Activities Sports & Athletics Definition of the Golf Tee Share PINTEREST Email Print Leif Milling / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Golf Basics History Gear Golf Courses Famous Golfers Golf Tournaments Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Brent Kelley Brent Kelley is an award-winning sports journalist and golf expert with over 30 years in print and online journalism. our editorial process Brent Kelley Updated January 23, 2019 The golf tee is the little piece of equipment that raises the golf ball off the ground when playing the first stroke of a hole from the teeing ground. A golf tee is typically a thin, wood or plastic peg, two or three inches in height, atop which a golf ball sits in a stable and stationary position. The tee is pushed down into the turf on the teeing ground, leaving a portion of the tee above ground, and the ball placed atop the golf tee prior to playing the stroke. A golf tee may only be used on the teeing ground under the rules, although the use of a tee is not required. How high the tee lifts the ball off the ground is up to the golfer (although the length of the tee plays a key role in that, obviously) and depends on various factors such as the club being used for the stroke. For more about the golf tee, see: A brief history of golf tees FAQ: How high should the ball be teed? FAQ: Is it a stroke to accidentally bump the ball off the tee? Official Definition in the Rules In the Rules of Golf, written by the R&A and USGA, "tee" is defined thusly: "An object used to raise a ball above the ground to play it from the teeing area. It must be no longer than 4 inches (101.6 mm) and conform with the Equipment Rules." The "Equipment Rules" mentioned in the definition refer to a part of the rules that is separate to the main rule book that golfers use. The Equipment Rules set down parameters for all the pieces of golf equipment made by manufacturers. In those Equipment Rules, the governing bodies further state: A tee is a device designed to raise the ball off the ground. A tee must not: *be longer than 4 inches (101.6 mm); *be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate line of play; *unduly influence the movement of the ball; or *otherwise assist the player in making a stroke or in his play.