There is No Normal Off The Tee

Setting yourself up for success off the tee is critical to low golf scores. Ask anyone who is struggling to hit the fairway about their scores and they will lament that hitting three off the tee is just no fun. I totally agree with this assessment and while reading, your head moving up and down suggests you do to.

I have researched many aspects of hitting the ball in play off the tee and I have found that there is a normal convention that all experiments support. Specifically,  the concept of how high to tee your golf ball on the tee. This fundamental act sets the foundation for a great score and yet is often overlooked. Well not today!

Image from Golfweek.

Sports Illustrated conducted an outstanding experiment on how high to tee your ball.  It is a quick read and everyone should take a look. It gives advice on using an iron or hybrid. Quoted from SI  “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.”  This experiment is great in theory and supports the norm, but….

The convention for best performance is to tee the ball up so half of the ball is above the top of the driver. This position is designed to provide the best launch angle, hit the sweet spot on the driver, and maximize the smash factor between your club and ball. Apparently, many of the readers also agree:

Well, I am here to tell you that this convention does not work for everyone. And I am an exception to the rule. My swing plane does not promote a success like 63% of the respondents in my poll. I am not sure why, but for me, I need to tee my ball up between 1/8 and 1/4 above the top of the driver. Most of the ball has to be in front of my driver’s face or else all heck breaks out.

As a result of not following convention, I am hitting the ball off the tee better than I have in years. I use a 9.5º driver and although my ball does not soar high, it drives through the air with great consistency. My setup enables me to control the ball off the tee and as a result, I am in play most of the time. The secondary effect to success off the tee is lower golf scores; and this is what I always strive for, don’t you?

It is important to understand the fundamentals of a golf swing. Most experts provide the 80% solution to ‘what should happen’ during your golf swing. However, I suggest that body type, flexibility, and swing plane also contribute to successfully hitting a golf ball in play. I continually work on my golf game and find that there is no normal. Convention is a place to start and adjusting to suit your needs as a player is important to low golf scores.

What do you think? Is there a normal that fits all players? Do you follow convention when teeing the ball up?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


7 thoughts on “There is No Normal Off The Tee

  1. I don’t think you can box everyone into one normal. That said, I have found that the closer I can get to the norm, the better off I am. I think we deviate mostly to compensate for something we do wrong.


    • Kevin

      I think you are right to some degree. I also think that body type, athletic ability and flexibility also contributes to where the norm is located in our golf game. Personally, I fit most of the norms, but not all.



      • I think you said it better. I would add that Mr. Furyk and his 58 is all the proof anyone needs that one swing is not perfect for all people.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, I’ll usually tee the driver with half the ball over the face but will go even with the face with a 3WD when I’m looking for a low stinger type tee shot that absolutely has to hit the fairway.



    Liked by 1 person

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