The term “Tee” is believed to be a backformation from the Old Scottish “teaz” (substantive and verb) taken as a plural and “tie” (verb), but its origin is unknown. The oldest mention of the word in its current form dates back to 1744 in Articles & Laws in Playing at Golf, but the earlier form Teaz appears as early as 1673 in the Wedderburn’s Vocabulary giving Latin equivalents for golfing terms, where Statutem (support or prop) is suggested as an equivalent for Teaz.
Golf tees are generally used for the first stroke of each hole, and the area from which this first stroke is hit is informally also known as a tee (officially, teeing ground). Before this, to elevate the ball for a drive the golf ball was teed up on a little heap of sand that was provided in boxes; this explains the historical name “tee boxes” and why that before the advent of the wooden tee the word “tee” was used to refer to the cone or mound of sand that fulfilled the same function. The development of the tee was the last major change to the rules of golf.
A popular alternative to lift the ball off the turf was the disposable tee cup, a ring of cardboard that was sold in perforated booklets; the golfer had to tear off one of these along the perforation and shape it by rolling it between the fingers. Celluloid tees and other wooden or rubber gadgets also existed to help form a sand tee. But wait, there’s more