So I think I’ve figured out how to solve the distance problem

Ok, so help me workshop this take a bit. I want it to be a column, but I’m inclined to crowdsource it here first because you’re all smart and we’re all family. Consider it the first ever potential ESPN column written in The Nest.


It’s obvious golf needs to do something about how far the ball goes, primarily off the tee. As we saw at Medinah, long means almost nothing if it’s soft. Someone nuking a 340-yard drive isn’t even impressive anymore. It’s standard. And the problem with rolling back the ball or the club is equipment companies are going to sue the bejesus out of the USGA if they do it, claiming their intellectual property and the millions (billions?) they’ve spent on R&D is going to be stolen from them. We’ve all heard the rumors about how equipment company have strong-armed places like The Golf Channel and various golf mags into backing away from calls for a rollback. So I think I’ve figured out a way to thread the needle.

Limit the height of tees.

One of the main reasons the ball goes so far is guys figured out with Trackman that hitting up on it was the best way to optimize distance. Just tee it forward and hit up on it, it’s going to go 300 yards. Even marginally-talented guys can do it.

Well, if you limit the height of tees, it’s going to shave a ton of distance off those drives.

Who is going to object? The wooden tee lobby? It would be like lowering the pitching mound. It’s within the rights of the governing body to say: These are the tees you must use, go ahead and bitch if you like, use what clubs you want, but these are the tees you have to use.

Sure, it’s not going to affect the forgiveness of the club. You will still be able to kill it and it won’t spin. But it won’t go as far. And yes players will throw tantrums and clubmakers may whine because drivers are optimized to hit up on the ball. But they’ll be forced to adjust. You simply won’t be able to carry some bunkers if you can’t launch it and have to sweep it or hit down on it. There will be some instances where it’s preferable to hit 3-wood off the tee if you can’t nuke it. And ams don’t hit up on the call much anyway, so it’s hardly going to affect them much. Beside they don’t have to use pro length tees and can still use pro equipment. Everyone is happy.

I may have found a way to King Solomon the issue.

Tell me I’m wrong.


EDIT: To clarify for the latecomers here, we are only talking about professional golf. PGA, EURO, KF, etc.


Reducing tee height pulls in some weird factors like differences turf firmness (the firmer the less a tee needs to go into the ground), grass height, and also opens up the need for equipment to adjust.

However, you could just eliminate the use of tee altogether…


It’s an interesting thought. Certainly seems like a creative way to potentially get around the equipment companies lawsuits. Do you have any idea for a proposed tee height? Do you happen to have any idea how far a typical tee sicks up above the ground on the PGA Tour? It seems like you’d need some language about how far the tee could stick out of the ground, not just total tee length.

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I would love to see it tested and see the data of short tee vs regular tee. I could see the manufacturers respond by moving the sweet spots lower in the face though.

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You’re an absolute mad man, and I like the way you think. I got driver yips a few years back and the only way I could hit a decent shot off the deck.


Players could make dirt tees, like Laura Davies occasionally does. I think?


Interesting way to look at it that can go unnoticed with talk about ball and club.

Let’s say that they reduce tee height, wouldn’t club manufactures just up the loft on players drivers? I’d like to see the numbers from a higher lofted driver and shorter tee height and compare that to lower loft driver and high tee height.

Everyone writes this like it’s an obvious fact. It’s a misguided opinion at best.


@KVV hits a chord with this idea. There was an old hustler/bookie at the course where I grew up named Bernie. He went to jail for a while. Great guy. Anyways, Bernie would use a golf pencil to tee his ball and he murdered it.

Let’s say you limit tee height to 1.5" down from the 4" currently allowed. Sales of 12.5 degree 3-woods would go up 10x.

@Even_Parker needs to be involved here. Nobody knows the rules like him.

I feel like someone else introduced this take a few months back… Was it Andy Johnson or ZB? I don’t remember where I heard it, but I know it was being discussed. Would love to read a column on it though!

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Alright, so I kinda like this take, but some of the pros can still hit driver (or 3W) damn far off the deck.

I guess… well, it definitely makes trying to smash it off the tee higher risk.

A real question and not at all disagreeing or picking a fight: Misguided in what way?

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And a few years before that, and a few years before that.


Here’s the problem, @KVV. Guys would “Davies” the tee box, then stick their now-restricted tees into that.

Bada boom.

So, you’d have to make some rules surrounding what you can and can’t do to a tee box as well for this to work.

All in on no tees. Drivers off the deck!

Also why does everyone just skate over the whole 460cc driver size thing - which is the most obvious issue? People too invested or attached to their own drivers? Shrink those heads down!

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More loft means more spin. More spin for a high swing speed player usually means shorter shots but more controlled shots. At higher speed swings you are looking at roughly 300 rps per degree of loft added all other things equal.


Why is it obvious that something needs to be done regarding how far the ball goes?

Are ratings or tournament attendance down in professional golf? Are people not tuning in or going to events because people are driving it too far?

Are people people quitting golf because the ball goes too far or not picking up the game because of this?

Or are we just upset that Merion can’t host a US Open every 10 years or that that members of Augusta are spending their own money on lengthening the course?


Good luck getting the dominant sponsors I mean, OEMs to agree to rolling back any technology.

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Because ‘golf’ doesn’t need to do anything. Golf is 25 million people in the US. It’s almost 100 million people in the world. Tens of thousands of courses across the planet.

How many of those golfers and how many of those golf courses have a “problem”? Does Cullen (as seen in TS #2) have a problem? Does Sweetens?

Pro golf maybe does. Elite clubs that think they need to host a tourney do. So let them worry about it. Leave the rest of the world out of it.


Me thinks there would be a surge of 10 degree “3 Woods”