Should you tee the golf ball up on Par 3s?

To Tee or Not to Tee - that is the question.

I have read in many places that Jack Nicklaus has always believed that teeing the ball up on 3s would give golfers an advantage. By teeing the ball slightly higher off the ground, there should be a reduced chance of hitting it thin or fat as there's less dirt in the way. Who can argue with the great man?

Also according to the popular coach Mike Malaska (see video below), by having the ball on the tee, it will make the resulting ball flight less sensitive to poor "angle of approach", which according to him is one of the hardest elements to control in the golf swing. In other words, by having the ball on the tee, you can hit it a little fat or thin and still product a decent shot.

Yet week in week out, I see club golfers casually drop the ball on the tee box and hit it off the ground on Par 3s. 

So after finding out how poorly I control "angle of approach" after trying out the Acustrike Golf Mat, I was curious to find out whether teeing the ball up on par 3s will result in measurable improvements.

The Test Set Up

Firing up the Skytrak launch monitor, I set a green up at 135m and got hitting with the trusty 7 iron. Here are the details of how I set up the test.

  • Balls hit - 20 with tee and 20 without tee using our Tee Turf mat
  • Distance to centre of green - 135m
  • Dimensions of green - 32m x 27m
  • Ball used - Srixon Z-Star XV, only 1 ball was used for the entire test to eliminate variability from using different golf balls

The Results

In terms of greens hit, the result was a convincing win for teeing the ball up. I was able to hit the green 16 times without a tee and an impressive 19 times with a tee! See screenshots below.

Set 1 - 16/20 greens with no tee

No tee par 3

Set 2 - 19/20 greens with tee

par 3 with tee
So it looks like Jack was definitely right!
Let's try to understand the 'why' behind these result by looking at the ball flight data. I have to say, although the result did not surprise me, some of the differences in ball flight numbers did. See below.
Tee vs No Tee
  • Ball speed - noticeable difference in average ball speed, no doubt from being able to make a cleaner contact with the ball off a tee.
  • Back spin - this impressed me the most, there was a difference of over 700rpm! 
  • Carry distance - tighter front/back dispersion with a tee having a standard deviation of 3.73m vs. 5.44m produced with no tee. That's almost 4m tighter! 
  • Peak height - the ball flew 3m higher with a tee at 23.7m vs. 20.95 without a tee.
  • Roll - with more spin and higher ball flight, the estimated roll also reduced by 1m by teeing the ball up (3.45m vs 2.45m).
The numbers really don't lie, I definitely got much better and more consistent results teeing the ball up. Also keep in mind, this was off a perfectly flat and consistent mat surface. 
In addition to the data, there was a noticeable difference in the sound produced at impact. Whereas impact without the tee had a bit more thump/thud, striking the ball off the tee just sounded clean - much closer to the sound you hear in professional tournaments!


After measuring the differences in ball data with and without a tee, I can confidently say that - unless you make a living from hitting pure golf shots, you will definitely benefit from teeing up your golf ball on Par 3s!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Enjoying our Blogs?