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No, You Can’t Use a Tee on The Fairway (Rules Explained)

No, You Can’t Use a Tee on The Fairway (Rules Explained)

A golf tee can be a very useful piece of equipment for helping to get the ball off the ground.

The legal rules for the game do not allow you to use a fairway tee. Although we all would like a little extra help from the tee, it’s only available to use on a tee shot.

Let’s take a more detailed look at when you can use a tee and whether or not you even should be using one.


Table of Contents

  • How to Use a Tee in Golf
  • Do You Need to Use a Tee on a Tee shot?
  • Can a driver be used on the fairway?
  • How high should I put my golf ball?
  • Can a beginner use a fairway tee?

How to Use a Tee in Golf

Only a golf tee can be used on the box between the tee markers. The golf tee may be used to begin your hole. It is not meant to be used again once you have reached the next tee.

Amateur golfers who are new to the sport often have difficulty determining when and where to place a tee.  It should be simple to remember that a tee can only be used from a teebox.

This rule was put in place by the USGA to ensure that golfers have a perfect lie for their hole. Whether you are teeing off with a driver, 5 wood, or even iron, as long as you are on the tee box, you won’t have to worry about using a tee.

The teebox is the area created from the two tee marker’s tees. It extends back two clubs to create a rectangular box, known as the teeing box.

Some golfers will use the tee on their putting green to mark their balls or fix a pitch mark. This is a different usage of the tee and would be legal according to the rules of golf.


Do You Need to Use a Tee on a Tee shot?

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There is no rule in golf that says you have to use a club on your tee shot. This part of the game is up to your discretion. Most golfers will use the tee, as it can improve accuracy when the golf shot is being hit.

A golf tee gives players a little more confidence in their ability to make contact with the ball.

A tee is essential whether you are using a driver, 3 or 4 wood or a hybrid off the box. Some golfers will skip the tee if they play a par-3 hole with an iron.

This will depend on the type of player and the angles of your swing.


Can a driver be used on the fairway?

Some golfers may consider using a driver while on the fairway, even though it is rare.

This shot was much simpler than it is today, but I must admit that it was much easier to do many years ago. I used to play this shot occasionally.

The USGA changed how big a legal golf club head could be, and the idea of hitting a driver off a fairway became more complicated. Players were suddenly required to swing a 460cc head with a shaft that is usually 45 inches long to lift the ball off the ground.

This is difficult!

You may find it easier to hit the fairway with a smaller head driver, if you have one. These are more like a modern 3-wood and are easier to hit the fairway.

One tip when hitting a driver off of the fairway: This is not a percentage shot. So be careful and evaluate the risk and reward.


How high should I put my golf ball?

The ball should be teed high enough so that it hits the center of your clubface, but not too high to miss the sweet spot. This exact height is a problem for some players. Some tees have indicators or markers to help you.

For the driver, I like to place the tee so that the ball is about halfway above the top of the driver’s head. This allows me to swing higher and hit the center of my clubface. A low friction driver tee will provide additional distance.

For irons and hybrids, you don’t need to have the tee as high as it is for irons. In fact, with the iron shot, it’s best to simply have the ball resting on the ground just held up by the tee.

You may not get the distance and spin you are looking for if you tee it too high with an iron.


Can a beginner use a fairway tee?

Sometimes, new golfers will go to the course with a professional to learn about the course. To ensure that your shot to the green is shorter, the pro might offer to tee you up on the fairway instead of the tee box.

This is often the case with juniors who play on courses without junior golf tees. Golfers should consider using a fairway-facing tee to get closer to the hole.

While this is not permitted under the USGA rules, it is still not acceptable in a tournament setting. If you are teaching a junior player to play, you can tee them 100 yards from the fairway. You will be amazed at how they learn the game from this position.