The humble golf tee has is not so humble anymore. Once, the only option for golfers was a wooden tee. Of course, wooden tees nearly always break when a proper ball strike. Golfers and inventors alike have searched for a better tee; that is, a tee with better performance and a longer life than the traditional wooden tee. Never before have golfers been confronted by the raft of options of today, including the latest and greatest ‘high performance’ synthetic tees.
The Cane-It brand has bucked the trend and holds itself out as “the environmentally responsible alternative to plastic and wooden golf tees” by manufacturing tees out of bamboo.
The company has its factory in a province of China and grows its own bamboo at a plantation 20 kilometers from the factory. In the manufacturing process the Cane-It tee is impregnated in an organic formula consisting of minerals, nutrients and trace elements. Even natural rainwater is used and, rather than having heating rooms, sundecks are used to dry the bamboo.
The makers of Cane-It point out that with the ordinary wooden tee, trees are actually used and they express strong environmental concerns about the cutting down of timber forests for the making of tees. They also point out that plastic tees do not last forever, as may be claimed, and they can be damaging to mower blades and golf clubs. In contrast, Cane-It tees, when mown over, are claimed to shred into grass like fibers without damaging mower blades. The fibers then are claimed to disappear into the landscape ridding the tee-off areas of unsightly pollution. The organic formula within the tees is supposed to assist soil rejuvenation by way of mulch without compromising turf management programs in place.
Some may ask, â€œokay, environmental issues aside, how does it perform?”. Although, not mentioned in Cane-It marketing material, THT heard a whisper that Cane-It tees are very break resistant because of the fibrous nature of bamboo. Well, THP decided to find out.
We tested 3 models of Cane-It tees; the 70mm or 2 3/4 inch shorter tee, the 83mm or 3 1/4 inch model for drivers, and the step model (70mm or 2 3/4 inches). The testing was conducted over two rounds of 18 holes of golf. Cane-It tees and traditional wooden tees were used.
Off the tee:
The shorter tee
The 70mm tee was used with mid-irons, long irons, a 3 hybrid and a 3 wood. Did it break? In most cases, yes; but in no case was it severed. When it broke, it only partly broke. The fibrous nature of the tee certainly showed resilience to breaking in two. Although, it may be a reflex action to discard a broken tee, a partly broken tee could be straightened for reuse one more time. Therefore, there is a potential cost saving due to the Cane-It tee’s resilience.
The driver tee
We used the large headed 460cc drivers with the 83mm tee. We are happy to report that on no occasion did the tee break. It merely tumbled out of the ground intact as the ball was struck.
The step tee
The 70mm step model did not fair as well as the other Cane-It varieties. It was the only of the 3 varieties to be broken completely in two, which happened on two occasions. On the majority of occasions, however, it broke without being severed, suggesting a possibility of re-use if so inclined. In the minority of instances, it did not break.
Normal wooden tees
The traditional wooden tees did not fair as well as the Cane-It tees. On most occasions they broke. When they broke, they did not just bend, they tended to shear in two.
There was no doubt that the Cane-It tees were superior in quality to standard wooden tees.
Cane-It tees came out on top in terms of performance. Not unexpectedly they are more expensive than the imported traditional wooden tees. Although, we were not able to test the veracity of Cane-It’s environmental claims, if they are correct, the tees would be less harmful to the environment, (or at least, less of a nuisance on the course) than other discarded tees.
Cane-It tees are currently used by the Australian Von Nida Tour (a tour akin to the Nationwide tour), the Australian LPGA tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Scottish Golf Union. For more information go to Cane-It.