Optimal Tee Height for Distance?



What would be the effect of teeing the ball, for a driver, at different heights, say 1, 2 and 3 inches…..ALL other things being the same, i.e. swing speed, swing plane, contact point, etc.
How would the different tee heights affect launch angle and distance?
–Greg, IL

You have locked me in to one answer by limiting all the variables in the question to one set “All other things being the same”. The answer to this question is therefore NO DIFFERENCE in distance.

Greg, this is not the answer you wanted, so let me explain that if you teed up the ball at different heights with, “All other things the same” EXCEPT the contact point on the face of the club, then the launch conditions would change.

If you teed-up the ball such that the bottom of it was 1-inch above the surface of the teeing ground and the club hit the top of the tee when making contact with the ball, this impact point would be low on the clubface and give you more spin and a lower launch angle than if the contact point was on the sweet spot about 1/2 – inch higher on the face.

Teeing the ball up such that the bottom of the ball is 2-inches above the surface of the teeing ground and the club head takes the same path — this time about an inch below the top of the tee and breaking it — the impact point will be high on the face and above the sweet spot. This will result in less spin and a higher launch angle.

If your launch angle is too low and the spin rate is too high for your swing speed — optimum for 85 mph swing speed is about 14 degrees and 3200 – 3500 rpm — then tee the ball up a little higher to make contact higher up the face. This will increase your distance by decreasing spin and increasing launch angle. I suggest that you use different tee heights to tweak launch conditions after you have the correctly fitted driver with a loft to match your swing speed and no longer than 45 inches or even 44 inches.

My suggestion is to use a 2-inch long tee and insert it in the ground about 1/2 inch, which is close to the optimum average tee height for most of us.

With a 2-inch tee you will not break as many every time you use your driver– littering the tee box with broken tees and bad for the mowers; you will not have to carry as many tees, which are now on average 2 3/4 inches long or longer and make holes in your pocket; and you will have space for a ball-mark repair tool and it will be easier to find your Frankly Frog ball marker.
Greg I hope this helps and until next time.

May The Frog Be With You.


One thought on “Optimal Tee Height for Distance?

  1. isn’t there supposed to be a standard of golf etiquette that says you should always pick up your tee and one other, like repairing ball marks on the green? (broken tees, cigarette/cigar butts, and tobacco snuff packets and chaws are my particular pet peeves)

    also, I’ve always thought the tee was supposed to just hold the ball till you hit it, not hold the ball till the end of time. especially when the turf on the teeing ground is very hard, I have always placed the tee just short of the depth I wanted, then loosened the hole by moving the top around just a bit, then pushed it in just a bit more, til it was steady enough to hold the ball. fewer broken tees.

    and it’s probably not legal, but I tie a bit of bright yarn on my plastic tees: don’t fly as far if I mishit, and easier to see to pick up. fix the yarn in place with superglue.

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