Teeing for Driver Need Not Give the Ball a Bloody Nose

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By Peter Harris
Special to the Valley News
(Published in print: Thursday, July 23, 2015)

How high do you tee your golf ball for a driver?

The ideal height depends on what type of swing you have and what type of shot you want to hit. It’s kind of like grilling meat and vegetables and real summertime activity. Sometimes you go with high heat or medium heat based on the cut of meat, and then perhaps wait for the veggies with some low heat.

The safe tee height for most players is a ball that is positioned halfway on the face and half above the face. This tee height works for many because to get the most distance with a driver, you want to swing up on the ball to create the most optimal launch conditions.

It you want to hit a high, towering draw that goes a country mile, then teeing the ball up even higher will allow you to lean back, swing up and rip it from an inside-to-up swing path. Hold on, though, as good as that sounds; players who tee ball up too high all the time, and hit it well, typically struggle with their iron play. The latter requires the opposite angle of attack and a more down-the-line club path.

Another way to increase distance is to hit the ball high on the club face, where the vertical gear effect will produce a higher launch and lower spin, the ingredients for more distance.
If the tee shot calls for a baby fade or more aggressive left-to-right ball flight, then a lower tee height is the way to go. Positioning the entire ball below the top of the club will force you to hit slightly down on the ball and lower on the club face.

Without the ability to swing up on the ball, you’ll be able to deliver the club path more outside to in, allowing you to create the cut spin you’re looking for.

Also, if you want a lower drive with more control of the flight, a lower tee height will allow you to hit the ball low on the club face, producing a lower launch angle.

In summary, when teeing up your ball and hitting driver, make sure the tee height gives you the best chance to hit the center of the clubface. Just like grilling a steak your favorite way to the center cooked to your liking, find your perfect hit and take your best cut.

Peter Harris is director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon.