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Opinion & Analysis

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

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Vijay Singh shares clever tip to make sure you’re standing the right distance from the ball – GolfWRX

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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..

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Setting goals…and achieving them

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Well, here we are, diving right into the new year of 2022 and seeing where this crazy world is going to take us now. I think we will all admit that the past two years have been a bit crazy, with the arrival of COVID changing everything in ways we would never have imagined at this time two years ago. Regardless of your personal thoughts, ideals and emotions about how it has been handled, it’s been crazy, right?

But that’s not what this column is all about. Today I want to offer some thoughts on how to set your own goals for your own golf this year, and then some ideas on how to make those goals a reality.

If your golf – and getting better at it – is important to you, there is no time like right now to decide what you want to do to achieve that objective. Are you willing to spend the time and energy to work on major swing improvements? Or do you just want to try to score better with a minimal amount of time and energy you have for practice and work?

Are you living where you can still get out to the range or course frequently? Or are you stuck inside for another few months until Spring begins to show? Do you have the desire to invest in instructional assistance, or do you pretty much want to do it yourself?

All these are important questions to answer as you decide your goals for 2022. For today, I’m going to address three ways I believe any golfer can improve their scoring measurably in 2022, regardless of how you might answer these questions I’ve posed. You can decide which of these would have the most impact you your golf as you kick off 2022.

IMPROVE YOUR PUTTING

Regardless of your handicap, a great percentage of your shots are taken with that one club. So, if there is any one part of your game that should get the most attention and work, it should be your putting. Begin by analyzing your own putting performance. Do you three-putt too often? If so, is that because your lag putting distance control is off, or your make percentage of short putts is not as good as it could be? Or do you just not convert enough 5-15 footers?

Putter fitting has become much more advanced these days and is usually worth the investment. You might find that the putter itself is ill-suited to your personal tendencies in the stroke and alignment.
If your mechanics are not reliable, an investment in a good putting mat and a few hours a week will offer huge returns, both in short putts made and improving your conversion of more of those 5-15 footers.

HONE YOUR SHORT GAME

Next to putting, you are likely taking more shots inside 50 yards than anywhere else. Even if you are a GIR machine (and few golfers are), those missed greens are what run up your scores. I see so many recreational golfers who just do not have a sound and repeatable technique around the greens, and that costs them with chunks and skulls that run up scores quickly.

I cannot “teach” the short game here, but there are so many good YouTube videos and books/tapes on the subject, you have no excuse to have a poor technique around the greens. Spend some time studying and learning, and practicing in your basement, den or office. It’s a short swing that anyone can execute – but it takes work. And that work will pay huge dividends.

SHARPEN YOUR MENTAL GAME

Regardless of handicap, I believe many bad shots are ‘pre-ordained’ by a poor mental approach. Many golfers do not get their mind right about what exactly they want to do with any given shot. And very few have a set pre-shot routine that gets their mind right so their body can execute the shot. On the course, it is unproductive to try to process swing thoughts; or at least more than one simple one.

When you are facing a shot, you should have a clear picture of what you want the ball to do and a clear mind to get out of your body’s way of trying to execute that vision. The great book and movie “Golf’s Sacred Journey”, but Dr. David Cook, nails it – “See it. Feel it. Trust it.”

I feel certain that one of these three areas of attention can help nearly every one of you improve your golf in 2022. And I hope to be able to offer you more insight and guidance in that endeavor as I write each week. Let me know if you have subjects you would like me to address, OK?

Let’s do this together.

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Review of Fujikura’s Ventus Blue TR shaft and new Cobra LTDx drivers

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Fujikura has a new Ventus TR shaft out and it seems to fit right in between the Ventus Blue and Ventus Black. A Slightly stiffer profile and handle section seem to make a tighter and more stable shaft. Cobra has 3 new drivers out for 2022 and I think they are going to do very well. Great ball speed and stability on mishits keep the ball in play.

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Opinion & Analysis

2022 American Express: Best prop bets

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Alongside Matt Vincenzi’s chief betting article, here I breakdown this week’s best side bets for the American Express.

 2022 American Express best props

Lucas Glover Top-20 +400

The 2009 U.S open winner has certainly has had his trials and tribulations both on and off the course, but he looked in good shape when finishing in fifth place at the Sony last week and can put up a similar display this week.

When winning the John Deere last year, the 42-year-old broke a 10-year losing streak, and came via a closing best-of-the-day 64 and a tournament ranking of 3rd and 4th for strokes-gained-approach and tee-to-green.

Nothing much changes for Glover in that regard, and it was good to see him return to that standard of play at Waialae when leading the approach stats and ranking second in tee to the short stuff. That he was 30th off-the-tee gives a further boost to his iron game at present and he showed last year that he can keep the game going when finding form – T21/T0/T21/T23 – through the Charles Schwab, RBC Heritage, Travelers and Rocket Mortgage, at least two of those courses with a correlation to this week’s test.

A couple of top-six finishes at The Players show a further liking for Pete Dye designs, and whilst he will never win the prize for best putter, 2016 winner Jason Dufner showed that a solid tee-to-green game can keep you in contention, whilst they both have form at Colonial and at Sawgrass.

Glover’s first four starts here yielded two top-20 and one top-30 finish, whilst I’ll ignore the two recent missed-cuts given they were his first outing of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

The vast majority of winners have played at least two recent competitive rounds before coming to the American Express (and its various guises) and Glover can take encouragement from the vast progress made when down the field at Maui.

Russell Knox Top 20/Top 40 +300 +130

The Scotsman is another that fits with the Dufner/Glover/Henley genre of player.

With an always impressive iron game, it is always encouraging to see players rank highly in approach and greens-in-regulation even if finishing lower than their overall game warranted.

Take, for example, 2021 finishes of 40th and 58th at the RSM and Fortinet. At both, he ranked top-10 for finding the short stuff and continued that form with the irons at last week’s Sony Open, where he ranked 4th for greens, 10th in approach and 8th for overall tee-to-green.

One swallow doth not make a Summer and all that, but he ranked 7th in putting average and inside the top-30 for strokes-gained-putting, a figure that will certainly help him gain his fourth consecutive top-40 here in as many starts.

Alongside finishes of 29th and 37th at this event Knox can also boast a couple of top-20 finishes, the latest 16th a figure that should have been better given a final round 73, he has a win at the Pete Dye River Highlands, and high finishes at Colonial, Harbour Town and Scottsdale.

After a 12-birdie weekend, he comes here in the form that makes me believe anything better than field average on the greens will land the bet.

Luke List Top 10/Top 20 +550/+250

It’s a trio of excellent tee-to-green players this week, and whilst here is another player that often lets himself down with the putter, the case for him to do well is strong enough to make him my play of the week.

Start with his current form, which reads 7th at the Zozo, 11th at Houston and 10th at the Sea Island course. We don’t have full stats for the first-named, but, at the other two, the 37-year-old has ranked top four off-the-tee, and 12th and 17th for approaches, figures that combine to give a ranking of top-four at both for tee-to-green. Also worth noting is that, at both, Luke was inside the top-10 going into Sunday.

That isn’t unusual for the former U.S Amateur runner-up, and once again, it has been the short stick that has let him down. However, rather like the two players above, List should only need to be field average in putting to put up a good show at a course at which he has a best finish of 6th in 2016 and a 21st last year, when a final round 72 saw him fall from an overnight 13th.

List also carries some of the most guarded Pete Dye form, his last win in 2020 being at TPC Sawgrass at Dye’s Valley Course, whilst in 2012 he won his first Korn Ferry event at the South Georgia Classic.

That event was held, until 2014, at Kinderlou Forest on a course designed by Davis Love III, a player that thrived on Dye courses, winning The Players on two occasions and at Harbour Town a total of five times.

Take a deeper dive into a few of the top two finishers at the Georgia track and Brian Stuard, Will Wilcox, Blayne Barber and runner-up Alex Prugh all have form at one or two of either The Heritage, Pheonix, Sawgrass, River Highlands and here at the Bob Hope, as it once was.

In an event that has seen many shocks, and that might be subject to the weather as they rotate around the three courses, I’m happy to be with a player with far more current positives than many at a shorter price.

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