Beginner Golf Tip: Correct Tee Height for Fairway Woods, Hybrids and Irons (Video)
Beginner Golf Tip: Correct Tee Height for Fairway Woods, Hybrids and Irons (Video)

If you’re comfortable taking a hybrid club or a 3-wood and you’re happy playing those off the floor or off the deck as we sometimes say. Now when you get the opportunity to play it on the teeing ground it’s sometimes sort of encouraging just to throw it down on the ground and play it straight from the grass. Well I wouldn’t encourage you to do that, I much rather you set the ball up on a tee peg because it’s the only opportunity you get to have a really nice line and hit it off a tee peg, so don’t give that opportunity back to the golf course. But it’s also important that you don’t go ahead and stick it on a great big working tee peg and then scoop all the way underneath the ball and then sky it off into the air.

So if you’re taking a driver, a driver has much deeper face therefore needs a much deeper tee peg but it’d be worthwhile having a few different lengths tee pegs in your pocket so when you get to the teeing ground with a hybrid or a 3-wood in your hands you can peg your tee much lower. So here I’ve got the ball sitting on a very low tee peg, it almost looks like it’s just sitting on a good lie in the grass, as I slide the club in behind the ball I want to have a round about half the ball sitting opposite the top of the club so the equator line of the ball sits around the top of the club. That way I can sweep the ball into the air nicely, I don’t need to gauge down and take too much of a dive but at the same time I don’t have an opportunity to slide underneath it and sky it up into the air. So I play the ball towards my left side of centre on a tee peg that just sets the ball in the air like it’s on a good lie.

So it’ll be worthwhile getting some tee pegs in your bag, maybe the castle tees will be suitable for you. The other ones have the cap at the top for the ball but also a little flange at the bottom just to stop the tee peg being pressed in too low and you use different colored castle tees for your different clubs. So you can measure them all on the practice ground and then when you go and play you know that if I’m using my hybrid club here I’m going to need a blue tee peg, if I’m using my 3-wood I might use the yellow tee peg and if I’m using my driver I might use the white tee peg. But the principle remains the same we want to see about half the ball sitting above the top of the club, not too high not too low, half the ball above the top and that will lead to the best and sweetest contact.

2013-03-29

There are plenty of details you need to manage when trying to assemble a quality golf game.

Correct Tee Height for Fairway Woods, Hybrids, and Irons

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, it can be overwhelming when you start to think about everything you need to get right in order to post good scores round after round. Rather than letting yourself become overwhelmed by the prospect of learning so much, take a step back and simply approach this challenge one step at a time. By picking up one piece of information after the next, you will eventually have everything you need to reach your goals.

In this article, we are going to discuss a topic which definitely falls into the category of a ‘small detail’ – the proper tee height for many of the clubs in your bag. Of course, as you may already know, the small details in golf add up to make a huge difference in terms of the quality of your shots. Even if you have a solid golf swing, your success can be undermined by a failure to manage the little things properly.

Since you use your driver from the tee so frequently, you’ve probably already worked out how high you should tee the ball when using that club. It may have taken a little bit of trial and error, but you likely know what height is going to lead to the best results with your driver. But what about some of the other clubs you use from the tee? We are going to talk about your fairway woods, hybrids, and irons in this article. You may use your fairway woods and hybrids off the tee on par fours from time to time, and you’ll certainly use your irons on most of the par threes you encounter. Knowing how high to tee the ball for these kinds of shots is going to make it easier to achieve the desired outcome.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Understanding the Goal

Understanding the Goal

Before we get into specifics, we’d first like to talk for a minute simply about the underlying goal when you are placing your ball on a tee. As you know, the tee shot is the only time during the play of a hole when you are allowed to actually place your ball on a tee up off the ground. This is a significant advantage, as you don’t have to worry about a bad lie, and you should have an easier time striking the shot solidly. However, if you don’t tee the ball at the proper height, you won’t be fully taking advantage of the opportunity that you have been presented.

The goal here is to tee the ball at a height which is going to make it as easy as possible for you to hit the desired shot. Basically, you want to avoid creating any problems with your tee height, so you can just make an aggressive swing and expect a great outcome. While the proper tee height is going to vary from player to player, most golfers will find that they are well-served by using a tee height which is pretty close to ‘standard’.

One of the complicating factors we need to keep in mind here is the fact that you will have different goals with each of the three different kinds of clubs mentioned in the title of this article. The way you will swing a fairway wood varies slightly from how you swing a hybrid, and that swing is a little different from the one you use on your irons. Let’s take a closer look at the goal you should have in mind when establishing tee height for each of these three types of clubs.

  • Fairway woods. These days, fairway woods have rather large club heads – in many cases, the club head of your fairway wood will be larger than a driver head would have been 20 or 30 years ago. With that in mind, you are going to want to tee your ball up off the ground high enough so that you have room to swing slightly up into impact while still finding the sweet spot. For most golfers, the right height will be a position where the middle of the ball is just a bit higher than the sweet spot of the club at address. That way, you can sweep your club through impact on a flat plane, or it can move up slightly, and you should be in a good position to strike. If the ball is too low to the ground – the middle of the ball is below the sweet spot on the club, for instance – you will have no opportunity to hit up at impact. You’ll have to swing down through the ball to catch it cleanly, and that method is typically not effective when playing fairway wood shots.
  • Hybrids. As you may know, the idea behind a hybrid club is to walk the line between a fairway wood and a long iron. With that in mind, it only makes sense that your tee height with a hybrid is going to fall somewhere between what you use with a fairway wood and what you use with an iron. For most players, lining up the middle of the ball precisely with the sweet spot at address will be a good plan. From there, you can sweep the ball off the tee with a swing that moves the club flat along the top of the turf through the hitting area. By not hitting up or down at impact, but just swinging through on a flat plane, you should achieve a nice launch angle and hit quality shots. Of course, as you work on your hybrid play off the tee moving forward, you can adjust that ball position up or down slightly in order to optimize your results.
  • Irons. For iron shots from the tee, you are basically going to use the tee to make sure you have a perfect lie – and that’s it. You really don’t want the ball up in the air when hitting your iron tee shots, since that will require you to then swing up through impact in order to find the sweet spot. You still want to be able to swing down like you do on a normal iron shot through the hitting area, so tee the ball right at the top of the turf. Think of it this way – if someone in your group was looking at your ball from a few yards away while you are getting ready to swing, they should barely be able to tee that it is even on a tee. Push the tee all the way down into the turf, place the ball on top so you have a perfectly clean lie, and proceed from there. Some players may like to tee it just a bit higher when hitting a long iron like a two or three iron, so you can feel free to experiment with that adjustment, if necessary. For the majority of your iron tee shots, however, keep the ball down on the top of the turf.

The rules of golf give you an advantage by allowing you to place your ball on top of a tee for the first shot of every hole. That is an advantage you should take and not look back. Work on finding the right tee height for each of these three types of clubs so you can position your ball perfectly each and every time.

Trial and Error

Trial and Error

So much of the process of improving your golf game comes down to trial and error. You head out to the driving range, you try out a few things, and you see what works and what doesn’t. It is pretty simple when you think about it – so why do so many golfers fail to work through this process correctly? In many cases, it is because the player is not willing to struggle before finding success.

Too many golfers become frustrated when they hit poor shots, even in practice, not realizing that those poor shots are a necessary part of the growing process. Each poor shot should be seen as an opportunity for growth, rather than as a failure. When you hit a bad shot on the range, you can take that chance to think about what went wrong and what you can do to improve the result next time around. The players who are willing to embrace the trial and error process are those who are more likely to succeed in the long run.

With the topic of tee height, trial and error is the perfect way to find the ideal height for each different type of club. Sure, it will take a little bit of work on your part, but before long you’ll know exactly how high you want to tee the ball while out on the course – and that knowledge will give you confidence. We have listed a few tips below to help you work through the trial and error process as successfully as possible.

  • Find a grass tee line. These days, many driving ranges offer only artificial turf mats for hitting balls, rather than natural grass. There are some advantages to artificial turf – mainly from a maintenance perspective – but they make it tough to work on your tee height. If you can, locate a driving range in your area that offers a natural grass hitting area and use that for your tee height testing. That way, you’ll be able to use the same tees that you use on the course, and you’ll be able to practice in a way which is directly applicable to what you do during your rounds.
  • Bring a marker. You want to be as precise as possible with your practice in order to dial in your tee height perfectly. A good way to do that is to use a marker to make lines on your tees as you go. For example, let’s say that you are working on finding the right height to tee up the ball when you play a three wood shot. You can tee up your first practice ball and make a little line on the tee to mark how far you pushed it into the ground. Then, you hit the shot. With any luck, you won’t destroy the tee and you’ll be able to use it again for your next shot. Since you have the line as a point of reference, you can easily move the ball a little higher or lower to see if your results improve. Once you have settled on a height that works nicely for that club, feel free to mark several of your tees so you can consistently practice with the ball the same height off the turf over and over again.
  • Be patient. The need for patience is a common theme throughout the game of golf. This is a game that demands patience, as nothing worthwhile comes quickly on the links. Even if you struggle at first and aren’t able to produce quality results when hitting these clubs off the tee, stick with it and keep experimenting. At some point, you should have a breakthrough and begin to find the kinds of results that you desire.

Learning how to properly use the trial and error process is not only going to help you find the right tee height for your various clubs, but it will help you in a variety of other ways throughout your game. No matter what it is you are trying to work on in your game, it’s likely that trial and error is going to play at least a small part in helping you progress to the next level.

Tee Shot Strategy

Tee Shot Strategy

At this point, we are going to step away from the topic of tee height specifically and talk instead about some of the keys to keep in mind when deciding which club to use from the tee. Obviously, we’ve been talking about using fairway woods, hybrids, and irons in this article, rather than talking about the driver. Certainly, you are going to use your driver for plenty of tee shots, but it won’t be the right tool for the job in all cases. Sometimes, you’ll need to use a shorter club, which is something that many amateur golfers are hesitant to do. Let’s talk for a moment about the strategic thinking that should go into this kind of decision.

  • It’s all about the next shot. When thinking about the tee shot that you are going to play, what you are really thinking about is the next shot. How do you want to position your ball in order to set yourself up for success on the second shot and on through to the completion of the hole? For instance, on a short par four, you won’t have to worry much about covering the distance to the green in two shots. That should be pretty easy, so instead you should be thinking about the angle and distance that you would like to leave yourself for the approach shot. Remember, a tee shot is nothing more than a place setter. Use your tee shot to position your ball nicely so you make your job for the rest of the hole as easy as possible.
  • Put away your ego. Nobody is going to be impressed by how far you hit your tee shot if you wind up making a double bogey on the hole. The goal in golf is always to post the lowest possible score, so all of your decisions should be based on that objective. Sure, it’s fun to launch a long drive right down the middle of the fairway, but that shot is only useful if it helps you make a par or better. Forget about trying to impress your friends and playing partners with your long drives and instead focus only on playing your best golf. Sometimes, that is going to mean putting your driver away in favor of one of your shorter, easier-to-control clubs.
  • Respect the hazards. It would be great to hit the fairway with each of your tee shots. Realistically, that is not going to happen. Even top professional golfers miss fairways from time to time, and you are going to miss your share, as well. Fortunately, missing a few fairways isn’t necessarily going to sink your chances of a good round – as long as you miss them in the right spot. One of the biggest keys to playing good rounds of golf is avoiding the hazards that may protect various parts of the course. For instance, on a par four with water down the right and just some short rough on the left, it’s obviously better to miss left. You’d still prefer to be in the fairway but staying dry should be your main objective. Adding a penalty stroke to your score is something you can’t get back – that stroke is going to be on your scorecard no matter what you do for the rest of the day. Understand how important it is to keep your ball in play and make tee shot decisions as such.

As you continue to gain experience in the game of golf, you will gradually get more and more comfortable with making strategic decisions that play to your strengths. It’s important to note that a good strategic decision for your game might be different than it is for someone else. Base your choices on your ball flight, power, and personal playing style – sticking with what comes naturally to you is your best bet.

Using Tee Height to Your Advantage

Using Tee Height to Your Advantage

The goal is to establish a standard tee height which you can use for the majority of your tee shots with each of the three categories of clubs we’ve been discussing. However, you are not obligated to use that tee height on each and every shot you play. Sometimes, it will be to your advantage to alter your tee height in order to promote a specific type of ball flight.

This is particularly true when you want to use a shot shape that runs against your standard pattern. Generally speaking, teeing the ball higher will make it easier to hit a draw, while teeing it lower will help you hit a fade. So, for example, imagine that you are a player who usually hits a draw, but you are playing a hole which is guarded by water all the way down the left side. You decide that it would be nice to hit a fade for this tee shot, as to lessen the chances of your ball ending up in the hazard. To promote a fade, you can tee the ball lower to the ground before making your swing. That will promote a steeper downswing, which is going to encourage you to come across the ball slightly from outside-in, and you’ll hopefully wind up with a fade as a result. There is no guarantee that teeing the ball lower or higher will change your ball flight, of course, but it is a good place to start. Try this method out during practice before putting it to the test on the golf course.

We understand that the tee height you use for some of your clubs seems like a rather trivial detail, but golf is a game which is all about the details. If you are going to play well in this game, you need to pay attention to the small stuff. By spending some practice time to get your tee height just right, you’ll have one more pesky variable crossed off of your list. From there, you can keep working on other little bits and pieces of your game that will help you advance your skills and lower your scores. We hope the information in this article will help you making progress on this small part of the game. Good luck!

If you’re comfortable taking a hybrid club or a 3-wood and you’re happy playing those off the floor or off the deck as we sometimes say. Now when you get the opportunity to play it on the teeing ground it’s sometimes sort of encouraging just to throw it down on the ground and play it straight from the grass. Well I wouldn’t encourage you to do that, I much rather you set the ball up on a tee peg because it’s the only opportunity you get to have a really nice line and hit it off a tee peg, so don’t give that opportunity back to the golf course. But it’s also important that you don’t go ahead and stick it on a great big working tee peg and then scoop all the way underneath the ball and then sky it off into the air.

So if you’re taking a driver, a driver has much deeper face therefore needs a much deeper tee peg but it’d be worthwhile having a few different lengths tee pegs in your pocket so when you get to the teeing ground with a hybrid or a 3-wood in your hands you can peg your tee much lower. So here I’ve got the ball sitting on a very low tee peg, it almost looks like it’s just sitting on a good lie in the grass, as I slide the club in behind the ball I want to have a round about half the ball sitting opposite the top of the club so the equator line of the ball sits around the top of the club. That way I can sweep the ball into the air nicely, I don’t need to gauge down and take too much of a dive but at the same time I don’t have an opportunity to slide underneath it and sky it up into the air. So I play the ball towards my left side of centre on a tee peg that just sets the ball in the air like it’s on a good lie.

So it’ll be worthwhile getting some tee pegs in your bag, maybe the castle tees will be suitable for you. The other ones have the cap at the top for the ball but also a little flange at the bottom just to stop the tee peg being pressed in too low and you use different colored castle tees for your different clubs. So you can measure them all on the practice ground and then when you go and play you know that if I’m using my hybrid club here I’m going to need a blue tee peg, if I’m using my 3-wood I might use the yellow tee peg and if I’m using my driver I might use the white tee peg. But the principle remains the same we want to see about half the ball sitting above the top of the club, not too high not too low, half the ball above the top and that will lead to the best and sweetest contact.