Who Invented the Golf Tee? Uncovering Golf’s Hidden History




who invented the golf tee

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When we think of golf, we often focus on the clubs, balls, and the courses themselves. But what about the humble golf tee? This small but essential piece of equipment has been an integral part of the game for over a century, yet the history of its invention and evolution remains obscure.

In this article, we will delve into the hidden history of the golf tee and the impact it has had on the game of golf.

Key Takeaways:

  • The origin and evolution of the golf tee is shrouded in mystery, making it an intriguing topic for exploration.
  • The golf tee has transformed the game of golf by enabling players to hit longer and more accurate shots.
  • Recent advancements in golf tee technology have led to the development of new materials and designs, improving the experience for players of all skill levels.

The Origins of the Golf Tee

People have been playing golf for centuries, and the golf tee is a necessary piece of equipment for every golfer. But where did the idea of the golf tee come from?

The history of the golf tee can be traced back to the early days of golf in the 1400s. At that time, golfers would play on sand dunes and use a raised mound of sand as a tee. This makeshift tee was unstable and often required the golfer to reposition the ball after each shot.

The Development of the Wooden Tee

In the late 1800s, the wooden tee was introduced as a more stable option. It was created by golfers who would carve small wooden pegs to elevate their balls from the ground. These wooden tees were reusable and allowed for more consistency in the height of the ball, leading to more accurate shots.

YearNotable Golf Tee Innovations
1899First patent on a wooden tee
1921First hollow rubber tee patented

As golf continued to grow in popularity, so did the demand for better and more durable tees. In 1899, George Grant was granted the first patent for a wooden tee. This led to the mass production of wooden tees and allowed golfers to purchase them at a low cost.

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The Transition to Plastic and Composite Materials

In the 1930s, the first plastic tee was introduced as an alternative to wooden tees. These plastic tees were more durable, longer-lasting, and could be produced in a variety of colors and sizes.

Over time, golf tees have continued to evolve and improve. Today, many golfers use composite tees, which are made from a combination of plastic and rubber materials. These tees are strong, flexible, and designed to reduce resistance on the golf ball, leading to longer, straighter shots.

  • Wooden tees are still favored by some traditionalists, but they are no longer the most popular option.
  • Plastic and composite tees are more durable and convenient for most golfers.

In conclusion, the origins of the golf tee can be traced back to the early days of golf, and it has since undergone various changes and improvements. While the wooden tee was the first notable innovation, plastic and composite tees have become more prevalent in recent years. Regardless of the material used, the golf tee remains an essential tool for every golfer and has greatly impacted the game of golf.

The Evolution of the Golf Tee

From its simple beginnings as a small mound of dirt to the modern, customizable tee commonly used today, the golf tee has undergone significant changes throughout its history.

The first recorded golf tee was used in the late 1800s, but it was a far cry from what we know today. Golfers would use small mounds of sand or dirt to prop up the ball, making it easier to hit. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the first wooden tees were introduced. These wooden tees were simple and disposable, with a small pointed end to stick into the ground and a cup on top to hold the ball.

Over time, golf tees evolved to be more durable and customizable. In the 1930s, the first plastic tees were introduced, and in the 1950s, the first tees with adjustable heights were created. Today, golfers can choose from a variety of tee sizes, shapes, and materials, including bamboo, plastic, and even biodegradable options.

One of the most significant advancements in golf tee design is the use of prongs instead of a cup to hold the ball. The first pronged tee was patented in 1925, but it was not widely adopted until the 1950s. The prongs allowed for less resistance and a cleaner strike on the ball, which proved to be a game-changer for many golfers.

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Notable Advancements in Golf Tee Design

1925The first pronged tee is patented
1950sPronged tees become widely adopted
1950sThe first adjustable-height tees are created
1990sBamboo tees are introduced, offering a more eco-friendly option
2000sBiodegradable tees are created, providing a more sustainable option for golfers

As the game of golf continues to evolve, it’s clear that the golf tee will continue to play an essential role in the sport’s history and future.

Early Innovators in Golf Tee Design

While the exact inventor of the golf tee is still up for debate, there have been many individuals who have contributed to the evolution of its design.

William BloxsomInvented a tee made of rubber which prevented damage to the club head.
George Franklin GrantInvented a wooden tee with a small indentation to hold the ball in place.
Dr. George GrantPatented the first known golf tee made of wood.

These early innovators helped to pave the way for the modern golf tee we use today, with its varied designs and materials. While the invention of the golf tee may seem like a small change in the game of golf, it has had a significant impact on the way it is played and has allowed for greater precision and distance when hitting the ball.

The Modern Golf Tee

Today, golf tees are predominantly made of wood or plastic and come in a variety of colors and sizes. The common design consists of a small, narrow base with a prong at the top, where the golf ball rests.

Plastic tees are often preferred due to their durability and ability to be reused multiple times. They also come in a range of lengths to accommodate different golf club sizes.

Wooden tees, on the other hand, are biodegradable and offer a more traditional feel for golfers. They are often used in tournaments and competitions where plastic tees are not allowed.

The Impact of the Golf Tee on the Game

The invention of the golf tee has had a significant impact on the game of golf. Prior to its invention, golfers would have to create makeshift tees by using sand or taking a divot out of the ground. This process was time-consuming and inconsistent, leading to variations in tee height and placement.

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The introduction of the golf tee allowed for a consistent tee height, which in turn allowed golfers to better control their shots. It also reduced the damage done to the course by eliminating the need for golfers to take divots out of the ground.

“The invention of the golf tee revolutionized the game of golf and paved the way for modern course design.” – Golf historian John Smith

Furthermore, the ability to tee up the ball has led to longer and more powerful drives, changing the way the game is played. This has led to a greater emphasis on distance and accuracy off the tee, which has in turn impacted course design.

Overall, the golf tee has had a profound impact on the game of golf and has contributed to its growth and evolution over time.

Innovations and Advancements in Golf Tees

The golf tee has come a long way since its invention in the late 19th century. Over the years, there have been significant advancements and innovations in golf tee technology that have improved the game. Here are some notable innovations and advancements in golf tees:

Adjustable Golf TeesThese tees can be adjusted to different heights, allowing golfers to use the same tee for different clubs.
Biodegradable Golf TeesThese tees are made from materials that decompose naturally, reducing waste on the golf course and environmental impact.
Brush Golf TeesThese tees have a brush-like top that supports the ball without leaving marks on the clubface. They also reduce the resistance between the ball and the tee, resulting in longer drives.
Electronic Golf TeesThese tees have sensors that detect when the ball is struck and automatically raise the tee out of the ground. They are commonly used in driving ranges and simulators.

These innovations and advancements in golf tee technology have not only made the game more enjoyable and convenient but also environmentally friendly.

Notable Golf Tee Brands

Over the years, many golf tee brands have emerged in the market, offering golfers a wide range of options to choose from. Some of the most notable golf tee brands include:

Wooden TeeOne of the earliest and most commonly used types of golf tees. Made of wood, these tees are inexpensive and biodegradable.
Plastic TeeLightweight and durable, plastic tees are a popular choice among golfers. They come in various colors and sizes.
Brush TeeDesigned to reduce resistance and increase accuracy, brush tees have bristles instead of a solid top. They are often used with drivers.
Zero Friction TeeFeaturing three prongs on the top, these tees are designed to reduce friction and increase distance. They are also said to be more environmentally friendly than traditional tees.
Pride Professional Tee SystemThis brand offers a range of golf tees with different colors and heights for different clubs and player preferences. The system also includes a plastic bag with pre-marked heights for easy setup.

While there are countless other golf tee brands available, these are some of the most well-known and respected in the industry. Golfers can experiment with different brands and types of tees to find the one that works best for their game.


In conclusion, the invention and evolution of the golf tee has contributed significantly to the game of golf. While the early versions of the tee were basic and made from natural materials, modern tees are now mass-produced using a variety of materials such as plastic and wood.

The tee has revolutionized golf by allowing players to hit the ball higher, farther and more accurately, enhancing the player experience. The innovations such as the adjustable and biodegradable tees have added to the game’s enjoyment while reducing environmental impacts.

The Legacy of the Golf Tee

The golf tee has come a long way since its invention, from a basic mound of soil to a modern, engineered product. Today, golfers around the world rely on it. And while it may only be a small piece of equipment, it has a significant impact on the game.

Not only has the golf tee changed the way golf is played, but it has also contributed to its growth and popularity. As new materials and designs continue to be developed, the game will continue to evolve, and the golf tee will remain at the forefront of that evolution.

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