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tmac20

Don't use a tee from 160 yards and in on a par 3?

30 posts in this topic

I'm reading Mark Broadie's Every Shot Counts and found something interesting. On the PGA tour, the average strokes to hole out from 160 yards and in is less from the fairway than it is from the tee. The data looks like this:

Table 5.2

Distance(yards) Tee Fairway
100 2.92 2.80
120 2.99 2.85
140 2.97 2.91
160 2.99 2.98

What could explain this data? Is it beneficial to not use a tee from 160 yards and in on par 3's? Or is it because par 3's that are less than 160 yards on the PGA tour have harder greens and more hazards than the average hole?

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First, I believe Par 3's are harder because the only defense is to protect the green. So I think most of the time on par 4's and Par 5's you will find the green less protected, with an easier shot.

Also, you are talking about 0.12 to 0.01 strokes gained. That is marginal at best. I wouldn't be concerned that much.

I think some PGA tour players tee up the ball, and others don't as well. So, it isn't a clear case of one versus the other. Though I think majority due tee up the ball.

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First, I believe Par 3's are harder because the only defense is to protect the green. So I think most of the time on par 4's and Par 5's you will find the green less protected, with an easier shot.

This. I'd expect most par-3's to be designed to be tougher overall than the equivalent distance approach shot on a par-4 or Par-5.....

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I recall hearing Jack Nicklaus say one time that you should get the ball up off the ground every time you're allowed that option, with no exceptions.

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For PGA tour players, they still benefit at every distance from teeing up. However, I'd imagine that the average amateur would benefit more than the tour player, especially since it lets you get away with a flip to some extent as well as hitting it slightly farther and higher; tour players don't struggle hitting their irons off the deck but most amateurs do to some extent. For me, I always tee it up at least a little bit.

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Similar to what @ditchparrot19 said, but I heard Arnold Palmer, on play lessons from the pros I think ... his dad told him to never miss an opportunity to put the ball on a peg ... I have never forgot that ...

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Exactly- you are getting an absolutely perfect lie with a tee. You take advantage of what the rules allow.
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How high up are you teeing the ball when hitting an iron shot, though?

I usually put the tee as low as I can where the ball is sitting on it because I figure that I won't have to change my swing that way.

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I'd say about half a centimeter is how high I tee up an iron shot (just a guess since I've never measured it/don't plan to). It's just elevated enough to give me a perfect lie.

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For PGA tour players, they still benefit at every distance from teeing up. However, I'd imagine that the average amateur would benefit more than the tour player, especially since it lets you get away with a flip to some extent as well as hitting it slightly farther and higher; tour players don't struggle hitting their irons off the deck but most amateurs do to some extent. For me, I always tee it up at least a little bit.

Yes, exactly. I don't know how many times I've heard people say, "I can't hit from that tight of a lie I prefer something to fluff my ball up." They flip, so having the ball sitting up is a distinct advantage. As to the OP, I'm in the same camp as @saevel25 and @David in FL . I think the difference is a par 3 is, typically, designed to be a harder approach.

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I recall hearing Jack Nicklaus say one time that you should get the ball up off the ground every time you're allowed that option, with no exceptions.

I read that too, long ago, and have always followed it.

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My par three scores are improving now I tee up. I had the false belief that off the floor was more like most of my iron shots so I put the ball on the ground for continuity.  Completely wrong.  Tee it up but as per some of the other comments, not too high. Usually just off the ground half inch at the most.  once you go high the club doesn't work properly, it's not designed to knock a coconut off a stick. Usually when I play with high handicappers who tee it up an inch or higher they hook it high and lose any distance.

Tee it low for a good strike :-)

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A good rule of thumb, when you address the ball, if you can tell it's elevated it's too high.  From standing it should be hard to tell it's off the floor.

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I always tee it up as well ... with one little exception.  When I play the pitch and putt by my house, I'm not putting anything requiring the use of a sand wedge or lob wedge on a tee.  Mainly because I don't play any courses that have par 3's that short, so I'm getting practice on wedge and pitch shots from the fairway.  But, if I did play a course that had a par 3 short enough that I'd require a SW (say, Pebble Beach #7 with no wind), then I'd probably stick it on a (really really low) tee.

A little birdie once told me that there is another use to teeing up on par 3's.  If you are right in between clubs, you can sort of cheat by teeing it up a pinch high with the longer club, thus taking off a few yards from a good shot, cuz you'll "fat" it a bit.

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Good stuff, folks. I'll definitely tee it up a bit next time I play
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I think the higher the players handicap, the more they should use a tee when ever possible. Professionals if they chose to can get a way from using tees because they are professionals. I think everyone should use a tee when ever possible. It's hard to beat a perfect lie.

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I recall hearing Jack Nicklaus say one time that you should get the ball up off the ground every time you're allowed that option, with no exceptions.


Yes, indeed. Here is the article in Golf Digest with Jack Flick (http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/2012-03/flick-nicklaus-tee-highter)....

Tee The Ball Higher On A Par 3

Give yourself the biggest margin for error as possible

By Jim Flick & Jack Nicklaus
March 2012

JACK NICKLAUS: I've hit some memorable shots on par-3 holes during my career. Two that are special to me are the 1-iron on 17 in the 1972 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach that hit the pin, dropping to within tap-in distance, and the 5-iron on 16 at the '86 Masters that spun down the slope, just missing the cup, finishing three feet away.

Both of those shots contributed to major-championship victories, and each time I was proud of my execution. Before the shot, I spot-lined at my target (using intermediate targets to set my aim) and stuck to my routine. That includes finding a level place on the teeing ground so my stance is comfortable--I don't want to stand on the edge of a divot or even a gradual sideslope. And I tee the ball a little higher than most players do.

I always felt that air had less resistance than dirt. What puzzles me is when players take a tee, jam it all the way in the ground and then put the ball on top of it. Why is the tee there? You have the opportunity on a par 3 to tee it up, so why not take advantage of that and give yourself the best lie possible. In the fairway, when the ball sits on the ground, you might hit it thin or fat. But if you tee the ball a little higher on a par 3, you can make more of a sweeping swing, and you've just eliminated the two things you don't want to happen.

JIM FLICK: Jack's comments show once again how the mind of a great player works. He leaves no detail to chance. You should adopt the same mind-set on par 3s, where you can choose how and where to tee the ball.

For example, depending on your intended ball flight, one side of the teeing ground is better than the other. Players who draw the ball should tee up on the left of the teeing area and aim at the right side of the green, especially if the hole is cut on the left. That gives you the entire green to work with. Billy Casper, who played a hook later in his career, almost always did this. Lee Trevino did just the opposite because of his left-to-right ball flight. He teed his ball near the right tee marker and aimed at the left side of the green.

Study the wind as well. With an iron approach, you usually want to curve the ball into the wind so it serves as a buffer, helping the ball drop softly onto the putting surface. If the wind is blowing right to left, a fade is usually your better option, and vice versa.

Finally, if you're hitting a hybrid, experiment with your tee height. Hybrids are designed with sole weighting and shallow faces to make it easier to get the ball in the air. Therefore, you might not want to tee the ball as high as you would for an iron.

NICKLAUS writes articles only for Golf Digest.

FLICK , a longtime Golf Digest Teaching Professional and PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer, worked with hundreds of amateurs and tour players including Jack Nicklaus.

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For me I just tee it up enough that it's clear of the grass, but not so much that it's visible at address (causes funky things to happen for me). I've also found that I tend to hit it VERY poorly when I tee up a gap wedge or less, so those I just find the best lie I can and place the ball on the teebox.

If beginners learn to hit the ball from a tee because it's easier, why shouldn't you tee it up whenever you have the opportunity?

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