The Correct Tee Height for a Driver: A Quick Fix for More Distance

How High Should You Tee a Driver

Golf can be seen on TV, or YouTube now thanks LIV golf, where you will see some incredible shots from the tee. Everybody seems to be able to carry the ball at least 300 yards from their tee. Some drives can be as long as 350+ yards! 

This is what motivates every golfer to get started. Speed training and swing faster, all in hopes to hit it longer off the tee. While speed plays a big role in maximizing your total distance, there’s another aspect to think about as well – The tee height of your driver. 

Too many golfers simply put the peg in the ground, and then swing away. You need to know the correct tee height if you want to improve your total distance, hit more fairways, or gain strokes off of the tee. Continue reading to learn more about how this affects your ball flight and trajectory as well as distance. 

Drivers: Height of the Tee

Did you know that the average male amateur player has gained 16 yards in the last 24 years? The USGA publishes its Annual distance report each year (besides 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic) and it’s astonishing to see the numbers.

Technological advances in equipment are making it easier for golfers to hit the green longer than ever before. The pros are hitting it longer than ever thanks to new equipment, Trackman devices and intense training programs.

Before you go down the rabit hole of adding distance, let’s answer the question of how high you should tee the driver.

Finding the right tee height for a driver has two answers…

The rule of thumb is that about half the golf ball should be higher than the address position of the club.Most standard long tees are 2 ¾ inches and allow this position with today’s drivers but there is a large selection of different tee sizes too.

Tees were shorter in the past because clubheads were smaller. Think about the old drivers that Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer used – if they tried a modern tee with those drivers, their performance would suffer greatly. 

Your driver’s driver tee height must match your driver’s!

This is a critical component of Hit your driver consistently right. Otherwise, you’re leaving yards on the table and making golf much harder on yourself. 

But the truth is, there’s a lot more to consider as it’s not always a one-size fits all approach. To find the right driver height, let’s break down a few other factors to make sure you hit the ball consistently well off the tee. 

Clubhead size 

Golf gear has evolved dramatically over the years.

Because of the advancements in technology and clubhead sizes, tee sizes have changed dramatically over the years. If players still used the same tees from previous generations, the clubs wouldn’t perform nearly as well. 

Drivers are now much larger than in the past so the sweet spot is higher up. The ball would lose its sweet spot if you used shorter tees for new drivers. 

For this article, let’s assume you’re using a driver that has a 460CC. This is the most popular size for drivers such as the TaylorMade Stealth or the Callaway Rogue ST Max. It’s also the maximum size allowed by the USGA.  

Attack Angle

The second thing to think about is your angle of attack at the golf ball. This is something that’s so important as it has a direct impact on distance and accuracy.

Let’s not confuse angle of attack with launch angle either. Trackman Golf has the following definitions: 

  • Launch angleLaunch Angle refers to the angle at which the ball takes flight relative to the horizon. Launch angle is closely related to dynamic loft. It will always be less than dynamic loft, but it will always have a similar value. The average PGA Tour score is 10.9 degrees. 
  • Attack angle: The vertical direction of the club head’s geometric center movement at maximum compression of the golf ball. The average PGA Tour attack angle for the PGA Tour is minus 1 degree.  

You will have a steeper angle if you tee it lower. 

Which makes sense because you’ll need to hit more down to make proper contact with the golf ball. If you tried to hit up on a golf ball that was tee low, you wouldn’t make very consistent contact with the golf ball. But for a driver, you don’t want the tee too low so that you hit down on it which will cause the dreaded popup.  

To Hover or not to Hover Your Driver

Another factor that influences tee height is what you do at set-up. Do you prefer to hover your golf club or to be seated comfortably on the ground. 

Bryson DeChambeau is an excellent example of someone who hovers over the club. Bryson DeChambeau is a great example of someone who hovers the club. He likes to have as much power as possible, and he also likes to hover the driver (and all clubs) when hitting off a hole. Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman are two other players who have hovered at the club.

Greg “the Shark” Norman detailed the reasoning behind his decision to hover the club for two big benefits on his Website

“First, it keeps my grip pressure constant. As you stand over a shot, you have a natural tendency to regrip, and each time your hands shift on the club – even a fraction – it has a major effect on the outcome of the shot. 

It promotes a smooth one-piece takeaway, with the clubhead flowing directly from the ball. This is particularly true with the driver; there will be no tendency to snap the clubhead up quickly and vertically as there can be when the club is soled.”

But if you hover the clubs, you might need to adjust tee height. The tee height should be adjusted to ensure that the club is not too high above the ball. 

Don’t feel like you need to hover the golf club to hit great drives though. Other great players like Tiger Woods and many others don’t hover their drivers. 

You should do what is best for your swing.

Hovering the driver can help you if you have difficulty getting a smooth meal or feeling anxious at your address. You can experiment with the range to find what works best for you. 

Trajectory

To impact your trajectory, you need optimal launch conditions. These conditions are determined by the tee height.

A shorter tee will produce a lower flight of the ball. This is great if your goal is to hit the ball low, or play into the wind.

For example, let’s say you’re playing into a strong headwind and don’t want to sacrifice distance. You don’t have to alter your swing arc, ball position or any other factors. Simply teeing it lower will produce less spin and allow you to hit it straighter. You can achieve consistent results even for the average golfer by teeing it half an inch lower (this also works for iron shots).

To hit the ball higher, however, you will need to adjust your height slightly higher than normal. This will allow you to maximize your total carry distance and give you a shorter approach shot towards the green. This is ideal when you’re downwind and want to keep your ball in the air as long as possible.

Tee Shot Shaping (Changing Your Flight)

You should also consider the shape of your shot when deciding on tee height. Do you want a draw, cut or straight ball?

Tiger Woods discussed this in detail in his Golf Digest series, “My Game: Tiger Woods.” You can You can watch the entire video on YouTube as it’s now free to watch. 

In the series, Tiger documents how to hit his patented cut, a draw, and “the bomb.” Each one requires a different tee height to accomplish his ball flight goals. He also uses a modest tee height compared to other players as he doesn’t like to hover the club. 

Height of Tee for Driver

The Cut 

This video shows Tiger hitting almost slightly lower on his normal cut shot. Tiger likes to cover more of the ball, so he needs a lower tee ball. This is why it’s hard to hit a high cut – both shot types are working against each other. It’s much easier to hit a low cut or a high draw than vice versa. 

So if you’re the type of golfer who prefers to play a power fade, tee the ball slightly lower. This will promote ball flight and help you not go too steep on your downswing.

The Draw

Tiger doesn’t seem to play a draw shot nearly as much as he did in his younger days. This could be due both to his physical limitations and injuries. New technology means he may not have to draw as often.

Tiger discusses the importance of teeing your ball slightly higher when you hit a draw. He said that to win a draw you need more speed to flip the ball over.

A higher tee will allow you to increase speed and keep your ball in the air. Your draw could become a snap hook if you tee it too low. 

The Bomb 

The straight bomb is the last type Tiger discusses in this series. This shot isn’t used often anymore as it’s not easy on his body, but will pull it out of the bag when he needs a long, straight shot.

Tiger tees the ball as high as he can so that the crown is not below the ball. He then swings as hard and tries to hit the ball as hard as he can. He keeps his weight back to increase launch angle and doesn’t try to work the ball left or right. 

Next time you go to the driving range, be sure to try different tee heights based on your shot shape.

FAQs about Tee Height

Are you still not sure how high to tee your golf balls? Continue reading for more answers to the most commonly asked questions. 

How does the tee height influence driving distance?

Many people believe that a lower tee height equals less distance, while a higher tee is associated with more distance. There are many other factors that can affect driver size, clubhead speed and launch angle, attack angle, weather conditions and more. 

While tee height does play a role in total driving distance, it’s not everything. It’s best to experiment with different tee heights in practice to see which helps your overall driving performance the most. Remember that accuracy and distance are equally important. 

What should I choose: plastic or wood tees? 

There are many options when it comes choosing the right tee. As we discussed in our Golf tees articleThere are three main types. Wood (bamboo), plastic, or brush tees. Rubber tees can also be used, but only on the driving range and not on the greens. 

Most golfers will choose their tee height and personal preference. Personally, I use only wooden tees, while some of my friends use plastic tees. Some use both. 

I believe that keeping a consistent height is more important then using plastic or wooden tees. It’s always best to experiment with both and see how they impact performance (use a launch monitor if possible to get the most accurate data). 

Why are my tee shots so low

Low tee shots could be due to a variety factors, including:

  • Poor contact 
  • Too low for the Tee
  • Improper weight transfers
  • Too little backswing 

There are other factors. If you’re struggling off the tee, make sure to record your swing and use a launch monitor when possible. You can use data and videos to help you improve your game and hit it higher for longer distances. 

Do brush tees work?

Have you ever seen a top-level golfer use brushes tees before? 

Over the past few decades of playing golf, I can say I haven’t. That doesn’t mean they don’t work but I think the promises made about increasing distance and accuracy are a little far-fetched. If brush tees made golf so much easier, wouldn’t everyone play them? 

This isn’t a piece of golf gear you need to start playing better golf.

Is there any rule regarding the tee height

There are many rules to golf, some too complicated for most people to remember. However, there is one rule: the tee height. The USGA states that the maximum length is four inches. The rule states that a golf ball’s movement cannot be affected by a tee.

While the limit is four inches, I honestly don’t think 99.9% of players ever need one quite that high or need to flirt with the USGA limit. Teeing it too high can cause a lot of problems and even cause damage to your driver’s head. 

How do I hit a low-powered driver?

You want to hit a lower ball flight when driving. However, your ball speed should be maintained but you need less spin. To do that, use a smaller tee (standard tees are fine) and make sure the top half isn’t above the face like normal. You might also want to change your swing plane.

Check out our article on hitting it low in windy conditions. stinger article.

How do I tee my ball with a fairway wooden?

A fairway wooden is half the size of a driver. You will need to adjust your height accordingly. To make fairway woods contact easier, tee your ball lower.

Many golfers believe they have to tee it up high and hit it. But in reality, you still want to hit a downward blow, even if it’s on the tee shot. Since the top half is on the peg, you only want to swing your driver face up.

Henrik Stenson, a pro golfer, is a great example of this. The PGA average attack angle is -2.9 degrees. This is even more important if you’re hitting a three wood off the turf and not a tee.

If you want the ball higher you can tee it up slightly more but don’t overdo it or you might get less roll and not nearly as good of contact.

Do you need to use tees in the teebox?

While you are not required or required to use the tee boxes, it is highly recommended. 

I remember Tiger Woods talking about this in a clinic once and said it’s vital to take every advantage you can get in this game. Whether you’re hitting a lob wedge on a short par 3 or a driver on a long par 5, you should use a tee.

It is interesting to note that in the past, you could only use a tee on a box. According to the original rules, the ball must be teed from below the ground. 

Final Thoughts about Tee Height 

Your driver’s tee height is a key factor in getting the most from your teebox game. To find the best tee height for you and your driver, you should experiment with different tee heights. 

Then, stick with that tee height so it’s the same every single swing. You can buy a bag with markers if you feel it is too low or too high. These make it easy to put your tee in the ground the exact amount so it’s the same height on each shot. 

To compensate for the smaller clubhead, tee fairway woods lower. You run the risk of damaging your fairway woods with a scratch or skymark.

Finally, don’t forget to tee it at different heights if you’re trying to hit different types of shots like Tiger Woods suggested. Cut shots require a lower pitch, while draw shots require higher tees. If you want to hit straight shots, tee it high. 

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