Rules Guy: Is it legal to play a round using an oversized, driving range-style tee?

golf ball on tee with driver club, in front of driver, driving range

Is it permissible to use a driving-range tee during a round?

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The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

I play year-round here in Colorado. Come winter, it can be hard, and sometimes impossible, to get a tee in the ground, so I use a rubber tee like the ones at driving ranges. Is this permissible — and, if so, is it permissible year-round? I like that the ball is always the same height at address, and my drives are more consistent as a result. —Dean Marraccini, Niwot, Colo.

You want to know where the rubber meets the road, Rules-wise.

As long as your rubber tee doesn’t exceed four inches in height, it’s perfectly acceptable to use, regardless of the ground conditions.

Keep burning rubber on those tee shots and you might just turn into a trendsetter.

golfer lining up putt
Rules Guy: Can you use a tee as a ball mark to help line up a putt?
By: Rules Guy

For more tee-related guidance from our guru, read on …

What is the penalty for using a tee in the drop area? —Jeff Howerton, Evansville, Ind.

Nowadays, justice is less severe than, say, in medieval times, but in this case it’s equally harsh: The player has played from a wrong place in breach of Rule 14.7.

Depending on the circumstances, the Committee could consider this a serious breach that requires correction prior to starting the next hole or results in a DQ in stroke play, under Rule 14.7b.

Failing that, it’s the general penalty of two strokes. In match play, the penalty is simply loss of hole. Plus, the rack. Kidding!

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Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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