New tee takes guesswork out of golf shots

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The Independent Online

About 100 years ago, a Boston dentist named George F Grant decided there had to be a better way to position golf balls than scooping sand and dirt with his hands and molding it into mounds.

About 100 years ago, a Boston dentist named George F Grant decided there had to be a better way to position golf balls than scooping sand and dirt with his hands and molding it into mounds.

There were, after all, sanitary concerns for a man in his line of work.

So Grant invented the golf tee, a simple little device that eliminated the dirty part of the game. And for the next century, while clubs and balls were improved with new technology, Grant's tees remained basically unchanged. Plant the little piece of wood or plastic in the ground, hit the ball, clean up the debris and move on to the next shot.

Golfers worry about birdies and bogeys, drives and divots. The tees are secondary stuff - unless they can significantly impact on a player's game.

Suppose there was an adjustable tee, one that could position balls higher or lower, depending on the needs of a particular shot. The Launch Tee, a new device, does exactly that.

Each Launch Tee is a disc constructed of heavy duty plastic with different notches at the ends. Once attached, each notch creates a different height for the cone, with the ball sitting on top to anchor it to the ground.

This is no gimmick. Preston Treiber, head of Clubhouse International, which manufactures the Launch Tee, spent two years getting it approved by the USGA. The proprietors of golf do not routinely embrace changes to their game without long consideration.

What the device does is produce a precise height for every shot. "We see each tee-off as a new beginning and the chance to place the ball strategically before you are at the mercy of the course," Treiber said.

It produces a small bit of predictability for players in a game that is often unpredictable.

PGA professional Mike Wade of the Colonial Springs Country Club in East Farmingdale, New York, used the Launch Tee throughout its developmental stage, particularly as a teaching tool.

"It makes the player swing better," Wade said. "It induces a sweeping motion instead of a chopping one. It works well as a psychological tool. It's a good visual, mechanical aid. I've had a lot of success with it. It's surprising how well it works. It helps trajectory a lot."

The tees, constructed in bright red and yellow plastic, create an easy target to aim at, certainly an easier one to see than the little wood

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