The Golf Tee

Wooden Golf Tees, Photo: Liesl Clark

I knew nothing about golf tees until I started picking them up off the beaches of our island in Puget Sound and the shores of Massachusetts. I had no idea many are made of plastic. In fact, most beach specimens, washed ashore on the highest tides, are plastic.

According to My Golf it was 2 Scottsmen, William Bloxsom and Arthur Douglas, who in 1889 first invented the golf tee, (but this tee doesn’t look one bit like today’s version) out of necessity to stop the mess of piling up sand or dirt to raise the ball above ground level. This tee was made out of rubber and lay on the ground which meant it would fly with most drives and was a nuisance to retrieve. It took another 30 years before the modern tee was patented — the thin peg in the ground with a little cup at the top. Surely many had been whittled out of wood before then, out of necessity. The wooden peg tees became standardized and have served the golf community well, until the plastification of all disposable goods came about, and now we have plastic tees.

It got me thinking. Why plastic and not wood? Is it cost? A bag of 100 plastic tees costs about $ 7.99 on Amazon and wood tees come in at about the same price.

Is it performance? I searched online and peaked in on several golf chat groups discussing the topic and there’s no resounding argument in favor of plastic tees outperforming wooden tees. Both break, both have fans who love ’em and those who hate ’em, and both are often left behind when they do break. But the plastic tees will never biodegrade and they reportedly can cause damage to grass-cutting equipment, too. One unanimous complaint is that the plastic tees can leave a nasty mark on the bottom of your golf club.

But wood isn’t perfect either. According to one website, 70,000 white birch trees are cut down in the US to produce wood golf tees each year.


Here are 3 tips to help you reduce your use of both plastic and wood golf tees:

1) There are bamboo alternatives to both hardwood and plastic tees.

2) These tees will dissolve in just 6 hours (in water)!

3) A brush tee is a reusable option. No more disposable tees! If taken care of, by storing it in its case, it could last forever — it’s made of plastic after all.


So, you have some golf tees hanging around and maybe even found some at the beach or driving range. Here are 5 reuse ideas for you:

1) Save a few wooden golf tees for around the house. They make excellent hardwood fillers for stripped wood unable to hold a screw. Put a dab of wood glue in the hole, hammer a golf tee in lightly, let it set in the glue, then saw it off so it’s flush with the surface of the wood. Now you have a new hard wood surface for your screw!

Golf Tee for Wood Repairs, Photo by Liesl Clark

2) Martha Stewart has a great golf tee reuse for a child’s carnival party where you set up golf tees on a wooden board and then place ping pong balls on them. The children each get a turn with a squirt gun, trying to squirt the ping pong balls off the tees. Fun.

3) Vanilla Joy blogs about a great golf tee activity for toddlers where they work out their hammering instinct in your lawn, and aerate it for you!

Toddlers Hammering Golf Tees Photo Courtesy of

4) Pink and Green Mama takes the motor skills into a finer realm and offers up a tutorial on a great activity for balancing marbles on golf tees. All else you’ll need is a styrofoam block.

Photo Courtesy of PinkAndGreenMama.Blogspot.Com All Rights Reserved

5) Cody and Chelsea Groves take this theme one step further and provide a tutorial on how to make the tee and marble activity into an adorable tic tac toe game.

I know, you’re wondering, why blog about golf tees when there are so many other items in our lives, found more readily in our environment, that are worthy of reusing? Well, stranger things have happened than the occasional bump-in with a golf tee on the beach. In fact, not too long ago my children and I found 1,768 golf driving range balls scattered all along the side of our road, headed downhill toward Puget Sound. As cars whizzed by, we picked them up and collected 2 large boxes-worth. A little research showed they have a value of about $100. We’ll never know why they were there. One person’s trash? Another’s treasure:

Looking for more tee reuses? We’ve got ’em! Visit our Trash Backwards app where you can find reuses for just about everything in your home.

Click Through for Golf Tee Reuses at Trash Backwards

Click Through for Golf Tee Reuses at Trash Backwards

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Categories: DIY, Plastic-Free Living, Reduce Your Use, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff, Upcycle


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3 Comments on “The Golf Tee”

  1. May 30, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    i have a invention of a new tee that lasts for at least 50 rounds and still going it might last forever. it will save 70,000 trees in us alone not counting the world.a enviromental company should get in touch with me if they really are serious about saving the world!!! 910-582-4722 leave message. i would love to help save the world with a simple invention!!! thank you!!!


  1. Trash Hacker: Golf Tee to the Rescue « Trash Backwards - April 4, 2012

    […] further golf tee reuse ideas, visit our golf tee feature here. Share:PinterestTwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  2. Art App Powered by Trash Backwards « Trash Backwards - December 5, 2012

    […] come up empty-handed on a given journey into the wilds. We stumble upon plastics by the shore, our roadside ditches, on sidewalks, on local trails, in National Parks, in our chicken yard, in the organic compost […]

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