right. A scratch handicap would be better rather than seeming like a poser trying to impress others with fancy stuff. But golf is not an easy game to master quickly. It can take years, if ever, to break par. And as I’ve said earlier, the social norms are a bit different over here. So if I were to rely on a little materialistic happiness while struggling along with this amazing game like the rest of you, what’s the harm? 

Golf is already an expensive hobby here, with typical green fees at $200~$300 per round (see “A typical round of Golf in Korea”). Still, most golfers are lined up here to pay for the privilege to play, and luckily this keeps the golf business booming. And if getting the occasional look of envy from your friends makes the experience more enjoyable, then I am all for it. 

So the next time you see a guy on course with iron covers, don’t be so quick to judge him. He may simply be protecting those sweet forged irons, which allowed him to card that smooth 97 the other day. 

How about you? What’s the most prized golf club or accessory you’ve ever owned—and possibly been ridiculed for?

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Opinion & Analysis

Ways to Win: Headstrong – Bryson DeChambeau flexes his mental muscle

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In “Ways to Win,” we track the PGA Tour winner’s rounds using the V1 Game mobile app and then analyze how they got the job done using the same tools available to V1 Game users.

Much was made as to whether Bryson DeChambeau would be able drive the green of the par-5 sixth hole at Bay Hill Club & Lodge at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. The 565-yard sixth horseshoes around a large lake, presenting a daunting challenge for mere mortals. As the crow flies, the green is just a mere 344 yards away, according to the Course Explorer in V1 Game. This gives new meaning to the term ‘reachable par 5’ as under the right conditions, DeChambeau is able reach the par 5 with a single shot. Those conditions did not present themselves until Saturday afternoon when DeChambeau unleashed a beastly drive that easily carried the water and ended up almost 380 yards just to the right of the bunker short of the green.

DeChambeau threw both arms up in celebration knowing full well that he is changing the way the game is played. However, it was not his physical strength that won the tournament this week, but his mental strength.

Bay Hill proved to be its own beast on Sunday with the scoring average at almost 75.5 and not a single player breaking 70. On a day more suited to patience and plodding, DeChambeau proved his mind to be just as strong as his body against an unlikely opponent in 47-year-old Lee Westwood. The two were never more than a stroke apart, though it seemed like DeChambeau was comfortably on top for a good part of the day. At several points, DeChambeau seemed to be poised to give strokes back to the field, but showed he can bomb more than his driver, dropping putts of 37 feet and 50 feet on holes 4 and 11. The putt on the 11th hole was critical to maintain the lead and keep momentum. In all, DeChambeau made 136 feet of putts on Sunday. Just what he needed on a day of grinding out pars. In fact, he parred the last 12 holes to close out the victory. DeChambeau is certainly known more for his driving than his putting, but when it mattered DeChambeau gained 1.9 strokes putting on a typical PGA Tour field according to his Sunday V1 Game round summary. DeChambeau putted well when it mattered most, finishing the week 21st in Putting.

DeChambeau did finish the week 1st in strokes gained off the tee and continues to use his work in the gym to his advantage. Despite Bay Hill having many holes requiring less than driver off the tee, DeChambeau still averaged over 300 yards off the tee each of the 4 days. He fully flexed his muscle on the last two days, cutting the corner on the 6th hole with Max Drives of 378 and 376 yards according to the Driving Distance plot from V1 Game. On Sunday, his drive on the 6th hole found the bunker just short of the green and was 168 yards closer to the hole than Lee Westwood’s tee shot. 168 yards! Still, golf is a game of precision and after two shots, both players were within a few yards of each other off the green and both made birdie.

Which leads to the last point… What DeChambeau is doing with the driver is amazing. In the weeks he is ‘on’, DeChambeau has an ability to separate from the field and guarantee he gains significant Strokes Driving on the field. However, he has his off weeks where that distance and speed will cost him a chance to compete as he sprays the golf ball off the course. The key though, is Approach Game. Bryson’s ball striking with irons and wedges is certainly his current weak spot. He has found a way to get the putts in the hole when it matters, but he consistently loses strokes between approach and short game. Looking at his performance this week, Approach (9th) and Short Game (30th) were good enough, but not great. As he adjusts to his newfound distance, I expect his Strokes Gained Approach to continue to improve.

Bay Hill is not a golf course that was going to be overpowered. It took mental strength and clutch putting to tame the course and shoot the best round of the day on Sunday, holding off Lee Westwood by a single stroke. DeChambeau has put in the work in the gym, with numbers off the launch monitor, and statistics on knowing his tendencies and when to take risks.

If you want to know your numbers and tendencies like Bryson, V1 Game can measure every facet of your game and get you to dominate the course. Whether it’s tracking driving distance gains or clutch putting, V1 Game can guide your practice and track your progress.

 

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