This from the Wall St Journal. The various devices and ideas, old and new, which have been used to support the ball on the tee box. All legal, of course.
A few paras here...
The mighty accessory that props up the game was patented in 1899 by a Harvard-educated African-American dentist; a factory in Maine churns out two million a day.
"It's such a simple thing," said John Spitzer, managing director of equipment standards for the United States Golf Association. "I'm amazed that so many people spend so much time and energy on trying to change it."
The simple thing to which he refers is the humble golf tee, a peg made of wood (or plastic, or compressed cornstarch or similar unrecognizable material) that most of us grab by the handful or buy for a few pennies each, stick in our pockets, and don't give a second thought to.
and read more here
Aside, i do agree with one comment made that one tree that size ought to generate the 30K of wooden pegs, not merely 3K.