Are There Illegal Golf Tees? Understanding the Rules and Regulations

In the early days of golf, players used sand to lift the ball higher for tee shots or found a piece of ground that is slightly higher than its surroundings.

Advances in technology and additional research led to multiple tees coming onto the market raising the question “are there illegal golf tees.”

What Makes a Golf Tee Illegal?

To avoid any confusion the governing bodies of golf (R&A and USGA) stipulate the exact requirements that make a tee legal. Any deviation from these standards makes the golf tee illegal.

Is There a Limit on Tee Height in Golf?

Yes, the governing bodies limited the maximum height of a golf tee to 4 inches.

📋 Keep in mind: In addition to the height limitation rules also do not allow tees that have an alignment aid to assist the golfer with the alignment towards the target, unduly influence the movement of the ball (anti slice/anti hook tees), or assist the player in making a stroke or in his play are deemed to be illegal and may not be used in competition.

List of Illegal Tees (not a comprehensive list)

  • Tees that can be used as possible alignment tools
    • Zero Friction Tour 3-Prong
    • Champkey Premium 5 Prong Golf Plastic Tees
  • Some of the most used anti-slice tees can unduly influence the trajectory of the ball
    • Zeroyoyo Plastic Professional Golf Anti-Slice Tee
    • RecTeeFier Anti-Slice Tees
    • Gracefulvara
    • Orlimar Anti-Slice Tees

Other Common Illegal Golf Tees Questions

Anti-slice tees are illegal as the main objective of these tees is to prevent the golf ball from slicing thus contravening the rule stipulating that golf tees are not allowed to unduly affect the trajectory of the golf ball.

All four types of tees produced by Martini Tees have undergone evaluation by both governing bodies (R&A and USGA) who confirmed that they conform to the rules of golf and can be used in tournament play.

Brush tees aid golfers in teeing the ball at a consistent height thus helping them to have more consistency in their strikes and longer shots. It does not unduly influence the direction of the ball nor does it assist the player in making a stroke or in his play.

However, there is no rule in place by either golfing governing body that prevents golfers from employing any tool to produce consistency of tee height.

Therefore, brush tees are deemed to be legal provided that it remains within the length limit of 4 inches.

You may have encountered rubber tees when playing on the hitting mat at the driving range.

These tees may not be easy to push down into the turf but are quite easy to place on the ground.

No rule excludes rubber tees from being used during competition provided it remains within the legal height of 4 inches.

Step tees aid the golfer in pushing the ball into the turf and provide consistency in the height of the golf ball.

This can help you to be more consistent having the ball teed at exactly the same height every time.

These tees are legal for use in competition, or any round used to calculate your handicap.

Zeroyoyo golf tees are aimed at countering a slice of your clubface thus making them illegal for use in competition and handicap golf.


What are the rules for golf tees?

Golf tees must not exceed four inches in length and must not be designed to influence the movement of the ball. They can only be used to start a hole and must be placed in the ground within the teeing area. Players can use tees of any size or shape, as long as it conforms to the USGA and R&A rules.

Why do pro golfers not use plastic tees?

Pro golfers do not use plastic tees because they prefer wooden tees that provide consistent performance and a better feel. Wooden tees can also be adjusted to different heights, whereas plastic tees can break or bend easily, affecting the golfer’s shot. Additionally, wooden tees are biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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