On this Day:
In 1899, George F Bryant of Boston patented the wooden golf tee. Ahh but it appears that golfers had been miffing their tee shots for much longer than this…
In golf, a tee is normally used for the first stroke of each hole. The area from which this first stroke is hit is in the rules known as the teeing ground. Normally, teeing the ball is allowed only on the first shot of a hole, called the tee shot, and is illegal for any other shot; however, local or seasonal rules may allow or require teeing for other shots as well, e.g., under “winter rules” to protect the turf when it is unusually vulnerable. Teeing gives a considerable advantage for drive shots, so it is normally done whenever allowed. However, players may elect to play their tee shots without a tee. This typically gives the shot a lower trajectory.
A standard golf tee is 2.125″ (two and one eighth inches = 5.4 cm) long, but both longer and shorter tees are permitted. Ordinary tees can be made from wood or from durable plastic. There are also many biodegradable and recyclable golf tees that diminish the number of trees cut down to manufacture the tees and allow golf courses to lower costs by not having to deal with the broken wooden tees on their courses.
According to the R&A and USGA rules of golf, for a tee to be legal, “It must not be longer than 4 inches (101.6 mm) and it must not be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate the line of play or influence the movement of the ball.”
The development of the tee was the last major change to the rules of golf. Before this, golf balls were teed up on little heaps of sand that were provided in boxes. This explains the historical name tee boxes for what is today known as teeing ground.
The earliest golf tees rested flat on the ground and had a raised portion to prop up the ball. The first patent for this kind of tee is dated 1889, and was issued to Scotsmen William Bloxsom and Arthur Douglas. The first known tee to pierce the ground was a rubber-topped peg sold commercially as the “Perfectum.” This was patented in 1892 by Percy Ellis of England. In 1899, an African-American dentist, Dr. George Franklin Grant, obtained a patent for an “improved golf tee”. This tee consisted of a wood cone with a rubber sleeve to support the ball, but it is not known to have ever been marketed.
These and other variations failed to catch on, as most golfers—whether because of tradition, habit, or concerns about the rules—continued using heaps of sand. It took a strong marketing effort by Dr. William Lowell, Sr. in the 1920s to bring manufactured tees into widespread use. Sales of his “Reddy Tee,” a simple wooden peg with a flared top, took off after Lowell hired professional golfers Walter Hagen and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. to promote the product during exhibition matches. It was copied around the world, and remains the most common type of golf tee (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Golf – the only thing that causes more cheating than income taxes…
Second, a Song:
Thought for the Day:
“To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.” – P. G. Wodehouse
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky