Article by Dimos Siagoulis updated July 29, 2015


Recently I’ve been working on designing a few different golf tee designs with SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer which will be 3D printed and tested by some of Javelin’s avid golfers. The goal is to design the optimum golf tee that we will 3D print for our players to use. As you can imagine, this is going to be a pretty difficult but fun challenge.

Here are a couple of prototype models that I’ve designed to be printed and tested later this week, there will be a followup blog in the next week or so to display our results.

Design #1: The Vertebrae Tee

Vertebrae tee picture

Vertebrae Tee

I like to call this the vertebrae tee, thanks to Jeremy Jobin for the idea. In theory, it has a soft material on the outside which is supposed to protect your club from being dented by hard plastic as the club and tee meet.

Since the outside shell is soft, it won’t be able to maintain the stiff shape needed to bear the [light] weight of the golf ball. That’s where the spine along the middle comes in, made by a stronger more durable material the spine should be able to maintain its composure to keep the tee vertical, while also being able to (in theory) withstand the force of the club when it comes in contact with the tee.

The soft material is supposed to absorb some of the damage before the force of the swing hits the spine, and the spine is designed to bend to withstand the impact.

Finally, the three pronged head was designed to elevate the golf ball with very low surface area in contact with it. This should reduce friction when the golf ball is leaving the tee.

After we determine which material is the best for this tee, I’ll begin experimenting with the sizes of vertebrae making up the spine. Will it work better with many short vertebrae, or with only a few larger ones? Will the two different materials separate from each other when hit? We will find out!



Design #2: The spline tee

Spline tee side

Side View

This is the second model that I’ve come up with using SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer. It was designed to essentially cut forward as it is hit, which will increase the time of the impact while lowering the force on the tee.

Depending how this works out, I’ll be redefining the tee in the next few weeks to see just how strong it can be. I’ve changed the head of the tee here as well to see how different designs will compare to each other.

Spline tee top

Spline tee top view


What will happen?

Since 3D printed objects are composed of layers, if we printed the tees vertically the layers would be parallel to the ground. There’s no way they will withstand the shear forces generated by the golf club so when we print the tees they will have to be printed horizontally, making the layers perpendicular to the ground.

Depending on which material we use the tee will either flex when hit by the club, or snap in half. I’m hoping that the tees will be fairly strong but I have my doubts. These are both very theoretical prototypes and we don’t know whether either of them will succeed or fail.

If you have any predictions for either of the golf tees, post them in the comments below and we’ll see what happens when we test them out!

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Dimos Siagoulis

Co-op student from McMaster University on my second work term at Javelin Technologies Inc.