Golf tee patented

George F. Grant
Tue, 1899-12-12

George Grant patented the first golf tee on this date in 1899.

George F. Grant, who was not only one of the first African American golfers in post-Civil War America, he was one of the first African American dentists too. His was the blueprint for today's wooden and plastic tees. He owned the first patent and also the last recognition for his invention. By all accounts, Dr. Grant was not the most skilled golfer, but he enjoyed the recreational aspects of the game.

Grant found the method of teeing up a ball and pinching damp sand into a launching pad both inconsistent and tiresome. How could a player determine the preferred height of sand each time? Besides, the constant bending over at every tee box to form the little mounds was both physically taxing and, on rainy and inclement days, messy. So, tired of the inconvenience, Dr. Grant used his skills to improve the game.

In 1899, the U.S. Patent Office granted patent 638,920 to George F. Grant of Boston. But Dr. Grant was more innovator than businessman and he never marketed his invention. He gave some of the tees to friends and playing partners, but the majority of them were squirreled away at his residence. When he died in 1910, his invention apparently died with him.

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