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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.
Whilst the above maybe true in many countries in the United Kingdom many courses use 4 tee colours:-
As playing from the wrong tee often incurs a penalty in golf, it is best to check before starting a round what the course conventions are at the club you are playing at. Relying on the rules at other clubs is no defence.