How high should I tee up the golf ball? | Fully Equipped Mailbag

Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag, an interactive series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF’s managing editor of equipment, Jonathan Wall) fields your hard-hitting gear questions. 

Is there a standard tee height for the driver, fairway wood and hybrid? I recently picked up the game and noticed golfers teeing it high and low during the round. — Trey, Lake Oswego, Ore.

Back in 2022, we conducted a tee-height test that confirmed it was possible to gain 25 yards by simply teeing the ball higher and impacting the upper half of the face. That’s it. This particular test was conducted using a driver, which happens to be the one club where a decidedly positive attack angle yields more distance.

If you’ve never heard the term positive attack angle, it’s a fancy way to say you’re meeting the ball with an ascending blow, as opposed to driving the clubhead into the ground at impact. Increasing the dynamic loft can lead to an increase in launch and a lower spin rate. The result is more hangtime and increased carry distance. (That’s assuming you’re using a driver optimized for your swing.)

If the goal is to swing upward with the driver, it makes sense that you’d want to have the tee positioned higher to account for the positive angle of attack. In most cases, teeing the ball 1.5 inches off the turf will situate the equator of the ball near the top of the face in the address position.

The height varies depending on whether you’re playing a driver with a deep or shallow face, so focus on getting the equator of the ball near the top edge of the crown.

If you currently impact the ball with a descending angle of attack, going higher with the tee height could lead to scuff marks on the crown and the occasional popup. Chances are you’re teeing the ball lower and seeing more spin in this case. Spin can be your friend, especially if you’re on the slower end of the speed spectrum, but it wouldn’t hurt to see if you could get the angle of attack to neutral and bump up the tee height for some extra yards off the tee.

With regards to a fairway wood, unless you’re playing a Mini Driver or something with an incredibly deep face, the general rule of thumb is about half an inch above the ground. If you can see the cone of the tee sticking out of the ground, you’re in good shape. A more neutral to slightly positive angle of attack with the fairway will produce the best results on a tee shot.

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Just remember, not all fairway woods are designed the same, so don’t assume half an inch is the hard and fast rule. Set your club down on the range and move the tee height around until you find the best launch and spin conditions. That said, the tee height mentioned should work with most fairway woods.

As for the hybrid, embrace Jack Nicklaus’ sage advice: “Air offers less resistance than dirt.” As much as you might be inclined to try and hit a hybrid “off the deck” (without a tee), you should still use a tee in most cases so the club can lift the ball into the air, even with a descending angle of attack. Only the top of the tee should be visible — similar to how you’d tee it up with an iron — in this case.

Varying the tee height is allowed during a round, but we wouldn’t advise making drastic changes unless you know what you’re doing. Find a good tee height for each of these clubs and swing away.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.


Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at