Tee It Up
By Snyper on 10/25/10
Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.
It seems that there are a lot of companies competing for your business in just about every aspect of the game of golf. For me, the most surprising area of competition is the business of making tees. I mean, it's a tee! All it does is hold up your ball for a few seconds until your driver does its job. That is not a very complicated task. Well, turns out that even in its simplicity, there is still a few dollars to be made.
The most basic and still the most common tee is still the good old fashion wooden tees. They vary in height from an inch and a half to over four inches. And, of course, they are made in just about every color you can imagine. Fancy colors can look nice and the fluorescent ones are easy to find for reuse, but those colors also end up all over your driver and can be a pretty big pain to remove. However, the natural wood grain tees can be a lot tougher to locate. The best color for me is white. It can be removed from clubs pretty easily and is also easy enough to see when lying in the green grass. In fact, for me, a white, wooden tee at about three and a half inches is the prefect way to start each hole. My only complaint about wooden tees is that they break very easily. In normal conditions, I probably only make it three or four holes with the same tee before it either breaks or is lost. On dry days, wooden tees seem to break on almost every shot. Knowing that these are common complaints by golfers who use wooden tees, some creative minds started to come up with solutions.
The biggest problem with plastic tees is that they don't have the strength of wooden tees and can be impossible to use when the ground is hard.
The first solution was the plastic tee. Plastic tees were developed and produced in the same fashion as the wooden tees, but they lasted much longer because they wouldn't break when used. However, they have their own set of problems. The biggest problem with plastic tees is that they don't have the strength of wooden tees and can be impossible to use when the ground is hard. Once a plastic tee starts to lose its strength, it bends every time you try to use it and becomes much more of a hassle than a help. The last thing I want to do after making a bogie is fight my plastic tee until it sits at the right angle to hold up my ball. Though plastic tees do last longer than the wood tees, the lack of strength combined with a hard feeling on impact is enough deterrent to keep me away.
The biggest break through in the plastic tee world is probably the zero friction tees. These tees have three prongs that support the ball instead of the traditional bowl at the top of the tee. The idea is that with less surface area contacting the ball, there will be less friction holding the ball to the tee when the club impacts it. Gotta tell ya, I’m not buying it. Though I don’t believe that I’m going to gain any yardage, I will say that these tees do feel softer on impact than the typical plastic tees. But, the vertical strength of these plastic tees seems even less. Plus, they are also more easily broken as the prongs are not very strong and will not last forever. So, if I have to use a plastic tee, I would probably prefer the zero friction, but the softer feel is still not enough for me to make the switch.
Probably the strangest thing in the world of tees right now is the brush tee. I just can't decide what my problem is with this thing, but I am not a fan. They do create just about the softest feel imaginable at impact, but having no friction at all just seems wrong. They look pretty goofy and I can't help but feeling like a beginner every time I try to use one. I don't know, maybe I'm just too cool for them, but I cannot force myself to use the brush tee.
I don't know, maybe I'm just too cool for them, but I cannot force myself to use the brush tee.
Perhaps the coolest looking tee that I have seen is the Tomahawx tee. This thing is designed with the base of the tee shaped as a blade. The idea is that the blade slices through the ground on impact so that the tee does not break. It actually makes sense and seems like it would work. Of course, the company claims that their tee also gives you more distance because of the lower amount of friction, but I’m still not buying that. I will, however, give them that their tee looks awesome and seems as though it would at least increase the life of the tee. I haven’t tried one yet, but I have full intentions of giving them a shot at some point. The only downside of the Tomahawx tee is that they are also plastic. I’ll try not to hold that against them until I have a chance to try them out.
There are a lot of crazy tees in the market right now, but I still prefer the traditional wooden tee. I’m curious as to if any of you have found one of these new designs that you really like. All you have to do is a quick Google search and you will find all sorts of strange designs that claim to increase your yardage and be unbreakable, but has anyone actually tried a design that they prefer over the traditional style? If so, I’d love to hear about it. I’m always up for trying new things, but I have yet to find a tee that impresses me enough to make a switch. I have yet to see a tour pro tee it up with anything other than they standard tee, which kind of surprises me. You would think it would be a small sacrifice to make a little money by using a different tee, but I have yet to see it. When I see the big boys breaking out the brush tee, maybe then I’ll consider updating my selection. Until then, I’ll stay with the old school.
* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf.
[ comments ]
I"m a Zero Friction user. They're plastic, but they're a stronger plastic than the "Mold injected" looking ones of past. I can get the ZF into hard ground pretty easily. they eventually break, but a $7.00 pack of ZF tees lasted me all season. I actually still have about a dozen left. I know spending $1.00 at the course or even $.50 for a pack of wooden tees isn't as cost effective with the amount of golf i play. I can't get around the brush tee either. It just doesn't seem like it would be at all comfortable to put in the ground on a dry day. My thumbs hurt just thinking about it.
Epoch Tees are where it's at. I used to be ZF guy- but Epoch tees from Evolve golf are even better. They are a lot stronger than ZF into the ground, especially hard dry ground. I like the top better too.
Wow they do look pretty nice. I'll have to check them out.
Agree. Epoch tees all the way. And if you pay attention, there are a number of PGA pros using them.
I like a long tee, other than that I don't worry to much about tees while playing. I do think a lot about them on the range. Sometimes I get in a certain groove and it's seems like I either break my tee or hit it 20 yard on every shot. It sucks when you need 40 tees to hit 50 balls at the range. This is where I've thought about using a brush tee but I've never tried one.
I'm an epoch tee user, the ZF's are too soft. I keep a bag of wooden tee's for the range because they are cheaper. Have never used the brush tee because they seem too big to carry in pocket.
Living in Japan for the last three years I found all kind of crazy plastic tees in the tee box. After trying these tees I still prefer normal length wooden or white tees. The simplicity helps calm my mind for the shot.
I'm a big fan of the short ZF tees and Epoch tees for par 3's. Epoch usually gives you 10 short tees in with a pack of their larger tees. I haven't been able to find them sold separately. Before these came out, I used to just search for stubs.
I still use found tees for the irons. No sense in breaking a long tee in the process, or purchasing tees that are specifically short for irons.
@birdieXris: You're right, that's definitely the way to go. I play in a men's club probably twice a month at an executive course, so I just wanted something I can use consistently. It's one of those things where it's probably completely in my head that the tee has a good feel, but why ruin a good thing. I've used them on regular courses for fairway woods and hybrids. They seem to last quite a while.
I use zero friction tees forever. I might break one for every 40-50 swings. The prongs have never broken once on me. IMHO one of the most durable items in my bag. Agree with BX, you can easily break a zero friction tee with an iron. I have used few of the epoch tees, they are pretty good also.
@all_u_epoch_users - I played a course where they had these available to the public (at least I assumed they were) and didn't know what they were called. I thought they were the best combination of durability and sturdiness. I would buy some when I run out of those I "found".
And I am willing to bet if you Velcro'd your ball to a tee you wouldn't lose any distance due to friction (due to weird ball flight because of a Velcro patch on the ball, maybe). The less-friction tees are all marketing in that regard. However, I do kinda like the feel of the ZF tee, for what it's worth.
I played with a brush tee all last season until I lost it. It was great because it gave me the same height every single time. The downside is that you needed to use a normal tee (or have a pocket full of different height brush tees if you wanted to tee it lower say for a drive into the wind).
All tees probably work about the same, but I like the sound and feel of a regular white wood tee, and like the way it flies out of the turf when you make a good contact with the driver, and of course I like that they leave paint marks on the face of the driver, its great feedback.
I have never bought tees and probably never will. I can find a ton at my range. Or, when I play at a really nice resort course (once a year-ish), they have a bowl of tees and I grab several handfuls and stuff them into my bag.
Bryan K says:
I use wooden tees. Color doesn't matter. But I have found that durability does. I bought 10,000 tees this past Spring, and they didn't last the summer. That's what you get when you can never reuse a tee and golf as much as I do.
I bought 200 strong, durable tees at Wal-Mart about a month ago, I pulled out about a dozen, and I just finally used the last of that dozen yesterday.
I use wooden tees (Whatever I can get a cheap deal on), but it does annoy me that they break nearly per hole. Either they snap when the ground is hard or the bit the ball rests on gets to a point even the steadiest hand in the world couldnt make that ball sit on there :)
Just bought some of those epochs to try
It depends... I use 82mm Lignum Polybag tees ( www.lignum-golf.com/english/tees/lignum-tees-6.h for the driver and 53mm wooden tees as provided by my course for the other clubs. In the winter, when the ground is too hard to get a tee in, I use those rubber cone-shaped tees that just sit on the ground.
The lignum tees are tough enough for most of the year, they are bio-degradable and don't damage the greenkeeper's tools.
Kurt the Knife says:
I use whatever is lying around the tee box.
I use MAYBE 2-3 tees of my own per round.
Folks have never let me down.
Typically I come home with 6-7 more than I started with.
Another happy Epoch user here. Love 'em, though at this time of year, when the chill hits the air, I'll snap through several per round. The shorties that come with the pack are great for irons, but like birdieXris, I typically use tee-shrapnel for most iron tee shots.
I like ZF too, but as others have mentioned, they get soft and the teeth break easily.
666 Iron says:
I still like the wooden tees. If I hit a crappy drive, I get a small bit of satisfaction if the tee is destroyed.
Bernie Duffer says:
Epoch tees are the ones! They are hard and go into any tee box. They last a long time. I'm more likely to lose one than break one. The top makes it easier to place the ball on them than ZF tees. My wife cut her finger on a ZF tee. Those little prongs are sharp.
I despise plastic tees. They always seem to get bent which makes them harder to put in the ground. The ones I've used are the three-prongers which are even harder to get setup. Seems like they don't want to balance unless perfectly level. I like wood tees. I've never bought so much as a pack of them, as I only pick up the leftover good ones that I find all over the course and driving range.
There's enough plastic in the world. Much of it turning slowly into poison in the ground, the rest finding its way inexorably into the ocean, where it is also not welcome. Wood decays benignly.
one of the best tees I've ever used. watch the video: www.optimaltee.com/video.html
plus they last forever
another interesting tee: www.golfun.net/naked.htm
I was in golfsmith and was looking around and I thought of the optimal tee. I was looking and found one call consistent tee. Same concept except not adjustable. Liked them when I first started playing. Easy to find, very durable, however, I ended up not using them because I realized they were the wrong height for my drive. so I am back to regular wooden tees for now.
The whole "zero friction" adding distance concept is ridiculous. The amount of drag of the ball against the tee is negligable. I bet even the rubber tube range tees on the driving mats don't even affect your distance at all.
But why do they paint the wooden tees? I would buy unpainted, but I've rarely seen any.
i hate the plastic tees, the bend and then it takes too long to get it just right so the ball wont move and fall off. The Brush Tees are awesome, consistent height, dont even feel like your hitting anything but the ball. The downside is the driver size model is black and a bitch to find. i hate having to search for my tees and black is so hard to find. the make a bright orange one but it is way to tall for me. if all else fails standard wodden tees never fail. But Brush Tee are great durable conssitent height, its like the ball is just floating in the air waiting for you to hit it. i swear they are awesome
Plain wooden tees, unpainted. No marks on my driver, and they can be set at any height. The plastic tees seem to bend and not want to balance the ball.
...the Murseless says:
I haven't bought tees since my first couple of years playing. I 'find' that people are very generous leaving their tees around the tee box for me to reuse. Rare is the round when I don't finish with more tees in my pocket than I started with. I now have a couple of jars of unbroken wooden tees sitting in my basement. I've even picked up a number of blade tees - two in the past few weeks. Plastic is only a problem during the dryest part of summer, but hard ground also affects the blade tees.
My last 5 rounds have all been played on a single, found plastic tee - except for irons, of course. I don't notice any significant difference
The Full Monty says:
Plain wooden tees at 2 ¾ with about ¼ planted in the ground. I don't mind spending $5-$10 per year on tees as I generally break one every few holes.
I agree that the frictionless tees are a bunch of BS for the + handicap golfer. If you're top 500 in the world then it may make a difference. However, if they feel good then hit them. In the end it's all about peace of mind out there.
One of the more interesting set-ups I found is a large and small tee joined together by a small string. The large tee has a bendable joint in the middle, apparently designed to "give" rather than break when struck by a club. The small tee is pushed into the ground as an anchor. If one hits the large tee the string and small tee prevents it from getting lost. Of course, the fact that I found this set-up means the anchor did not work and the guy lost his investment in the fancy tee.
Bkuehn, I have found one of those myself. I believe that is what is known by the Japanese as a "chindogu" - an invention that at first seems very useful, but soon reveals that it's more trouble and embarassment than it's worth.
"Chindogu" - Interesting - I like it! Thanks.
Brush tees are illegal to use in competition. Just an FYI.
Tomahawx Tee - Also illegal to use in competition.
I thought I was the only "tee finder" around lol. It's almost a superstition with me, I hate playing early morning tee times as there's often no tees to be found! I prefer a nice broken one as I tee off with a 3 wood usually and like it just off the ground anyways..
hmm..those broken tees may be carrying around some bad slice/hook karma :)
You may be on to something there KVSmith..I've also noticed that whenever I find a ball oob, in a water hazard, etc., it often times ends up right back in there eventually...hmmm
I've been using the brush tee for a couple years now, and I absolutely love them. I'm a scratch golfer (as in, just scratching 100), and at my skill level I really like the consistency of having the ball at the same height everytime. It's just one less thing to think about. The contact is completely pure, and I really do feel like they help my game. If you are hitting anything other than the driver, then you can use the "nubs" that other people leave behind, or a .50$ bag of wooden tees that will last you all season. I would suggest at least giving them a shot, and if you don't like them, then don't use 'em.
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