Wooden Golf Tees Vs Plastic Golf Tees – Which Are Better For Your Game?

Golf is not an easy game and you should take every legal opportunity that presents itself to make the game easier. While most golfers pay a lot of attention to their clubs, golf balls, and other equipment, many give little thought to the all-important golf tees. Good tees will help you make better contact with the ball.

There is always a risk of a slight mishit when the golf ball is on the turf. Lifting it slightly with a tee increases the chance that you will create pure contact between clubface and a golf ball. However, you have to compare wooden golf tees vs plastic golf tees to determine which is better for your performance overall on your rounds.

The first thing most people will think of when discussing wooden vs plastic tees is how durable they are and how wooden tees tend to break a lot more but there is more to the discussion than just this.

Even professional golfers take every opportunity to tee the ball up.

Variety of golf tees

Golf tees come in a variety of materials all with pros and cons. I prefer the wood or bamboo tees as they are more environmentally friendly and if you strike your drives purely on the upswing, they can last as long as some plastic tees.

The most commonly used materials are:

  • Wood
  • Bamboo
  • Plastic
  • Rubber

The most commonly used styles are:

  • Standard
  • Anti-Slice
  • Brush
  • Zero Friction

Why use plastic tees?

Plastic golf tees are similar in shape and length to tees manufactured from other materials.

There is less friction at impact with the ball on a plastic tee than a wooden tee and they come with zero friction versions. Zero friction plastic tees support the ball on top of prongs reducing the resistance offered by the tee.

A major benefit that plastic tees have is that they are much more flexible and durable than wooden tees. It is nearly impossible to break a plastic tee as they tend to bend rather than break.

Reasons to avoid plastic tees

Although exceptionally durable and nearly unbreakable, plastic tees tend to bend and become more difficult to press into hard turf.

Plastic tees take decades to break down. As a result, the environment suffers more from plastic tees lying around than biodegradable tees.

Why use wooden tees?

Wooden tees are much more eco-friendly as they are biodegradable.

The strength of a wooden tee far exceeds that of a plastic tee. It will only break if the turf is extremely hard or when you are slightly off-center when forcing it into the hard turf.

Financially wooden tees make more sense as they are relatively inexpensive compared to plastic tees.

Reasons to avoid wooden tees

The natural wood grain color of wood tees tends to blend into the background and thus makes it more difficult to find on grass especially in dry conditions.

Wooden tees are more inclined to break when forced into hard turf.

Colorful tees tend to leave colorful marks on your driver and irons when contact is made.

Does size matter?

There are rules that tees may not exceed the maximum length of 4 inches. Tees frequently come between 2 ¼ inches and 4 inches with 2 ¾ inches being the most popular length.

The length of the tee is closely related to your swing and golfers with a shallower swing will prefer shorter tees for their drivers.

A higher ball position will aid you in hitting it on the upswing and create a higher and longer ball flight.

Ultimately the length of the tee must suit your swing style and personal preference.

Will my ball travel farther off an elevated tee?

Teeing the ball low creates a low and penetrating ball trajectory resulting in a substantial distance loss unless you are playing on a links type course where you get loads of rollout.

A good height will enable contact to be made after the bottom of the swing while on the up. This will produce contact between the upper face of the driver and the ball creating less spin and a higher apex for more distance.

Balls that are teed up too high could result in the lower end of the clubface contacting the lower half of the ball creating a high spin rate. This will cause much higher spin and results in a loss of distance.

Why can’t I get it in the air?

There are multiple reasons for your drive to stay low and not all of the causes can be attributed to the tee.

Swing speeds below 90 miles per hour generally do not create the required compression in the golf ball and clubface resulting in low backspin and a low ball trajectory.

Teeing the ball too low causes contact to be at the bottom end of your swing thus keeping the ball low.

The best position when hitting a driver is to place the ball on the inside of your leading foot. If you place the ball too far back in your stance you will create contact at the incorrect position in your swing keeping the ball low.

Height on an iron shot

A major advantage of teeing the ball up for your irons is that it reduces the chances of grass getting between the golf ball and the clubface.

Teeing it up will prevent an imperfect lie and create better shots. You want to ensure that you do not tee up too high for iron shots.

Professionals and the tee height

The size of the tees in use by professionals varies depending on their swing speed and style.

Wooden tees are the preferred option for professional golfers, and you will find a box of tees at the first hole in every PGA Tour event. The wooden tee remains the preferred tee unless a professional golfer is contracted to specific brands that supply plastic tees.

What is best for me?

The tee selection is very dependent on your preference and swing plane. It is important that you feel comfortable and confident when addressing the ball.

Whatever tee you decide on, remember that it remains your responsibility to keep the golf course clean by picking up your tee whether it is in one piece or broken.

The right size for me

The most frequently used golf tees are the 2 ¾ inch, 3 ¼ inch, and 4 inches but there are shorter tees available such as the 1 ½ and 2 1/8 inches.

Drivers require extra height and the lengths most often used are the 3 ¼ inch and 4-inch tees. Drivers with large heads benefit most from the higher tees.

Fairway woods, hybrids, and irons do not require much extra height and only needs to be positioned above the grass to prevent blades of grass getting trapped between the golf ball and the clubface.

Breaking golf tees

Golf tees tend to break when there is direct contact between the clubface and the tee.

If your driver swing is too steep resulting in the clubface making contact with the ball on your downswing or the bottom part of the arc you could well break a tee.

If you hit the ball on your upswing it will sweep the ball off the tee and leave the tee in the ground.

Unbreakable golf tees

It is unlikely that you will come across an unbreakable tee, but some are remarkably close. Wooden tees are prone to breaking but the plastic tees are close due them bending rather than breaking. If you bend them too often, they will still break.

The brush tee is probably the closest that you will get to an unbreakable tee as you will only break it if you hit your driver into the ground at the point where the tee is pushed into the turf. The brushes may wear out, but the plastic will remain intact.

Legal tees

To conform with the regulations golf tees must:

  • Not exceed 4 inches in length
  • Not indicate the line of play
  • Unduly influence the trajectory of the ball or aid the player in making a stroke or in his play
  • Prevent the ball from slicing or hooking

The tee that does not conform to the points above will be deemed to be illegal and can result in your disqualification in tournaments or competition.

Anti-slice tee

As discussed earlier the rules regulating tees do not allow for the tee to prevent the ball from hooking or slicing. This has not stopped manufacturers from designing and producing such a tee.

Some tees counter the slice to an extent. This is a standard tee featuring a cup at the back of the ball that reduces sidespin when contact is made.

Zero friction golf tees

To reduce friction the space that the ball occupies on top of the tee had to be reduced. This was achieved by adding between 3 and 6 columns allowing the ball to have minimum contact with the head of the tee.

The reduced contact area creates less friction for more distance.

Martini tee

The Martini tees conform to the USGA Rules of Golf making it legal for tournaments and competitions. They are manufactured from a polymer blend and are nearly indestructible and certain to outlast wooden tees.

The design is efficient, and the Martini Step-up tees have a large cup design that is tilted towards the target thus reducing resistance by up to 20% at impact. Independent laboratory tests have verified the claim of straighter and longer ball flight when compared to wooden tees.

The design of the Martini tees will not cause any damage to the base of your golf clubs.

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Green Keeprs 4 More Yards golf tees

4 More Yards tees is a plastic tee and an elastomer crown with 6 prongs for more flex at impact creating less friction.  This results in more accurate drives adding “4 Yards More” to your distance. The claim for the extra yards has been proven by the use of robotic swing arms.

The materials used in the fabrication combined with the flexible design enables the manufacturer to guarantee a minimum of 100 shots off the tee without breaking.

The design of the top of the tee will ensure that the ball is unlikely to move in windy conditions.

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Castle tees


Castle tees are manufactured from top quality plastic and are available in different lengths and colors creating a stepped range of tees. The range of bright colors makes the tees highly visible as they contrast grass.

The stepped design ensures consistent tee height on each use.

They are available in 7 different colors that identify the length of each tee. The golf tees are available in:

  • 1” Orange
  • 22” Red
  • 45” Blue
  • 69” Yellow
  • 2” White
  • 36” Pink
  • 75” Silver

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Best plastic tees on Amazon 

Zero Friction Tour 3-Prong golf tees are manufactured using bio-composite materials and provide superior performance with 3 prongs on top of a traditional-looking tee.

There are less contact and resistance with your driver resulting in more distance off the tee. The manufacturer claims that their tees have been used in 70 professional tour victories and more than 370 top-ten finishes.

Although not designed to specifically indicate the line to the target as that would make the tee illegal, you can point one prong facing the target.

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Best wooden tees on Amazon

Pride PTS (Professional Tee System) is a proprietary color-coded tee system that is available in both wooden as well as plastic.

Lengths are indicated by the color of the rings around the bottom end of the tee. The rings are spaced and enable you to push the tee the same distance into the turf every time for more consistent height and contact.

There are 5 standard lengths with 3 lengths aimed at drivers, the fourth at fairway woods and long irons and the fifth are aimed at hybrids and the shorter clubs. The lengths are:

  • 4-inch is suited to drivers with the large 460 cc heads
  • 2¼-inch suited to medium-sized drivers in the 400-cc range
  • 2¾-inch suited to small-headed drivers
  • 2¼-inch suited to fairway woods, hybrids, and longer irons
  • 1½-inch suited to hybrids and irons

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Best Tees For Beginners

CHAMP Zarma FLY plastic golf tees are extremely efficient and well-rounded tees and are the best for the tee smashers and are available in a variety of colors.

There are 6 prongs on top of the head to make balancing the ball straightforward.

The prongs reduce friction for increased distance and accuracy.

They are eco-friendly and extremely durable that is why best for tee smashers.

For a great summary of the type of tees and more detail on some of the tees discussed please view this video on YouTube.

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Importance of golf tees

Many golfers ask whether golf tees are really necessary, especially when hitting an iron.

When using a driver off the tee it is imperative to tee the ball up as you will be making contact with the golf ball while the clubface is in the upswing phase. This action will increase the height and distance that you can achieve.

On shorter holes, you may be using an iron from the tee box and a raised ball position enhances the chances of a clean strike and minimizes the chance of a thin or fat strike.



Golfers often neglect researching some of the lesser parts of their golf equipment such as the tee. Give them some thought as they are a critical aspect of your all-important tee shots.

Tees come in different shapes and sizes to suit every swing type and swing plane. You have to ensure that you select the tee best suited to your style and preferences. Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of golf tees, how they should be used, and the options available, take the time to invest in the best tees for your game.