To Tee or Not to Tee?

Some of our students have been asking if they should tee the ball up on a tee when hitting on a par three hole. The answer may seem pretty evident to some, but to others it is a little perplexing.

Before I say what we at AGI suggest I am going to give some opinions from some golf’s greatest players. Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer both are very adamant in saying anytime the rules allow you to use a tee, by ALL means use a tee.

Of course there are a few that swear they hit better shots off the “deck”, meaning no tee. In defense of these people I will say there are a few specialty shots that teeing it of the deck may give you a better chance to hit that shot, but even that is debatable.

When the ball is teed up, you improve your odds immensely for having a cleaner and more solid hit. This is especially true for higher handicap golfers. This improved percentage or probability for a more solid contact is the reason many pros re-tee on a par three after hitting into the water rather than use a ball drop, which may even be closer to the green. They now know the club and the distance, but just as important, teeing it up gives them the better lie as compared to taking a chance of dropping it in the ball drop and rolling into a bad lie, or even worse, a divot.

I would also say that this tee it up rule should apply to par fours and fives when teeing off with anything but a driver. Teeing it up improves the odds of a clean and solid impact and a better shot whether you are using a three wood, hybrid or long iron, especially for hitting a low screamer

To every rule there is an exception and here it is, the one alternative to this tee it up or not issue that provides a middle ground answer, the kick tee. Some players prefer making their own tee by kicking the heel of their foot into the ground to push up a small mound of dirt to be their tee. They stand facing the green and kick backwards. This creates a mound with a gentle up-slope to the ball, just like it is on a tee. Many pros do this on par threes and on tee shots when they want to hit a driver or 3 woods off the deck for accuracy and or to keep it low into a head wind.

A final question is, since we are teeing it up, how high should it be? I always play with the ball teed just slightly off the ground. I tee it up around 1/8 of an inch for wedges thru 8 irons, to a max of ¼ of an inch for the rest of my irons and hybrids. I go just a smidge higher for a 3 wood.

So at Augusta Golf Instruction we recommend you using a tee whenever possible, it will improve your odds for a cleaner, more solid impact. To TEE or not to TEE is a question no more.

AGI: play better golf.