Golf is the most technology-driven of consumer sports, and even the lowly tee can't escape it.
There are eco tees, friction-less tees, aero-tees, tees made from rubber, plastic, wood and unpronounceable high-tech materials. There is a tee that swears it can cure "hooks, slices and duff shots."
The newest, and possibly most promising, tee technology comes from Evolve Golf's epoch tee, made from a biocomposite construction.
Evolve officials say they don't make outlandish claims, like curing bad swings or adding 50 yards to your drives while keeping it in the middle of the fairway.
"It's realistic distance and accuracy," Evolve CEO B.J. Maloy told TravelGolf. "We have a lot of scientific "...benchmark data which shows that, based on an average golfer's swing of 90 mph, the tee is about two yards longer and about three yards more accurate than a wooden tee. As you get up into the higher swing speeds, those numbers increase."
The company said the tee has been well-received by the pros, who fight for every bit of distance and accuracy they can get, but why would an average golfer be concerned with a couple yards?
"For the average golfer, it does make a difference," Maloy said. "It's a couple of yards longer, and more accurate. I think two yards of distance and three yards of accuracy is going to matter for the 90 mph swing. For the guy who's swinging 100 mph, he's going to see upwards of five yards of distance and seven yards of accuracy . So yes, five yards, you're looking at half a club difference. We've gone to average golfers and said, ‘Can you tell the difference?,' and the result is, yes they can."
What about price? Maloy likes to compare the price of his new tee to that of the longer tees.
"If you look at the market for a 2 3/4- inch wooden tee, they've increased in price by 50 cents," he said. "You can now purchase 15-20 for about $1 a bag versus our tee: you get 16 in a pack and the retail is $4.99. The important component there is our tee is 60 percent stronger than a wooden tee. It's going to last a golfer a lot longer than wooden tee will. So they're getting the benefit of the distance and accuracy, and they're also getting the benefit of durability."
Maloy said more outlets are beginning to sell the new tees.
"I think you'll see we're following a model very close to soft spikes," he said. "I think, over time, golfers will begin to look at the value proposition of them buying a $300 driver for 10 yards of distance, or buying a golf tee for 25 cents at the end of the day that's going to last longer than a wooden tee."
Maloy said his company's research showed that wooden tees impart sidespin and "backspin deflection," which can alter flight by several yards.
Testing in Scottsdale by his company showed the epoch is 1.81 yards longer and 2.34 yards more accurate than traditional wood tees. And they biodegrade in 4-6 months, Maloy said.
"The epoch's convex radius posts, which are wider than any golf ball dimple, allow the tee to only interact with the exoskeleton of the golf ball," the company explains in a press release. "This reduces surface contact by 93 percent, compared to wood tees."
Maloy and co-designer Steve DeLisle, who moved to the Calabash, N.C., area to start the company, claim that pros on the PGA, Nationwide and Champions Tours have adopted the tee, including about 70 PGA pros. The company includes endorsements from pros like Brett Quigley and Arron Oberholser.
September 14, 2004
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!