Proper Tee Height | Optimize Distance and Control

In this video, you'll see the importance of using different tee height positions with your driver. You'll also learn how axis tilt can help you start launching the ball higher for longer drives or hit low penetrating bullets that go right through the wind.

  • Tee it high let it fly - Ball teed above the face. More secondary axis tilt needed. 
  • Stock shot - Ball half on the face, half above it. Normal RST swing. 
  • Low bullet - Ball teed in the middle of the face. Lead shoulder stays low. 

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Kyaw Thet
Will there be any divot when hitting a stock controlled shot with the driver?
June 13, 2020
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Michael (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Kyaw You dont want to take divot with the driver on any of the shots.
June 14, 2020
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Kyaw Thet
Hi Michael, thanks for your reply, I was confused because with my iron stock shot when I practice at home I always brush the ground (left hand only). That's why if I swing the same way with my driver, I'm afraid I would still brush the ground.
June 14, 2020
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Michael (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Kyaw Because the driver is longer than your irons and you are hitting the ball from a tee it will naturally shallow out the swing.
June 15, 2020
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Fred
In the normal stock drive was the ball at left ear the same position as your ball position with irons?
December 28, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Fred. Yes, stock position will match the same as the irons with ball.
December 28, 2019
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Fred
Since we hit the ball with a descending blow with irons wouldn't we want to place it slightly forward for an ascending hit with driver?. Hope you had a good Christmas.
December 28, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Fred. If you wanted to maximize launch angle and flight you would need to adjust the stance, tilt, and ball. However, for a stock controlled shot you wouldn't want a large positive angle of attack. This is more for a controlled hit, than distance.
December 28, 2019
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gordon
What would be your recommendations for tee height and ball position when using, for example, a 7-iron on a Par 3? Should there be any swing modifications (vs a normal 7-iron swing) in view of the use of a tee? Regards, Gordon
September 10, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. You don't need to make any modifications to the swing. I would get the ball as close to the ground on the tee with just enough clearance to keep it off the blades.
September 10, 2019
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gordon
Hi Craig, could you please clarify for me what is meant by „off the blades“! Thanks, Gordon.
September 10, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. Off the blades of grass. Clean lie.
September 10, 2019
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gordon
Thanks Craig. I must admit that in some of the courses I play the tee boxes do not receive too much attention, with the grass being at semi-rough length. That means using quite a long tee, even for a 7-iron! Many thanks,Gordon.
September 10, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. I understand. The main goal for the iron shot is not to tee it where the grass can impede the movement of the face back and through.
September 10, 2019
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Dan
When using a 3 wood to tee off with, would you use the same system as the driver?
February 9, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dan. Depending on how you would want to launch it. You can make some of the same adjustments for the driver other than a really high tee.
February 9, 2019
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Chris
If we struggle with driver distance hitting down on it; which of these 3 tee heights and shots would be recommended?
January 25, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Chris. For excessive hitting down on the ball you may need to look at the swing. For minor adjustments. Tee it high and let it fly. Ball teed above the face. More secondary axis tilt needed.
January 25, 2019
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Steve
I saw in a recent video lesson that Chuck had the woman maintain axis tilt in the backswing up to the top to ensure she was not reverse pivoting and keeping her head back. I don't recall him explaining this in any other video...So can you clarify that axis tilt should in fact be maintained throughout the backswing. I tried it and it does seem allow the weight to shift back on the right side and easier to get to the top. I just want to ensure this is right and it's not causing other issues.
January 18, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Steve. Axis tilt should remain until the top of the backswing. You will lose a few degrees as your reach the top. It's why we start with so much. The best videos to understand this would be How to Fix Golf Reverse Pivot and Necktie Drill Video.
January 18, 2019
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nicholas
I often have heard that one should have more axis tilt at address when trying to hit an ascending shot, is this true for the tee it high, or is the term secondary axis tilt called this because the tilt comes on the downswing? Essentially I am asking if our axis tilt at address should change for the different tee heights?
August 23, 2017
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Nicholas, I would fire the people that told you that information for sure. You may see a slight increase to your axis tilt at address based on a wider stance, but setting up with more axis tilt at address is not a cause for creating more tilt. Doing something like this can cause you to hang way too far back on the trail side down in the hitting area. The proper amount of secondary axis tilt to hit a driver with more of an ascending blow, will be achieved with widening the stance and shifting the weight to the lead side properly.
August 23, 2017
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William J
I need some clarification on the different axis tilt positions for the different shots. At the 2:58 mark in the video you mention that at "address" you want the spine angle to be at the inside of the lead knee and then you reference the "stock (3:02) shot" and say/demonstrate that you want the spine angle just outside the lead knee. Are you referring to the "stock shot" for the driver? Also, I'm curious as to why don't you reference setting up with a slightly closed stance which Chuck advocates in his video on the driver setup?
October 18, 2016
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Micah (Certified RST Instructor)
Hi Jeff. Yes stock shot for driver. You want the spine angle on the outside of the knee so that you can catch the ball on an ascending blow. Yes you do want to have your stance slightly closed.
October 18, 2016
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Yuefeng
Great video. Just want to clarify the proper distance between clubhead and the ball at set up, especially for tee it high and stock shot. I guess the answer to this question is also related to whether we should sole the driver or hover it such that the sweet spot is level with the ball. I'm very confused with this concept as I do tend to hit the ball with the top edge of the driver even for stock shot if I sole the clubhead on the ground. Thanks a lot.
September 22, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Yuefeng. More players sole the club over the hover. Hitting the top edge of the driver has to do more with swing components than grounding.
September 23, 2016
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Yuefeng
Thanks Craig. Could you clarify what swing components contribute to this? I'm a strong believer of RST fundamentals but I'm afraid this is the part I'm most confused - assuming the bottom of the swing arc happens in front of the clubhead at address, and the ball is teed up about the top edge height, wouldn't it be natural for the top edge to make contact of the ball first?
September 23, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Yuefeng. Usually players that have the tendency to "sky" the ball are swinging too steeply into impact. More of a downward blow or strike. The driver however you want more of a ascending blow (catching on the upswing) for better launch characteristics. That's why we promote moving the ball up and adding more tilt.
September 24, 2016
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Yuefeng
Thank you Craig. So how far shall the club head be soled from the ball in order to hit the ball on the upswing?
September 25, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Yuefeng. Just a matter of ball position and axis tilt. Not distance of head from the ball.
September 26, 2016
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Christian
Hi Chris, a question when it comes to tee it high and let it fly. I'm currently making great progress with this site dealing with my tendency to spin and push out my hips...pushing with my right foot, losing spine angle, blocking, hooking and so on— instead of making a correct weight transfer and keeping right shoulder back. So all good thanks to "throw the ball" drill and the like. But you mentioned widening stance some when I tee it high and move ball up. At this point, would you recommend I keep standard width (and practice some stock drives as well) when I tee it high for my drives? It just seems hard for me not to make that go for broke big lateral spin out move with my driver. I realize i'm probably answering my own question here, but if you think I still need to widen a bit, what adjustments can i make so i get to left side given my difficulties?
April 11, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Christian. Experiment a little. I have the same problem as you. If I start widening my stance too much I will spin and have lack of transfer. Try to find the happy medium. I go about a half inch outside standard for the driver because it is about as wide for me without making the unnecessary swing adjustments into impact.
April 12, 2016
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gordon
In this video Chris talks about secondary axis tilt. Could you please clarify for me what this is and, in particular, how it differs from "axis tilt" (which is presumably primary axis tilt, though not explicitly called such). My better understanding of the latter, thanks to RTS, has certainly helped improve my ball striking. Thanks, Gordon.
March 27, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Gordon. Thanks for the compliments of RST and Website. Simple concept. Axis tilt refers to the tilt created at setup to rotate around the spine properly and because the trail had is lower on the club (Hip Bump/Axis Tilt Video, Importance of Axis Tilt). Secondary tilt is the change in the original axis tilt in the downswing when coming into impact. It will slightly increase. You want to watch for too much increase in secondary tilt (further away from the target) or having a little secondary tilt (straight up and down) coming into the ball.
March 28, 2016
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Loran
Is this the reason i am hitting fat shots? Coming down too steep an angle? Maybe my tee height is not high enough and my axis tilt does not provide the proper ascending blow?
March 25, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. Fat with the driver? Coming down too steeply with the Driver can cause fat shots. I would think it is rare though for the tee height (unless level with the ground) would cause you to start swinging steeply.
March 28, 2016
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RODERICK
Really helpful, especially right now when ( here in Northern California) we are seeing changing weather conditions ( calm one day, windy another, or both on a single round). As usual, Chris, a great video. Thanks!
March 25, 2016
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Mark
Hey Chris, Interesting video. Watching n real time is pretty difficult to see the differences. Could you do a bit of a video analysis on these three shots and compare the set-up, top of swing and impact position of the three different shots so we can see the difference. Thanks, Mark
March 24, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Mark, Yeah, we have some new equipment coming in a week or so that will allow me to enhance the videos and show you data along with breakdowns of the swing.
March 25, 2016
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Tee it high and let it fly RST members!!!!
March 24, 2016

Is there a proper tee height to use for your driver? Tee height is one of the most debated topics related to driving the golf ball.  We've all heard the saying, "tee it high and let it fly" but that is not always the best option. 

The idea is to use 3 unique tee heights - Our stock shot tee height for normal driving holes and conditions - A low tee height for producing penetrating shot into the wind and with roll and a final high tee height which is perfect for downwind drives or when carry is needed.

Once you understand the different tee heights that make sense, you need to realizee that each tee height requires slight adjustments in setup.  For example, if we tee the ball high at address, you will need to create extra axis tilt which will create lower spin and more of an acending blow.  To accomplish this golf setup position, widen your stance and promote secondary axis tilt at address.

In a stock golf shot with the driver, we want our normal, stacked golf position that we create by using the RotarySwing fundamentals that you learn while using our videos. Play the golf ball off the left ear.

When you tee the ball low, you need to take out some of the secondary axis tilt in your swing so concentrate on keeping your left or lead shoulder lower or more level.  This will create a decending strike and slight your golf ball with a lower trajectory. 

For more information on the correct height to tee a golf ball, remember to watch our related videos that talk about proper driver setup and axis tilt.  Both are available on our website  www.RotarySwing.com

Today, we're going to be talking about how tee height and the position of your spine can help you optimize your distance, and also get you more control in the golf course.

                Okay guys, so before we start getting into the golf swing mechanics and how it's going to be important to control the position of your spine, and the hitting area; I want to go ahead and discuss the three different tee heights that I like to use when on the golf course here. In this first tee height, you're going to notice that the ball is pretty much completely above the face. Now, this is the ball that I call 'tee it high and let it fly.' These are going to be ones that we're really trying to get the ball to be in a very high condition with very low spin. I like to play this shot on days that there's not tons of winds, or if it's a hole that's playing dead down wind. We want to really tee it high, let it fly, take advantage of the wind. Also, another good time to use it is if you have some cross wind on the golf course. You can use the wind to your advantage to help get the ball back into play and further down the fairway. This is another one that you can use this particular tee height on.

                This next ball position, this is what I call the 'stock shot position.' This is where I have about half the ball on the face, and half the ball above the face. Now, what does a stock shot mean? Well, a stock shot is typically if you were to hit a pitching wedge a total of 130 yards. That was your maximum value to it, where you didn't have to swing too hard. You didn't have to take anything off it, and it went 130 yards. That would be what we consider a stock shot. Well, same thing with the driver. We want to be able to have a go-to shot in your round. Not going to be making any adjustments to my set-up with this particular tee height. All I'm really doing is trying to make a good golf swing, get the golf ball in play. This is what I call my 'stock shot ball.'

                This low ball right here, this is what I call my 'low bow bullet ball.' Now, this is a ball that's great for really windy conditions. If you're playing a hole that's dead back into the wind, this is going to help you flight your golf ball down quite a bit. This is also good for those players that are starting to try to work the golf ball left to right off the tee. If you have a hole that's set up to where you're going to need to start curving the ball, or making it hitting a cut shot, this is a great way to start to do that. You'll notice that this ball position on the club face is pretty low. It's pretty much what I have, just right in the center of the face is really where I tee it up.

                Again, we have the 'tee it high, let it fly.' We've got the 'stock shot.' Then, we got the 'low bow bullet' here. Let's go ahead and talk about the position of the spine now, how it's going to affect each one of these shots; so you can start optimizing the distance and start optimizing that control.

                Okay, so now that we've looked at the various tee heights here, let's talk about the various spine positions that you're going to be working with, with each one of these balls so that you have a good understanding of what you're going to be looking for to help get these things launched properly. With the ball that we had first here, the one we were going to call 'tee it high, let it fly,' we're going to be trying to promote a lot of secondary axis tilt. Now, what is it axis tilt? A lot of you may be asking right now. Well, axis tilt is just simply the position or the angle to my spine here from a face-on perspective.

                At address, we like to have our spine just inside of our lead knee. For a 'stock shot,' you'll notice that our spine just shifts just outside of our lead knee. Now, what does axis tilt do to your golf swing? Well, what it does is it helps shallow your golf swing out quite a bit. What I mean there is if you turn down the line here, and I were to lean my spine away from the target, you're going to notice that the shaft plane lays flat here. Now, why is that important to your golf swing? Well, it's going to help get your golf ball, specially with a 'tee it high, let it fly' condition, it's going to help you get the golf club on a more an ascending blow, rather than a descending blow.

                A lot of these drivers these days are set up for very high launch conditions with very little ball spin. What we're going to be trying to do with the 'tee it high, let it fly ball' is we're going to be trying to promote more secondary axis tilt by widening our base a little bit and then moving our ball position a little bit more forward. When we start to shift our pelvis forward, over to our lead side with a wider base, and we keep our head quiet, you're going to notice that your spine wants to lean back a little bit more here. Again, that's going to help create more of an ascending blow, rather than a descending blow.

                Now, with what we're going to do in our 'stock shot' format is we're not going to go to a wider base here. What we're going to do is we're going to just try to keep all of those things that we've worked through with RST is simple as possible here, we're going to go to our normal stance with. We're going to have the ball position off of our left ear. We're not going to try to promote anymore secondary axis tilt. We would just promote it just outside the lead knee here.

                Now, will a 'low ball' here, what we're going to be trying to do is we're going to try to keep our lead shoulder very low in transition. We're almost going to be trying to take out some of that secondary axis tilt. Now, so just as the opposite here, if I were lean my spine away, if my spine were to feel like it was moving towards the target here, that would help give the golf club coming down a little bit steeper, and make this shot a little bit easier for me to hit because we're going to be trying to hit down on it quite a bit here.

                Again, the 'tee it high, let it fly' ball, we're going to widen our base up a little bit here. Okay, we're going to promote a little bit more secondary axis tilt by keeping our head back. Number two ball, the stock ball, we're just going to keep all of the RST fundamentals the same here. Proper stance with golf ball position off the left ear. We're going to just try to keep our spine just outside of our lead knee down in the hitting area. Then, this low bow bullet ball, we're going to try to keep our left shoulder much lower down to the hitting area to keep our spine a little bit more vertical. That way, we can hit down on the golf ball and be able to flight it lower, be able to control that spin, and also be able to keep the ball down through the wind so it's boring through the wind.

                Let's go ahead and take a look at what these look like and hopefully you guys can get some good usage out of this.

                Okay, so let's go ahead and take a look at the high launch ball here. You're going to notice that that ball is almost completely above the face. I've gone ahead and widened my base here quite a bit. Ball position's going to be quite a bit more forward with where we would normally play it. Okay, what I'm going to try to do is make sure when I come down on the hitting area, I'm going to keep my head really quiet when I'm shifting my weight so I'm going to promote a little bit more secondary tilt. I'm going to try really get that thing launching. There we go. It did pretty good there.

                All right, so let's go ahead and take a look at the stock ball now. This is where we're going to go back to our normal stance with. We're going to go back to our normal ball position here, right off my left ear. Okay, all we're going to try to do is try to promote just enough tilt just to have it outside the knee. All of our other RST fundamentals stay the same. There you go.

                Now, the 'low bow bullet ball.' This is the one where we're going to try to make sure our left shoulder is going to stay much lower in transition, take out some of that tilt so we can really flight that golf ball down. Get in underneath the wind. There you go.

                All right, guys, so now that you've seen my different tee heights here, and we've talked a little bit about how axis tilt's going to ultimately affect the way the golf club enters the hitting area and can help you start creating more of an ascending blow rather than a descending blow. If you've been struggling with either creating too much secondary axis tilt and haven't really had a solution on how to fix that, we've got an absolutely fantastic video that a lot of golfers get success with, and that's called the level shoulders drill. That's in the downswing section; so level shoulders video. It's going to teach you what you want your shoulders to be able to look like down into the hitting area; so that you don't start to get the club shallowing out too much. Then, you can start to compress the golf ball properly.

                Also, check out the video called 'The Driver Set Up Adjustments' video. That's another great video that talks to you about the sciences of why we make these little minor set up adjustments to help get that golf ball launching in the air. Then also, 'The Importance of Launch. 'The Importance of Launch' is another video that's going to talk to you about the sciences and why we want to get that golf ball really launching in the air in certain circumstances on the golf course. Now, let's get out there, guys. Let's play some great golf. 

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