The Golf Tee, Ancient & Modern

The article talks about the history of the golf tee, and the types now available, before finishing with a link to the rules about a legal tee is.

When you start on one of those trails around the internet – you know the kind of thing, you start looking for one thing, that leads to another, then another, and before you know it the afternoon is gone – you come across plenty of interesting hints and tips.  There is a lot of stuff showing you things like how to tee up a golf ball or what the latest thoughts are on the use of specialist golf putters, but often there is too much information and it’s hard to find what you actually need.

One of the things I’m interested in is the history of the sport.  I’ve made a bit of a study of it, and noticed that quite a few other golfers feel the same way as me.  It’s useful to know how certain items developed, as even if you don’t find the history thrilling it can help to understand how and when you should use different things.

Take golf tees, for example.  You’ll find lots of web pages telling you about the latest designs, but not many that tell you about the history of them and how the design has improved over the years.  The focus on much of the internet is on marketing – someone has to pay for it – so much of what you see is geared towards sales.

You won’t find many pages that tell you, for example, that the first golf tee was only developed in 1889, and was a rubber three-pronged affair which just sat on the ground.  The first tee as we know it, which was pushed into the ground and was made of wood, was patented three years later.  Before that, players either hit the ball straight from the ground or used a little mound of sand to place the ball on.  One can only imagine what frustrations that caused, and what drove someone to devise something that was consistent and easy to use no matter where they were or what the ground was like.

The golf tee remained something of a niche product though until around the 1920’s.  A Dr Lowell had the idea of mass producing them, which reduced the costs, and he also painted them red so they could be seen more easily in the grass.  An early piece of marketing using two pro golfers to promote the tee did it no harm, and it soon became the standard accessory for all golfers.

Since then, of course, there have been a number of variations on the same basic theme.  You can get long or short tees, depending on how high you want your ball to sit.  They are now made of different materials, such as plastic as well as wood, and they come in a variety of colours.  You also have the different tops, with some having the traditional cup shape, and some sporting ‘bristles’ or similar which supposedly reduce the resistance against the ball, allowing it to travel further.  There isn’t much room for new designs now though, as the rules around tees leave little doubt about what is and isn’t allowed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: