History of the Tee
The word “Tee” originally came from the sport of curling. The tee in the beginning of golf was originally a small pile of sand that the golfer would make on the green.
Back then most all golf courses you would tee off of the putting green for the next hole. Sand was kept in boxes nearby in order to make the tees. Before tee boxes came out most golf courses required you to scoop sand out of the bottom of the hole. Imagine what this used to do to the holes. Then came the non-pile of sand tee.
The first was patented in 1889 by two Scotsmen. It consisted of a rubber plate that would sit on top of the ground with a seat for the ball similar to what a driving range uses nowadays. Many tees that followed were made with rubber tips and some sort of spike to anchor the tee. The first of these types of tees were called the “Perfectum” tee. Some of the early tees were made out of cynically rolled paper. It wasn’t until 1922 that someone patented the tee we know nowadays.
By the official rule in golf a tee is:
“A ‘tee’ is a device designed to raise the ball off the ground. It must not be longer than 4 inches (101.6 mm), and it must not be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate the line of play or influence the movement of the ball.”
Rule 11 deals with the tees themselves. It states a tee must not be the following:
• “be longer than 4 inches (101.6 mm)”
• “be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate line of play”
• “be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate” or
• “otherwise assist the player in making a stroke or in his play”
The wooden tees that are used nowadays are extremely similar to the tees from the 1920’s. now that we know a little more about the tee, we can understand why not much has changed in the tee department lately.