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Tee it High or Low?

Fred Vuich
You're on the tee of a brutal 470-yard par 4 and really need to bust one if you're going to get home in two. What's your swing key?

One thing you're probably not thinking about is how high you teed your ball. But you should be. Tweaking your tee height, it turns out, can be one of the best—and easiest—adjustments you can make to pound higher and longer drives.

Our Study

Who took part:
Twenty-seven golfers, aged 25 to 71, with handicaps ranging from scratch to 29. Of the players, 25 typically used a mid-height tee and two preferred a high tee.

The tee heights
• At the low tee height, the top edge of the ball was even with the top edge of the driver so that the entire ball was below the crown.
• At the mid tee height, half of the ball was above the crown.
• At the high tee height, the bottom edge of the ball was slightly above the top edge of the clubface so that the entire ball was above the crown.

Our Experiment
The players were divided into three groups of nine by handicap level: 0-9, 10-19, and 20-and-above. Each golfer hit 10 drives at each tee height, with each group hitting from the three tee heights in varying order to ensure that fatigue and motivation were balanced within each group. Only the best five out of 10 drives at each tee height were recorded so that mis-hits would not skew the data. Participants used their own drivers, with clubheads ranging from 410 cc to 460 cc.

Carry distance was measured by a launch monitor, which also calculated launch angle, clubhead speed, ball speed and spin. Accuracy was also recorded: drives that landed in the fairway (33 yards wide) scored 1; those that landed in the right or left rough (17 yards wide) scored 2; and those that landed beyond the rough scored 3.
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