Plastic Vs. Wooden Tees: What Works Best

If you talk golf with another golfer and the conversation turns to wooden tees versus plastic tees, most players will probably die inside due to boredom. It’s not the most exciting topic but it is worth a consideration when you buy tees.

Wooden tees come in different sizes and colors and are robust, meaning they don’t bend easily; however, they do tend to snap in dry weather and if you hit them hard enough. Plastic tees are more durable (last longer), come in zero-friction styles, in various colors and sizes but are more expensive than wooden tees.

In a nutshell, plastic tees are more durable and come in zero-friction, while wooden tees are more robust and less expensive.

Choosing the right one for your game will come down to personal choice, affordability and playing style.

Let’s briefly discuss golf tees and their history in golf.

Then let’s look at the various types of tees and the materials that they can be made of, and finally, let’s discuss which one is better if any.

picture of a golf ball on a tee

Golf Tee Overview And History

Before tees were invented, golf balls were teed up on little heaps of sand. This sand was provided in boxes, and this is how the historical name tee boxes came into existence and explains why the teeing ground today is so aptly named. 

In golf rules, tees are used and only allowed for the first stroke of each hole. As stated, the area from which the first stroke is hit is known as the teeing grounds. The stroke (shot) that is taken from the teeing ground is also known as the tee shot.

One thing to note, depending on the local or seasonal rules of a club, you may be allowed to use a tee under specific situations. For example, under the ‘local rules’ of a club, you may be asked to use a tee, or mate, to protect the turf on the fairway due to the fact that it is unusually vulnerable and would easily be damaged.

Why All The Fuss About Golf Tees

Golf is not an easy game and if you think it is, then check out my article on This Is Why Golf Is One Of The Hardest Sports, and you will understand why some people love the game and some love to hate it.

With that being said, many players focus on their golf clubs, their golf balls, and other equipment without ever really considering how important a golf tee can be and how it can impact your game.

As we said, it is used for the first shot on every hole, and a good tee and good technique means that you will create better contact with the ball resulting in a better shot (the pinnacle of what a golfer strives to do).

When the ball is on the turf, there is always room for error. The tee lifts it ever so slightly, and with this, it increases your chance that you will create pure contact with the ball.

However, playing styles vary, and so do golf tees, and the question is which one will improve your game because essentially, that is what a golfer aims to do.

What Materials Are Golf Tees Made Out Of

Even though we are discussing wooden tees and plastic tees, some tees are made from other materials, such as:

  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Bamboo
  • Rubber
picture of plastic golf tees

What Types Of Golf Tees Are There

We will list the most common styles of tees available, so if you are new to golf, you can review each one yourself and decide which is best suited for you.

One thing to note is that even though tees provide an advantage, the golf associations (and there are many worldwide) will never let a tee impact the quality of the game. This means they will never allow a manufacturer to create a tee that provides a more significant advantage over another

Tee manufacturers may say they have better features, functionality, and advantages; however, it will boil down to your playing style and personal preference.

The most common styles of tees are;

  • Zero friction
  • Anti-slice
  • Brush
  • Standard

Plastic v Wooden Tees

Plastic Tees

One of the main advantages and the draw many players to use a plastic tee is that it is durable. Much more so than a wooden tee because it doesn’t snap (or rather, it ever rarely snaps), it will usually just bend if there was a lot of force applied to it.

Due to them being more durable and not snapping at every shot, they also last much longer than wooden tees.

Furthermore, plastic tees come in the style of zero-friction tees (as we mentioned above). These types of tees have three prongs on top of the tee to support the ball.

This design allows for the tee to have less contact with the ball, which creates less friction from the ball coming off the tee when it is hit.

They come in multiple colors, even crazy colors like luminous pink or yellow. This makes it easy to spot on the grass. In addition to coming in various colors, they also, as with wooden tees, come in different sizes (height sizes).

One thing to note is that plastic tees do have a few drawbacks, they are less eco-friendly and are not biodegradable, although they do last longer than wooden tees which can snap.

They can easily bend or get out of shape and you may find yourself taking more time trying to bend it back into position than actually using it.

picture of wooden golf tees

Wooden Tees

Most players prefer wooden tees, as you will see from this poll.

There are, as with plastic tees, advantages and disadvantages. Some benefits include them being eco-friendly and biodegradable.

Furthermore, a wooden tee is exceptionally robust and will not break or bend under hard ground pressure but only when you hit it with your driver. 

Wooden golf tees also come in different sizes and colors, so you can find them easier on the grass, and you can choose the correct height for your play style.

Two downsides of wooden tees are that they can easily snap, especially in dry weather and that if they are colored, then sometimes the color will rub off on your driver’s face when it is struck.

Some players do not like this because they need then to wipe their driver’s face after every tee off and the marks don’t always come off.

Characteristics To Look For In A Golf Tee

Understanding that it comes down to the preference of the player in terms of which tee they prefer to use, and perhaps one is not better than the other, only different.

Lastly, if you don’t know what tee you should choose, then for the most part, you should just consider these three factors.

Affordability

Choose a golf tee you can afford, and you will not be n dismay if it bends or snaps.

Height

Choose a golf tee that is the correct height for your play style.

Playing Style

Choose to play with a tee that suits your play style, and you feel comfortable using it.

Conclusion

Golf tees have been around for over 100 years, and they create the perfect lie for every tee shot.

You get many varieties of tees made from various materials, and we compared wooden and plastic tees. In a nutshell, plastic tees are more durable and come in zero-friction, while wooden tees are more robust and less expensive.

In the end, it will boil down to the playing style, affordability, and height of the golf tee in terms of which one you should opt to play with.

Sources

Ball On Tee Photo by Macau Photo Agency
Wooden Tees Photo by Cristina Anne Costello
Plastic Golf Tees Photo by Kindel Media