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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 Managing Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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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Please understand I have been collecting this type of data from wedge-fitting profiles for over 20 years, and now have seen over 60,000 of these. What’s interesting is to watch the evolution of the answers to those two questions. Twenty years ago, for example, the 9-iron and PW lofts would typically be around 42-43 degrees and 46-47 degrees, respectively. By 2010, those lofts had migrated downward to 40-41 degrees for the 9-iron and 44-45 for the “P-club”. (I began to call it that, because it’s just not a true “wedge” at that low of a loft.)

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Fans, you just cannot get precision distance control with those technologies.

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So, to get to the title of this post, “Do Irons Really Need To Go Longer?” let’s explore the truth for most golfers.

Your new set of irons features these technologies and the jacked-up lofts that go with them, so now your “P-club” flies 125-130 instead of the 115-120 it used to go (or whatever your personal numbers are). But your 50- to 52-degree gap wedge still goes 95-100, so you just lost a club in prime scoring range. How is that going to help your scores?

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