The proper tee height for every club in your bag
Ironically enough, lots of golfers have questions (and plenty of opinions) about tee height.
For some, teeing the ball high and letting it fly with their driver is the way to go. Other players prefer to tee it closer to the ground, believing it provides more control of their shot since the ball flight is lower.
While golfers tend to experiment with different tee heights now and again — especially when using driver — having a guide on where the height should be for each club might be helpful.
For example, I tend to tee it up pretty high when I’m on a short par-3 and I’m holding anything from an 8-iron up to a pitching wedge. I’ve done it for years, and it makes me feel comfortable knowing that I’m hitting beneath the ball — which inevitably sails my shot high into the air, usually ensuring it lands heavy onto the putting surface.
However, many players would argue the tee height should be lower for that specific shot; but what’s recommended?
I tapped GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jim Murphy to give some answers.
Below, Murphy breaks down his suggested tee height for each club, and explains the reasons for each. So take a look at his tips, and see if experimenting with different heights will help improve your game.
Murphy’s recommended tee height for each club
Given his experience working with all levels of golfers, it’s no surprise that Murphy observes some wild tendencies — especially when it comes to tee heights.
“I watch people tee the ball up all the time in practice and on the course,” he says. “It amazes me how so many players can tee it so many different heights.
Vice x Nicklaus Collection (60 tees + bag)
“Many times, the same player will tee it a different height each time they tee off; which is really bazaar. Different clubs require different tee heights to give you the best opportunity to hit the ball solidly.”
So to get a sense of where the height should be for each club, Murphy recommends the following.
Tee height for driver
When teeing up the driver, I try to get players to tee the ball where the middle of the ball is equal to the top of the driver. This way, as you catch the ball slightly on the upswing, the contact will be slightly higher on the clubface.
Most of the new drivers are designed for this to represent the sweet spot of the driver, meaning it will get higher launch with lower spin. Many players I see like to tee the ball much higher, and I’ve found that this makes them hit up more on the ball.
However, if they start hitting up too much, they almost have to make a different swing than they use with the rest of their clubs.
Golf is hard enough trying to perfect one swing, so if you have to make two different swings when changing clubs, then you just made the game twice as hard.
Since fairway woods have a little lower center of gravity than a driver, I think they should be teed up just slightly off the ground.
If you can see the cone of the tee sticking out of the ground, then you’re at the ideal tee height with a fairway wood. By placing it at this height, you should have confidence that you won’t need to try and help the ball get off the ground.
Of all the clubs in your bag, hybrids may present the most interesting dilemma when deciding on the tee height.
These clubs already help get the ball up in the air when compared to an iron with the same loft, so teeing it high isn’t completely necessary.
I like to treat these clubs as if they were irons. So I push the tee all the way into the ground, meaning the ball is on the ground, but it’s just slightly sitting on top of the grass.
When teeing a hybrid higher, I see these clubs going much higher than they normally would — but this also decreases distance.
First, I recommend players always tee up their irons — so don’t get fancy by trying to “play off the deck.” If the shot allows for a tee, use it!
When it comes to the tee height for an iron, players should push the tee all the way into the ground. To the naked eye, it should look like the ball isn’t on a tee at all. This gives you a perfect lie, allowing the contact to mimic how it would when hitting off the ground in the fairway.
Overall, I always recommend that players tee up their ball on the tee box. This gives them the best possible lie.
But never tee the ball higher than it needs to be, as this can cause you to make either a different swing than normal, or experience a ball flight that’s different than normal — which often results in a different shot than you normally see with a given club.