Wood Tees Vs. Plastic Tees — Which Should You Choose?

wood tees vs plastic tees and the answer to which are better golf tees

Although often overlooked, the tees are an essential part of golf. Tees are usually used for tee shots with a driver or fairway wood, but can also be a terrific game-improver when used with irons off the tee. 

Since hitting off the turf always risks a miss-hit, teeing up even a 9 iron can be an excellent choice.

But which tees should you pick? In this article, we will find out which of the tee materials are the best, depending on their durability, how it plays, and their environmental impact.

wood tees vs plastic tees and the answer to which are better golf tees

Wood Golf Tees – Pros and Cons

wood tees vs plastic tees and bamboo plus zero friction golfing tees

Undoubtedly the most commonly occurring, wood golf tees have a lot going for them. The first thing that is great about wooden golf tees is their eco-friendliness.

Losing a wood tee somewhere on the golf course isn’t a big deal, as they’re biodegradable. 

Wood tees are very stiff, which is suitable for performance, but not so good for durability. A monster drive can easily break the tee. They can also break when forced into hard turfs – something you’ll frequently face in the summer.

Non-colorful wooden tees can also be hard to find, as they blend in with the ground, leading to wasting a lot of them. On the other hand, colorful ones can leave marks on your iron or driver, but it comes off pretty quickly when cleaning them.


wood tees vs plastic tees for pros and cons of wooden golf tees

Plastic tees are much more durable, and they won’t snap in half. This is nice as you won’t be using up a bunch of tees every round. But they do however have a tendency to bend – something that can be very frustrating out on the golf course.

Unfortunately, they’re not biodegradable, making them problematic out on the course, as they take decades to decompose. But since they don’t break as easily, and usually come in easily found colors, chances are you won’t be leaving them everywhere as you would with a wooden tee.

However, one thing that can make the plastic tees a clear winner is that they come in various design styles like zero friction, which we’ll discuss later in this article.


Which Are Better Golf Tees?

When it comes to choosing the material for your tee, it will come down to personal preference. If you don’t like to search around the tee box after a shot, you should always use a wooden tee, or preferably a bamboo tee, because of its degradability. 

But using plastic tees does have some advantages. They break less easily, meaning that you won’t have to buy new ones all the time. The bright colors they come in also make them easier to find, but the environmental disadvantages are significant, with plastic left in nature causing severe harm.

The design part is also important to factor in, as the zero friction tees might give you some more sought-after distance from the tee. Anti slice tees can make golf more enjoyable, but don’t get too used to them, as they aren’t legal.

The tee’s height is also critical and should be chosen depending on your swing. If you struggle with hitting up on the ball when driving, consider opting for a taller tee, making swinging up on the ball easier. Materials such as bamboo usually have limited design and height choices, making plastic or wood a better choice.

Bamboo Golf Tees – Pros and Cons

Bamboo tees are stronger than wood, making you use less of them out on the course. They’re less likely to break when pushed into hard turf, and they snap less easily.

But when they do snap, there’s at least no environmental issue. Compared to the three years of a standard wooden tee, bamboo tees degrade rapidly and take about six months to start decomposing.

While bamboo may sound more expensive than wood, bamboo tees are actually relatively cheap. However, one downside with them is that they offer limited customizability regarding height, colors, etc. 

Zero Friction Golf Tees – What Are They?

When it comes to picking the right tees, the material is not the only factor to consider. There are many design styles of tees made to improve your game in various ways, and one of those is the zero friction tee.

The zero friction tee uses a much smaller surface area than standard tees by placing the ball on “prongs,” causing less friction between the tee and the golf ball, while still using a traditional and non-distracting design.

Compared to a regular wood tee, the zero friction tee’s drive averaged 255 yards when tested, while the wooden tee averaged 250 yards. A 5-yard distance gain is very impressive, considering the only change was the choice of a tee. 

Unfortunately, they are not legal, but can be used in casual play for the fun of it.

Anti Slice Golf Tees – What Are They?

While not accepted in competitive play, a golfer prone to slicing the ball may benefit significantly from anti slice tees when casually out on the golf course. 

Anti slice tees have a regular tee design but with a flap. Place the ball on the tee and ensure that the curved flap is behind the golf ball. So when aligning to your target, the clubface should point to the flap behind the ball.

Now when you hit the flap instead of the ball directly when swinging, there’s no sidespin put on the ball, which usually causes a slice, and now the ball will go straighter. While not legal in any way, this will certainly make golf more enjoyable, and that’s really what the game is about.

TellMeMoreGolf.com – Frequently Asked Questions

Are plastic tees bad?

Plastic tees have their ups and downs. They offer great customizability, both for design and height, while also being harder to break. However, the tendency to bend can be frustrating, making a wooden tee or similar a better choice. 

They usually come in bright and easily spottable colors, making you lose fewer tees out on the golf course. However, the fact that they’re plastic makes it very bad to leave them in nature, as it takes decades to degrade and can endanger animals. 

Are plastic tees better than wooden ones?

Wooden and plastic tees each come with different strengths, and it’s up to every player to decide which one to pick. Plastic tees are sturdier and won’t break in half but can bend. On the other hand, wooden tees will break easier but usually won’t bend.

Wooden tees are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than plastic, but plastic tees offer greater customizability. Plastic tees can come in a zero friction design, adding yardage to your shots.

Do pros use wood tees?

To many’s surprise, professional golfers usually aren’t very picky about which tees they use. In fact, most of them state that they use whatever tees are offered at the tournament they’re playing at, and those are always wooden tees.

But because tees with game-improvement designs aren’t legal, they can only use standard tees, making designs like zero friction tees unusable even though they might benefit them.

Do plastic tees damage golf clubs?

We often get asked the question if plastic tees damage golf clubs, and we can safely say that they don’t – at least not any more than regular wooden tees. However, the colorful paint often featured on plastic tees can leave minor marks on your irons and woods, but should come off easily. 

Are all tees legal? 

Now that you’ve heard about some different tee design choices that might improve your game, you might be wondering if they’re legal. Unfortunately, they are not. According to the rules of USGA, a tee can be up to four inches in height, but its design cannot in any way impact the travel or direction of the golf ball, which both the zero friction and anti slice tees do. But, in casual play, nothing stops you from trying out these tees for fun.

Does the brand of the tee make a difference? 

Many different brands sell golf tees, and they all come in various price ranges. Generally speaking, there is nothing that separates the brand-name wooden tee from a generic one, with the exception of quality potentially being worse. 

Some brands offer unique design styles, both game-improvement and aesthetically, which might be worth the extra cost. But broadly speaking, there won’t be a noticeable difference between one tee or another, given that they’re the same material.

Conclusion: Research by Tellmemoregolf.com

black tell me more golf compressed logo with mottled background information for golfers

There are many types of tees to choose from, with different materials and designs. Wooden tees aren’t the sturdiest, but come in every desired height, and are also good for the environment. Plastic tees are less prone to break and come in different colors that are easily spotted on the golf course. However, they aren’t without their drawbacks. With taking decades to degrade, you should never leave a plastic tee out on the course. 

There is also a recent up and comer, with the fashionable material of bamboo. Bamboo tees are stronger than wood, while also being cheap and even better for the environment. The designs of zero friction tees and anti slice tees can improve your game, and are worth checking out for the fun of it, but unfortunately aren’t legal.
So which are the best golf tees? At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. Pick the tee that makes you the most comfortable over the ball. We at TellMeMoreGolf.com hope you found this article to be an informative and enjoyable read!


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