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Optimize Your Driver Distance with this Simple Little Test

So how do you know how high to tee the ball? While the rule of thumb has been to tee the ball so the equator is even with the top of the face that is a generalization as some golfers are not comfortable or even capable hitting a shot from that position.

Optimize Your Tee Height

About a week ago I was out testing products at my local range. After I was done I headed to the building to drop off the empty bucket. The owner of the range was fitting a very good local player who happened to be on a college golf team. He waved me over and asked to watch and advise which I was happy to oblige.   The circumstance was the player was extremely straight but was short compared to his competition even though he has a very powerful swing. I would have jumped up and down for joy if I were able to hit the ball as far and as straight as he was, but it goes to show you how high the stakes are at this level of golf.

On the golf launch monitor, his angle of attack was negative ranging between 2 and 4 degrees downward. The first thing I noticed was the golf tee height was very low but that is how he preferred to tee it up. I suggested hitting the same club but putting in the longer rubber tee to see if that would help. While he did comment it Marking teeslooked odd to him, it did not take long for him to adjust. After checking the distances on the launch monitor, the ball was traveling another 15-20 yards further because it encouraged him to level out his swing. It is not saying he still did not hit down on occasion, but the angle was closer to level.

That got me thinking, here is a high caliber golfer that was giving up a good chunk of distance because his golf tee height was perhaps ½” shorter than ideal because of a visual preference or over the course of time found this tee height more beneficial. What about the rest of us? When I go to the range to hit drivers, I always look for the mat that has the Goldilocks height tee – not too high, not too low, but just right. Most golfers that bang drive after drive at the range may not be aware there may be different height golf tees available and end up wasting their valuable practice time using the wrong height tee.

So how do you know how high to tee the ball? While the rule of thumb has been to tee the ball so the equator is even with the top of the face that is a generalization as some golfers are not comfortable or even capable hitting a shot from that position. No, the best advice I can give is to take some 3 ¼” golf tees and carefully mark them with a Sharpie pen every ¼” starting ¾” from the bottom as that is the minimum amount needed to insert the tee into the ground so the ball won’t fall off.

Tee Height
Then carefully set each tee into the ground at the varying marked lengths and place balls on top of each of them. You can gauge distance by eye or better yet have some sort of recording devise like a Ernest Sports portable launch monitor or the Voice Caddie I have shown. Repeat this exercise a few times and look not only at your average distances but the direction as well. Believe me you won’t need a launch monitor to tell you which of the tee heights caused you to launch the golf ball higher or lower as it will become obvious. For me, each time I hit from the higher to the next lower position I lose distance.

Ernest Sports portable launch monitor

From this simple little test you can quickly identify which tee height suits the driver you are presently using. In the future you can mark all your golf tees to that length so you have them on hand. This will not only optimize your distance off the tee box, but also give you consistency teeing the ball up instead of the small human error we all have just trying to eyeball it while putting the peg into the ground.

 

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