The development of the golf tee is the last significant change in the rules of golf. The simple little wooden tee may be golf's most innovative invention. It has affected golf courses, their length and design. It has affected the creation of the new technology used in the development of drivers, irons, shafts and golf balls. It has made playing golf easier and more enjoyable. It has provided the awe of long drives for professionals and amateurs alike
The ruling authorities, the USGA and the R&A, did not define the golf tee in its rules until 2004.
There are numerous mentions and chapters in golf books on the subject of golf tees, but, at best there is very little information about the history of the golf tee. It appears this category of golfing history has been left unattended and underappreciated, probably viewed as lacking sufficient information, interest or importance. It may be they were viewed as being "illegal". The actions of the USGA over the past fifteen years concerning the development of the oversize high-technology drivers have increased the need and understanding of the use of these artificial golf tees.
During the past century, the simple golf tee has not gone unnoticed by golf tee inventors who have created over 400 golf tee designs. Over 300 individuals have thought enough of their inventions that they have spent the money to patent their golf tee. Based on all the prior rules of golf, by definition, they are artificial to the rules of golf. As such, the majority of the designs should have been illegal if used in competition prior to 2004.
GOLF TEES TEEOGRAPHY covers the history and evolution of the golf tee and design of golf tees since the first written Rules of Golf in 1744.
Featured Chapters include: Robert Trent Jones, Jr, - Excerpts from "Tee it down", presented to the American Society of Golf Course Architects; Richard Crose of South Africa, inventor of the Brush-T and its international marketing; and Joan Lowell Smith, granddaughter of William Lowell, Sr and Lowell family historian.