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The teeing ground is the area where play begins in a hole of golf. The terms tee, tee box, and "teeing ground" are synonymous. The name derives from the tee used to elevate a golf ball before striking it to commence play.
The boundaries of the teeing ground are defined by a pair of tee markers. The front, left and right sides of the tee are denoted by the outer edges of the tee markers, assuming the perspective of a player standing in the teeing ground and facing the hole. The teeing ground is two club-lengths in depth.
Most courses have at least three sets of tee markers (some may have six or more), each a different color and denoting different yardages. Some tee marker colors commonly used in the United States are below, along with a general description of who plays from what color. The tee box that a person plays from is not set by rules; in casual play, anyone can use any tee box they wish to. Note that not all courses have all colors, and some may use a completely different color scheme for their tee markers.
The tees are also used to provide a course rating from which scores can be posted to calculate a handicap, with longer tees providing a higher rating. Thus, theoretically a higher score can be posted from the longer tees without affecting the handicap. Not all tees will specify a rating for both men and women. For example, red tees will typically specify a rating for women, but not for men, and vice versa for championship tees.
The surface of the teeing ground is generally grass, cut short shorter than a fairway but longer than a green to allow a true lie for balls struck with irons directly upon the turf rather than elevated and struck with a wood. USGA Rules do not specify that the teeing ground must be surfaced with grass nor the height at which it is cut.