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How High to Tee Up Your Driver for Success

Published on 09/25/2023 · 8 min readTrying to master the tee height for your golf drives? Golfing Expert Vincenzo Candela explains how to find the right height for your swing!
Vincenzo Candela, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Vincenzo Candela

Photo by Apiwan Borrikonratchata

Consistency. On the whole, that's what all of us want with our drivers. We want to consistently be in the middle of a fairway. How does tee height play a role in that, you ask? Does how high we tee up the ball determine the success of our drives? The answer is a bit complicated, because there are so many elements to each tee shot. I have been playing different Callaway drivers because I feel their characteristics best suit my game. I recommend checking out fellow Curated Golf Expert Jacob Wetzel’s article to see which Callaway driver could be a good fit for your game. Now, let's go through the different factors golfers should be considering as they are walking up to each tee box with their drivers in hand.

How High Should I Tee It?

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To get our golf ball to pierce the crisp, pure air of the finest golf establishments in America, we should consider some of these factors before teeing up our ball on the tee box. As you walk up and look at the fairway that you are going to try to hit — no, that you are going to hit — take into consideration what type of shot is going to put you in a position to attack the green from the fairway. Our mind plays these little games when we are deciding how high we are about to tee up the ball.

Where you want the ball to go — and how you can get it there within your golfing limits — is the first thing to consider. Your skills, swing, and swing path must be taken into account as well. As we walk toward the tee box and see the hole layout, we start to ask ourselves the questions that will give us an idea of what shot we want ...

  • Do I want to maximize my carry to carry the water?
  • Is this hole asking for a tight draw or a cut to avoid bunkers?
  • Is this a hole where I should focus on accuracy?
  • Do I want a runner that is going to use the downhill slope to run extra yards?

When you are pushing that tee into the tee box, having a clear idea of the shot you want is going to help you. Less improvisation, more planning. The answers to these questions will now help you decide what tee height could be the best to pull off the perfect drive for you on each hole.

When Should You Tee the Golf Ball at the Standard Height?

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You'll hear most golfers tell you the standard is that you want roughly half of the ball above the clubface of the driver so that the middle of the ball is in line with the crown of the club. With the ball positioned right in line with our front heel, ideally, we want a drive with a high launch that has low spin, with the point of impact being just around the center of that sweet spot. We want our club path to be in an upward swing movement so we can be striking the ball on the way up. That way, we can maximize our distance. With these swing conditions, we can make sure we're not only maximizing our carry but we can also get our golf ball to roll out a decent amount, too, depending on the course conditions.

This tee height is where we are probably going to have the most success finding the center of the sweet spot right on that clubface. Our percentage of on-center strikes will definitely be a little better at this height. But what if we aren't hitting ideal drives and need help or are simply looking for a different type of drive?

Lower Tee Height

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Now, teeing up low doesn't mean it being right on the turf like with a wedge. Teeing the ball low is when your entire golf ball is teed up within the inside of the clubface of your driver. If our goal is to hit a low drive with a little bit more spin that will work a tight draw and have a lower launch angle, then we're going to want to tee the ball up at this height. You’re going to maximize your rollout with a low tee height, as your launch angle will be lower. Your ball position should be a little bit more in the middle of your stance rather than near your heel when teeing it low.

If you are a golfer who has a steep attack angle and hits down on the ball, or just does it naturally, you are going to want to tee the ball low. Ball strikers who have a pretty high swing speed will also want to try to tee the ball lower than the standard, as your driver will do all of the launch work for you. And if you are one of the lucky ones that loves topping it because you come in too steep, this is your section as well. You want to tee the ball low if your angle of attack is steep, because, with your downswing, you are more receptive to topping the ball if it is at a higher tee height.

Higher Tee Height

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There are many golfers who like to see as much of the golf ball as they can when driving. Teeing a golf ball that is three-quarters and above the crown of the driver is what you would consider a high tee height. If you tee the ball up high, you are probably looking for a higher launch angle and are trying to get your ball up early. Maybe you need to carry over an object like a tree, maybe you need to be sure you are going to clear some water — this could be a good opportunity to use a high tee.

If you are teeing the ball up higher than standard, your swing bath is probably a little too shallow at the moment, and you are probably losing a decent amount of distance. Beginners will sometimes tee up the ball a little too high, as they get the feeling that this will 100% help them avoid contact with the ground. It will help, but there are some other negatives, and our friend "topper" is a big risk here.

Which Shot for What Hole?

As I said before, golf is a very mental game, and how high we tee up the ball also plays with our mind. If we see the ball higher, it gives us more confidence to fully send a drive and jump at it a bit. If teed up lower, our mind will focus more on precision and our mechanics, so that we have a smoother swing. Hey, it's how our mind works — I am just the messenger here!

  • It may be the other way around for you depending on your swing path and mechanics. But, in my golf game, if I tee the ball a little bit higher, my swing path is a little too upward, and on my upswing, my hands naturally come in a little too much and a fade will come into play.
  • When I tee the ball low, my mechanics get me to draw the ball.
  • If you are trying to spin a shot into an exact area of the fairway, keeping a lower launch angle to avoid high objects like branches and such, then a lower tee is the play.
  • Want to maximize carry and really get underneath the ball? Tee it high!
  • On the majority of holes that require a drive, your setup should be at the standard height. Not only will it give you the best chances of getting near the sweet spot of the club, but at this height you are going to be able to maximize your carry and get some great rollouts and have less spin.

Below, you will see a chart that suggests at what height to put your tee depending on the type of shot you are looking to hit.

Low LaunchMid / High Launch High Launch
DrawLow TeeStandard / Low TeeStandard / High Tee
StraightLow / Standard TeeStandard TeeStandard / High Tee
FadeStandard TeeMid / High TeeHigh Tee

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Please take into consideration that the tee heights mentioned above are what works for my swing path, as I have a natural draw. As everyone’s game and swing are unique, your tee height for a low launch draw might be the complete opposite of mine if your natural ball flight is more of a fade.

I hope I helped you figure out which tee height will work for you and that you find success! For additional help with your golf game, please reach out to me or one of my fellow Curated Golf Experts.

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Written by:
Vincenzo Candela, Golf Expert
Vincenzo Candela
Golf Expert
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