Tee it High or Low?

This is what happens to a ball at the moment of impact
Fred Vuich

The Results
Within each of the three handicap levels, carry distance for mid- and high-tee heights was significantly longer than the low-tee height, largely an effect of the higher tees promoting higher launch angles and less spin. The high tee height provided the most distance, giving the players an average of 12 yards more carry per drive than the low tee height.

Inside the Numbers


The Biggest Winners
The high-handicappers benefited the most from the high tee height, picking up an average of 18 yards over their drives on the low tee height!

Long and straight
The increases in carry distance from the low- to the mid- and high-tee heights did not come at the expense of accuracy in terms of hitting the fairway. This table presents the percentage of tee shots landing in the fairway, rough and beyond the rough as a function of tee height.

Fairway Rough Beyond Rough
Low tee 58.5% 30.4% 11.1%
Mid tee 54.1% 34.1% 11.9%
High tee 61.5% 27.4% 11.1%


The Aftermath
Following the experiment, 9 out of 27 (or one-third of) players planned to change from mid to high tee height. Three of those nine were from the low-handicap group.

The tee height study was conducted by Eric Alpenfels, a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher in Pinehurst, N.C., and Bob Christina, Ph.D., dean emeritus of the School of Health and Human Performance at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

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